Parkinson’s Lesser Known Symptoms

New Parkinsons patients experience excessive saliva urinary urgency and constipation

(RxWiki News) Tremors and shaking are well known symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. The lesser known non-motor symptoms like difficulty sleeping and digestive problems are not clearly defined in newly diagnosed patients.

A recent study showed that newly diagnosed Parkinson's patients had significantly more non-motor symptoms than those without the disease.

The most common non-motor symptoms for Parkinson's patients not seen in patients of a similar age without Parkinson's included drooling, urinary urgency, constipation, anxiety and a reduced sense of smell.

"Talk to a doctor about how to manage your Parkinson's symptoms."

Tien K. Khoo, PhD, of Newcastle University in the UK, and colleagues studied 159 people newly diagnosed with Parkinson's and 99 controls of similar age without the disease. The study participants were given questionnaires asking about 30 different non-motor symptoms.

The symptoms fell into seven different categories. These categories included gastrointestinal, urinary tract, sexual function, cardiovascular, cognitive, sleep and miscellaneous.

Additional assessments measured motor disability, disease severity, depression and cognitive ability.

Drooling was the most common non-motor symptom seen in Parkinson's and not seen in the controls. Fifty-six percent of Parkinson's patients reported drooling compared to 6 percent of the controls.

Constipation was experienced by 42 percent of the Parkinson's patients and only 7 percent of the controls. Forty-three percent of Parkinson's patients experienced anxiety compared to 10 percent of controls.

Both groups reported forgetfulness and poor memory.

Dr. Khoo believes that these results showed that Parkinson's had an effect on the entire body of a patient, even at early stages of the disease. A better understanding of these symptoms may help doctors and researchers develop better early stage drug treatments.

The study was published in Neurology.

The study was funded by Parkinson’s UK, Newcastle University Lockhart Parkinson’s Disease Research Fund and the UK National Institute for Health Research.

Some of the authors reported associations with educational and medical research entities. The authors collectively report over half a dozen associations with pharmaceutical companies.

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Review Date: 
January 24, 2013
Last Updated:
January 31, 2013