Jan 26, 2021
People with Parkinson’s disease (PD) may experience two seemingly contradictory movement problems. One, bradykinesia, is slowness of movement and is a cardinal symptom of the disease. For a diagnosis of PD, one must have bradykinesia plus either tremor or rigidity. Bradykinesia may appear as a reduction in automatic movements such as blinking or swinging of arms while walking, or it may manifest as trouble initiating intentional movements or just slowness of actions. The second movement problem is dyskinesia, in which people have involuntary, erratic, writhing movements. They can be slow and fluid or rapid and jerking. They are a complication of some Parkinson’s medications and not a symptom of the disease itself. Sometimes people have to decide on their medication dosage and timing whether they would rather be “on” with some dyskinesia or “off” and unable to move well.
In this podcast episode, neurologist Dr. Benjamin Walter delves into bradykinesia and dyskinesia. He is the head of the Section of Movement Disorders and medical director for deep brain stimulation at Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, a Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence. He describes how bradykinesia and dyskinesia can affect people’s lives, what people can do for themselves to alleviate the discomfort, how they can work with their neurologist to minimize the disorders, and what is in development to help.