Parkinsonism is the term given to the various forms of Parkinson disease that afflicts people, especially older men. It is an umbrella term that covers all types of Parkinson’s diseases that typically manifest themselves in terms of tremors, slow movement, slurry speech, and disability of basic motor functions of the human body.


Most people with Parkinsonism have what is called as Idiopathic Parkinson’s disease. This means that the root cause of why the person has this form of Parkinsonism is not known.

Main Types of Parkinsonism are:


1. Multiple system atrophy (MSA)

Also known as Shy-Drager Syndrome, this form of neurodegenerative disorder is characterized by tremors, slow movement, rigid posture and instability in posture. People with multiple system atrophy can also develop symptoms such as incontinence, difficulty with swallowing and dizziness. These symptoms are unusual in early Parkinson’s. Some of the symptoms could also include impotence, loss of sweating, dry mouth, urinary retention, and incontinence.


2. Normal pressure hydrocephalus

Also termed as Hakim’s syndrome and symptomatic hydrocephalus, this form of Parkinsonism is a brain malfunction caused by the expansion of the lateral cerebral ventricles and distortion of the corona radiate. The symptoms of normal pressure hydrocephalus mainly affect the lower half of the body.

This may include symptoms such as incontinence, gait disturbance, walking difficulties, urinary incontinence, and dementia or memory loss. The treatment usually involves removing some cerebrospinal fluid in the short term.

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3. Progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP)

Also called sometimes the Steele–Richardson–Olszewski syndrome, after the doctors who described it in 1963, this form of Parkinsonism involves the gradual deterioration of specific volumes of the brain. In this form of Parkinsonism, both males and females are equally affected and there are no racial, geographical or occupational differentiations. Approximately 6 out of every 100,000 people have PSP.

The main symptoms include speech issues, swallowing, bumping into objects while walking, loss of balance, poor eyelid function, contracting of the face muscles, backward tilt of the head with stiffening of the neck, sleep disruption and constipation.

4. Vascular or Arteriosclerotic Parkinsonism

This form of Parkinsonism appears where blood supply is restricted to the brain and usually affects older people and especially those with a diabetic problem. People with this form of Parkinsonism may have a gait problem where they may swing their arms less than others. Often stroke victims may experience this form of Parkinsonism.

drug induced parkinson's5. Drug-induced Parkinsonism

Drug-induced Parkinsonism may also occur among patients taking certain drugs. The incidence of drug-induced Parkinsonism increases with age. Drug-induced Parkinsonism tends to remain at its base level instead of progressing like normal Parkinson’s disease. About 7% of people with Parkinson develop symptoms as a result of side effects of medications.

6. Wilson’s disease

Another very rare form of Parkinsonism is Wilson’s disease that is caused due to a build-up of excessive copper in the body. This usually affects the liver; however, in some cases, it may also affect the brain leading to tremors, muscle stiffness, personality changes and trouble speaking.

7. X-linked Dystonia Parkinsonism

This is another rare form of Parkinsonism that is found exclusively among males from Philippines. It is a rare x-linked progressive movement disorder characterized by dystonic movements first typically occurring between 50 and 70 years of age. The Parkinsonian features of x-linked dystonia Parkinsonism include festinating gait, bradykinesia, blepharospasm, and postural instability.

8. Parkinson Plus

It is a neurodegenerative disease, which cause damage or death of brain cells, include corticobasal degeneration, Lewy body dementia, multiple system atrophy and progressive supranuclear palsy. These conditions are somehow related to Parkinson’s disease but have extra associated symptoms (the “plus”). They can be misdiagnosed as Parkinson’s disease because no blood or imaging test can, on its own, make a definitive diagnosis. A negative response to levodopa, development of additional symptoms and more rapid progression of disease may eventually differentiate Parkinson’s plus from Parkinson’s disease. Though Parkinson plus is an addition route to the Parkinson Disease but it may take years to define and differentiate if it is Parkinson’s or Parkinsons plus.

9. Atypical Parkinson

Atypical parkinsonism are conditions in which an individual experiences some signs and symptoms like tremor, slowness, rigidity (stiffness), and/or walking and balance problems like Parkinson’s disease. Though it seems like Parkinson’s, in reality they are minor symptoms like Parkinson’s and the individual does not have Parkinson’s disease. Atypical Parkinsonism can be due to certain medications (some anti-nausea and antipsychotic drugs), other brain disorders (repeated head injury or multiple small strokes) or neurodegenerative diseases.