Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles How to Detect the Symptoms of Parkinson's Disease. Parkinson's disease is a chronic condition caused by a lack of dopamine in the brain. Diagnosis can sometimes take years; knowing symptoms can speed up the process. You will need An observant eye and a doctor. Step 1. Take note of tremors, the most common and often earliest symptom of Parkinson's disease. Tremors are a steady and rhythmic shaking of the hands or feet. Step 2. Test rigidity. Muscle stiffness is another common symptom. Stretch and move limbs to see if they feel heavy or weak. Check for a decrease in facial expressions, as this is also an indicator of rigidity. Step 3. Look for a noticeable slowness in movement, known as bradykinesia. Movement may also be incomplete or hard to start. Step 4. Test the difficulty of keeping balanced with a gentle push. Parkinson's disease can cause postural instability, which leads to loss of balance. Check for a bent-forward posture when standing. This adds to the loss of balance. Step 5. Look for a loss in automatic movements, such as blinking or swallowing. Parkinson's disease reduces many functions that are normally unconscious. Step 6. If you notice any of these symptoms, consult a doctor for a thorough examination. Did you know Did you know? Parkinson's disease does not only affect the elderly. Ten percent of Parkinson's patients are 40 years or younger.