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The Stages of Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson's disease strikes people in many different ways, leaving them to experience a broad range of symptoms. Though symptoms may be mild or severe or occur frequently or infrequently, Parkinson's disease appears to have five different stages. The time spent at each stage varies, and the skipping of stages, from stage one to stage three, for example, is not uncommon.

Parkinson's disease stages include:

Stage one: During this initial phase of the disease, a patient usually experiences mild symptoms. These symptoms may inconvenience the day-to-day tasks the patient would otherwise complete with ease. Typically these symptoms will include the presence of tremors or experiencing shaking in one of the limbs.

Also during stage one, friends and family can usually detect changes in the Parkinson's patient including poor posture, loss of balance, and abnormal facial expressions.

Stage two: In the second stage of Parkinson's disease, the patients symptoms are bilateral, affecting both limbs and both sides of the body. The patient usually encounters problems walking or maintaining balance, and the inability to complete normal physical tasks becomes more apparent.

Stage three: Stage three symptoms of Parkinson's disease can be rather severe and include the inability to walk straight or to stand. There is a noticeable slowing of physical movements in stage three.

Stage four: This stage of the disease is accompanied by severe symptoms of Parkinson's. Walking may still occur, but it is often limited and rigidity and bradykinesia are often visible. During this stage, most patients are unable to complete day-to-day tasks, and usually cannot live on their own. The tremors or shakiness that take over during the earlier stages however, may lessen or become non-existent for unknown reasons during this time.

Stage five: The last or final stage of Parkinson's disease usually takes over the patients physical movements. The patient is usually unable to take care of himself or herself and may not be able to stand or walk during this stage. A patient at stage five usually requires constant one-on-one nursing care.

 

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Jon Glass on August 13, 2012
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