What to Expect as Parkinson's Disease Progresses

What to Expect as Parkinson's Disease Progresses

Parkinson’s disease is a chronic and incurable, yet non-fatal, neurodegenerative disorder. While the exact cause is unknown, Parkinson’s develops as dopamine-producing nerve cells in the brain sustain damage. The result is symptoms such as tremors, stiff movements, and loss of balance. The symptoms tend to worsen as Parkinson’s progresses. While there are five stages of Parkinson’s, not everyone will experience the same symptoms in the same order or to the same degree of severity.

Stage One

The first stage involves mild symptoms that only affect one side of the body. Patients are still able to go about their daily routine without interference. They may experience slight tremors, and changes in posture, facial expressions, and walking.

Stage Two

Patients enter the second stage when the symptoms begin to worsen. The tremors and rigidity now affect both sides of the body. Others may notice that the patient has poor posture and difficulty walking. While most patients are still able to care for themselves, it becomes more troublesome to complete daily tasks.

Stage Three

During the third stage, patients often fall as the loss of balance and slowed movements become increasingly severe. Some patients are still able to retain full independence. However, they will likely have significant difficulties with certain tasks, including eating and dressing.

Stage Four

At the fourth stage, patients are unable to live alone. They may need a walker to move around, although they may still stand without assistance. Patients in the fourth stage typically need a caregiver for the activities of daily living.

Stage Five

The last and most debilitating phase of Parkinson’s is characterized by severe stiffness in the legs. This may render patients bedridden or wheelchair-bound. Patients typically require 24/7 nursing care. They may experience non-motor symptoms, such as hallucinations and delusions. While Parkinson’s disease by itself isn’t fatal, patients can develop complications that may be life-threatening.

Get the personalized care you or your loved one deserves at Life Care Center of Sierra Vista. They provide both inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation services and skilled nursing care for patients with a wide range of ailments, including Parkinson’s disease. You can reach their office in Sierra Vista, AZ by calling (520) 458-1050.