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The 5 Stages Of Parkinson's Disease

Like many other medical conditions, Parkinson's is a progressive disease. While no two people experience Parkinson's exactly the same way, the five stages are somewhat consistent for most patients. Understanding these stages may be helpful in comprehending what you or a loved one is going through.

It is also important to remember that some patients may skip entire stages while others spend long periods of time experiencing each one.

Stage One

Stage one of Parkinson's disease typically involves mild symptoms, which are usually slight shaking of the arms and legs. Typically, these symptoms occur only on one side of the body. The individual is still completely able to perform their daily routine without any help.

In this stage, family members may begin to notice some visible signs of the condition if they pay close attention. Family members can look for changes in posture and frequent loss of balance.

In these early stages, there is often no need for medication to treat Parkinson's. Doctors often recommend that these patients focus on healthy eating and exercise as a preventative measure.

Stage Two

During the second stage of Parkinson's, both sides of the body are affected by the condition. This may be demonstrated in the way the patient is able to walk or stay balanced.

As a family member, you may begin to see that your loved one is experiencing more difficulty complete routine tasks they once performed with ease. Still, they are able to live on their own and complete tasks completely.

As symptoms begin to worsen, doctors often prescribe medications that may put off the oncoming symptoms for years. Many patients have positive experiences with these medications, but some do not.

Stage Three

At the third stage of Parkinson's, it is probable that you will see your loved one experiencing extreme difficulty walking or standing. This means that many patients experience falls during this stage.

Watching your loved one, you may also begin to see a general slowing down of movement. It is quite possible for your loved one to remain living independently. A small amount of assistance may be needed at times.

Stage Four

During this stage of Parkinson's disease, severe symptoms are common. While patients are still often able to walk, they may do so with much more rigidity. Patients may be able to use a walker to get around.

It is during this stage that most patients find that they are not able to live on their own anymore. They are likely to struggle with routine tasks to a more extreme extent.

Stage Five

This is the last and most severe stage of the disease. It is during this time that individuals are usually not able to stand up at all. Individuals in this stage of the condition may require care on a 24/7 basis. Patients may use a wheelchair to get around.

Additional symptoms may develop during this time, including hallucinations and confusion. Many people with Parkinson's disease also begin to experience dementia. Unfortunately, there is no perfect treatment for this form of dementia.
This final stage of the disease may lead to additional complications, including infection and injury caused by falling. Choking is also common. Still, Parkinson's itself is not a fatal illness and does not impact life expectancy.

Palliative care and assisted living residences can provide help for patients who are living with Parkinson's. They can significantly impact the quality of life for patients fighting this illness.

At St. Francis Assisted Care, we offer a residence staffed by compassionate and knowledgeable staff members. Our services are personalized for each resident with the aim of providing comfortable living.

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