Created By: Natalie Pineda
In the beginning stages of Parkinson's disease, symptoms are generally mild and only cause minor inconveniences in day-to-day living. Minor tremors or shaking occurs, but is unilateral, affecting only one side of the body. Along with minor tremors, an individual's posture and balance become poorer and abnormal facial expressions become apparent. Overall, this stage causes no major problems and can last for several years.
In the second stage of Parkinson's disease, bilateral symptoms develop in which both sides of the body are affected. Disability is minimal and daily tasks can still be performed, but are much harder to complete.
Walking and balance problems become more severe with further declines in posture.
This is the stage in which Parkinson's disease drugs are most often prescribed
along with dopamine agonists that activate dopamine receptors, and anticholinergics that block nerve impulses.
Also called moderate Parkinson's disease, symptoms in stage III are more severe and tend to be more debilitating to the individual's daily life. Physical movements become much slower and major impairments in walking straight and standing are present. Falling down
is more common increasing the risk of injuries, especially in the elderly. More powerful Parkinson's medications are generally prescribed at this stage of the disease, according to the Parkinson's Disease Foundation.
Stage IV is referred to as advanced Parkinson's disease
. Symptoms are severe and the individual is unable to complete day-to-day tasks
and walking is little, if at all.
For these reasons, stage IV Parkinson's patients are unable to live alone
and are generally confined to a wheelchair
. Surgery is an option at this stage to alleviate some of the symptoms, but only in young and healthy individuals.
Stage V is the most advanced stage of Parkinson's disease.
Symptoms are severe enough that individuals are unable to provide self-care
and require around-the-clock care
. Cachexia occurs in which unwanted loss of weight and muscle mass occurs.
The overall quality of life of individuals in this stage declines due to multiple reasons such as speaking and movement difficulties, incontinence issues, frequent hospitalizations and recurrent infections.
Therapies are the least effective in this stage of the disease. Surgical pallidotomy is an option and involves destroying a small set of brain cells to help alleviate some of the symptoms caused by Parkinson's medications, such as tremors, muscle rigidity and slowed movement.
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