Parkinson’s stages

Parkinson's disease stages

Last Updated November 3rd, 2022

No. You cannot prevent Parkinson’s disease. There are medications, surgery, and lifestyle habits that can help control the symptoms.
If you are having freezing episodes, rock your foot to start moving, change direction, visualize an obstacle or object in front of you and try to step over, distract yourself, try another movement like raising an arm, etc.
Yes. If you are suffering from some kind of emotional distress related to the disease, you can seek help from a therapist or a counselor.

Introduction

Parkinson’s is a disease that affects the central nervous system of the body and it results from the loss of certain cells in the brain that produces dopamine. Even though the exact cause of the disease is not known, the current research on the subject suggests that the condition is triggered by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. It is not clear how a few selected individuals are affected by this condition. This neurodegenerative disorder develops slowly with time and the effects can vary from one patient to the other. At present, the disease has no specific cure and the methods of treatment include medications and surgery. The disease may start with some barely noticeable symptoms like a small tremor, which may develop into stiffness or slowing of movement with time. The parts of the brain that control the movements of the body cannot function normally and result in these types of complications.

At present, Parkinson’s is the most common neurodegenerative disorder after Alzheimer’s disease. It generally causes the degeneration of nerve cells in one area of the brain called the substantia nigra. In most cases, the symptoms of Parkinson’s develop when around 80% of the nerve cells in this area have been lost. While the disease can be transmitted through genes, it is rarely the main cause that causes the symptoms to develop. The various environmental factors that include the intake of toxins through food and air are assumed as another reason behind this disease. The present therapies for Parkinson’s reduce the symptoms of the patient, without slowing down the progress of the disease. Apart from the movement-related symptoms, the disease can also give rise to other symptoms like apathy, depression, constipation, sleep disorders and loss of sense of smell, and cognitive impairment.

Symptoms of Parkinson’s

Parkinson's symptomsThe signs and symptoms of the disease can vary from one person to another and it can appear on one side of the body or both. The following symptoms can be considered as a sign of Parkinson’s disease.

  • Tremors or shaking in the finger, thumb, hand, or chin can be an early sign of Parkinson’s. The hands can also experience tremors when they are at rest. Tremors are usually very subtle when they first occur and remain noticeable only to the patient. Shaking is often normal after a session of strenuous exercise or when there is a lot of stress in the body and this should not be confused with Parkinson’s.
  • With time Parkinson’s can slow down simple physical movements like walking and sitting. Increased difficulty in movements is termed bradykinesia and the symptoms include shorter steps and dragging of feet. There is also a decreased ability to perform some normal movements like including blinking, smiling, or swinging the arms while walking.
  • Another symptom of the disease is the handwriting getting smaller with time and the words coming closer than normal. This symptom of Parkinson’s is called micrographia.
  • In some cases, muscle stiffness may occur in any part of the body frequently, especially in the areas like shoulders and the hips. The stiff muscles can be painful and limit the normal range of motion.
  • In some cases, the patient can also lose the sense of smell for some items that were smelled distinctly in normal conditions. There can also be difficulty in distinguishing between two different odours.
  • Parkinson’s disease also leads to impaired posture and balance and a person may have to stoop forward to balance the body.
  • Sleep-related problems like insomnia, excessive fatigue during daytime, frequent sporadic movements during sleep, and sleep apnea can also be initial symptoms of the disease.
  • There can be speech changes that can impact the normal pattern of speaking. Speech patterns can become faster or there might be some slurring while speaking. There is also a tendency to talk more softly.
  • Facial masking or reduced ability to make facial expressions is another symptom that can occur in the early stages. It causes the patient to wear a depressed or serious look quite often, even when they are not so serious. This happens due to the loss of control over the subtle, complex muscle movements, even though the ability to experience emotions is not diminished.

Factors leading to Parkinson’s disease

Even though genetic factors are a part of the disease, people with a family history of the disease have only a 3 percent risk of developing it. Certain mutations in the genes can be inherited and can lead to the disease, even though such cases are rare. Research has found protein deposits called Lewy bodies in the dead and dying nerve cells, even though their role in nerve cell damage is not yet clear. Some mutations can also cause protein degradation in the brain cells and an accumulation of toxic proteins that can lead to cell damage. There is a lot of research that is being conducted at present to understand the genetic causes of Parkinson’s. Exposure to environmental toxins is also considered as a reason behind the disease and the following factors are considered significant.

Age

Parkinson’s disease usually occurs in the middle or in the late phase of life and the risks increase with age. Around 1 % of people above the age of 60 are affected by the disease and it hardly affects individuals below the age of 45.

Gender

The disease is more common in men and the exact reasons behind this are not yet clear to the researchers.

Head injury

This has been established as a major cause of the disease. Traumatic brain injury that causes amnesia or loss of consciousness can trigger Parkinson’s even years after the injury. Studies suggest that such injuries cause inflammation in the brain, which could lead to the onset of neural damage. In some cases, mental trauma or anxiety associated with other factors can also increase the risks.

Exposure to toxins

Exposure to industrial pollution, herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides can increase the risk of the disease. In 2009, the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs associated Parkinson’s disease with exposure to Agent Orange, which is a special herbicide used during the Vietnam War.

Occupation

Certain occupations are believed to increase the risks of Parkinson’s even though much research needs to be conducted in this regard. Welding is considered a profession that can lead to the development of Parkinson’s. The current research on the subject has delivered inconsistent results.

The mechanism of Parkinson’s disease

neurodegenerationThere is a lot that is not known about the exact process of specific molecular events that provoke neurodegeneration in the disease. The mean age or the onset of the disease is 55 and in 95% of the cases, the genetic linkage is not responsible for the disease. It has been estimated that around 15 to 25 percent of patients will have a family history of the disease. Electrical impulses pass between the neurons through the process of neurotransmission and it is dependent on a process called endocytosis. This is often caused by the overabundance of the chemical alpha-synuclein and when one signal is disrupted, there is a chain of disruption that takes place. Current research states that the inhibitory effect of alpha-synuclein is a major cause behind the early stages of Parkinson’s disease. Another reason behind Parkinson’s is the depletion of dopamine-producing cells. Dopamine plays a major role in transmitting nerve signals from one neuron to another in the brain. The loss of dopamine leads to abnormal muscle movements and cognitive impairment.

The stages of Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson's disease stagesEven though the disease progresses at a different pace for each patient, the Hoehn and Yahr Scale classifies it into five different categories. This scale is commonly used by physicians to classify patients in various stages. The length of progress from one stage to another varies between patients and the symptoms can also vary. The stages are discussed below.

Stage one

The first stage involves mild symptoms that are seen only on one side of the body. This stage does not involve any significant functional impairment and does not affect daily tasks and the overall lifestyle. The symptoms can include intermittent tremor of one hand, rigidity, or one hand or leg may feel heavier than another. In most cases, such symptoms are left unattended and even for a physician, this stage is difficult to diagnose. However, the symptoms can be handled effectively with the right medication.

Stage two

This stage is still considered an early stage in the development of the disease and here, the symptoms affect both sides of the body. This is termed bilateral involvement and this may develop years after the first stage, even though the rate of progression can vary. The stiffness in the body, tremors, and trembling are more prominent in this stage and this may lead to neck or back pain, stooped posture, and general slowness in all daily activities. At this stage, the patient can perform the daily tasks and continue to live alone if needed.

Stage three

This is the middle stage in the progression of the disease and is marked by a general loss of balance and more slowness of movements. The patient also fails to make the rapid, involuntary adjustments that can prevent falling, and hence falls are common in this stage.  Even though this impairs daily activities in a major way, the patient is still able to perform activities like dressing, hygiene, and eating. The diagnosis of the ailment can be made easily in this stage and medication along with therapy is used to neutralize the symptoms.

Stage four

In this stage, Parkinson’s has turned into a severely disabling disease and patients have a high level of difficulty in performing daily tasks. While some can still walk or stand unassisted, others may need the support of a walker. There is also a significant decrease in reaction time and more slowness in movements. Living alone at this stage of the disease can be difficult and even dangerous. Hence the patients will need support for performing many of the daily activities.

Stage five

Stage five is the most advanced stage of the disease and due to advanced impairment in the legs, it is extremely difficult to stand or walk in this stage. Inability to rise from a chair or get out of bed, along with stumbling while walking is a common symptom. The patients usually need wheelchairs in this stage along with round-the-clock support and care. Around 30 percent of patients at an advanced level of stage 4 and in stage 5 experience confusion, hallucinations, and delusions. A large section of the patients also suffers from dementia in this stage. In some cases, the medications do not prove to be effective in this stage of the disease.

Conclusion

Living with Parkinson’s disease involves adopting the right techniques to manage the symptoms and make the necessary lifestyle changes. The proper use of medications and other treatments will also be necessary. Starting a regular exercise schedule can make a whole lot of a difference in the condition of the patient. In many cases, activities like swimming, cycling, dancing, and even non-contact boxing, tai-chi, etc., from an early stage have resulted in various positive effects that can counter the debilitating effects of the disease. While there is no specific diet recommended for Parkinson’s, a healthy diet that involves the consumption of plenty of fruits and vegetables is a good option. Adequate hydration can also reduce the chances of cramping of the muscles.

There are a variety of medications that can treat motor symptoms and connect with the right experts in the field that can help in the process of medical therapy. A patient can also find local resources and support groups that can help in dealing with the disease. It is also essential to maintain sound mental health as emotional well-being is directly connected with health. Any signs of anxiety, depression, and stress should be avoided to keep the system in a positive mode. Living with Parkinson’s disease can be challenging but with the right level of support and determination, there is no reason for not conducting life in the best possible manner.

 

Facts

Exercise is an essential component in Parkinson’s disease treatment. It helps in maintaining balance, improves mobility, and helps in daily activities.

Facts

The symptoms vary from person to person.

Facts

The real cause of Parkinson’s disease is largely unknown and there is no specific cure for this disease.

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No. You cannot prevent Parkinson’s disease. There are medications, surgery, and lifestyle habits that can help control the symptoms.
If you are having freezing episodes, rock your foot to start moving, change direction, visualize an obstacle or object in front of you and try to step over, distract yourself, try another movement like raising an arm, etc.
Yes. If you are suffering from some kind of emotional distress related to the disease, you can seek help from a therapist or a counselor.

 

Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • Exercise regularly to bring muscle strength and flexibility.
  • Keep a positive attitude.
  • Try to walk in a straight posture.
Don'ts
  • Blame yourself for your circumstances. This will worsen your mental health.
  • Isolate yourself.
  • Lead a sedentary lifestyle.

 

 

 

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Phenytoin test Phenytoin is a drug that is administered mainly to epilepsy patients. The phenytoin blood test measures the level…
fructosamine test
Fructosamine Test A fructosamine test measures blood sugar glucose content. Fructosamine level can indicate blood sugar level in past 2-3…
Thyroid disorders
Thyroid Profile Thyroid profile is a panel of blood tests performed to check if an individual is suffering from any…
blood ketone test
Blood Ketone (D3HB) Test The Blood Ketone Test measures and monitors the levels of ketone in the blood which is usually performed…
woman with abdominal pain holding ovulation calendar
Ovulation – facts to know about ovulation Learn how and when ovulation occurs, demystify common misconceptions, identify symptoms, methods of detection and right period for…
Optavia diet
The features of an Optavia diet The Optavia diet endorses pre-packaged meals and snacks called "fuelings" that are tasty, low in calorie, and incorporates…
gout diet purines
Gout Diet : Get relief from painful joints by eating these foods Are you a victim of this painful condition? Are medications providing only short relief? Find a list of…
Horny Goat Weed: Can it improve libido in human beings too? This plant got its name as Horny Goat Weed when one of the goats feeding on the plant…
GM Diet: The fastest way to lose weight or yet another hoax diet? General Motors started this trend of extreme dieting for 7 straight days to ensure its employees were able…
Love tea, hate tannins? Rooibos tea is just what you need The market is brimming with a multitude of herbal teas. But what makes rooibos tea (or red bush)…
Erythritol: A healthy sugar substitute or yet another marketing ploy? Erythritol is a popular choice of a healthy alternative sweetening agent in foods. But how healthy can a…
Carb Cycling: Weighing the pros vs the cons of this diet routine Completely discarding carbs from your life will do you more harm than good. Read more about carb cycling,…
Experts reveal the safest ways to perform an enema at home The idea of pushing some up your rectal area might make you queasy but an enema could actually…
Balneotherapy jacuzzi
5 things you didn’t know about balneotherapy and how you can do it at home Sauna baths have been popular since a long time. But how much more beneficial can balneotherapy be as…
Anti-CCP Test – Anti-Cyclic Citrullinated Peptide Anti-ccp or ACCP test is a blood test that is primarily employed to diagnose the onset of rheumatoid…
cardioliin antibody iga
Cardiolipin Antibody (ACL) – IgA test Cardiolipins are phospholipids that are constituents of the platelets and the cell membranes. The IgA test detects the…
complement c4 test
Anemia Profile Anemia Profile test (Basic) is a blood screening test that measures the levels of important components of the…
shiitake mushrooms healthy
What are Shiitake Mushrooms and why should you eat them? Shiitake Mushrooms are well known for their smoky and robust taste. However, did you know they are replete…
pilonidal sinus
Pilonidal sinus Pilonidal sinus is more common in young men than women. Learn about treatment options, surgical management, risks, and…
improve digestion weight loss
Power up your gut: 8 proven steps on how to improve your digestion Did you know you have a colony of bacteria in your gut that help you in digesting food?…
low fodmap plan
Troubled with IBS? Here’s a complete roadmap to the low FODMAP diet Leaky & inflammatory gut troubling you? No medicine bringing you relief from the pain? Why not try the…
Kava: Is it the healthy substitute for alcohol you have been waiting for? Native to the beautiful South Pacific islands, Kava is a famous beverage rooted in the local culture. It…
Psyllium Husk: More than just an effective natural laxative Psyllium husk, or isabgol, is a popular natural laxative . But did you in addition to regulating bowels,…
Find all the instant ways to get rid of blackheads Blackheads - Not only are they aesthetically unappealing but if left untreated these can cause bacterial overgrowth on…
Coffee Enema: Turn your favorite morning beverage into a powerful colon cleanser The wonders of coffee are not just limited to waking you up every morning. You can now use…
Ear pain model
Easy and safe tips for ear wax removal you can do at home Cerumen impaction generally occurs when an external object like cotton swabs are used to remove the ear wax.…
Atkins diet weight loss
Atkins Diet: The right steps to carb control that can help you lose those pounds fast The Atkins diet is a high fat, low-carb diet with proven weight loss benefits that is flexible enough…
CBC blood test
CBC (Hemogram 6-part diff) blood test CBC (Hemogram 6-part diff) blood test refers to the test that measures the number of RBCs, WBCs, etc…
Chest X-Ray A chest x-ray is a diagnostic test that uses x-rays to visualize the structures inside your chest. It…
blood elements analysis
Blood Element Analysis Test A blood element analysis is a blood test performed to measure the level of toxic elements such as…
PROGESTERONE_test
Progesterone test The progesterone test is a blood test used to determine the level of hormone progesterone in the blood…
iron deficiency profile
Iron Deficiency Profile An iron deficiency profile is a battery of blood tests which are performed in order to determine the…
Okra: How can this nutrient-dense vegetable help you fight diabetes? Okra is a food which is rich in nutrients and minerals which are extremely essential for a healthy…
dance health benefits
5 unbelievable effects of dance on your overall health! You enjoy dancing, but did you know what else it does to your body? Dancing is not only…
Jack in the box fast food
Jack In the Box : The perils of surging fast food culture in the USA Jack in the Box - How a culture of fast-food can clog your arteries, weaken your heart, fatten…
black seed oil benefits
Black Seed Oil: What secret benefits could it bestow on your health? Black seeds or nigella seeds are tiny packets of health brimming with amazing benefits. Find out why should…
Oil of Oregano: The one-stop essential oil you’ve been looking for Are you plagued by a weak immune system? High body inflammation accompanied by pain and infections? Why not…
Epley maneuver: Why is this the best protection from the symptoms of vertigo? Epley maneuver is an exercise that can treat the symptoms of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV).  It was…
Tart Cherry: The healthiest excuse for taking that second serving of pie Tart cherry has been traditionally used in delectable desserts such as pies. Recent studies have revealed that its…
Hydroquinone: Is it the best topical treatment for hyperpigmentation? Darkening of the skin due to high melanin levels is called hyperpigmentation.  Hydroquinone interferes with melanin production thus treating…
Inversion Therapy: The anti-gravity way of healing chronic back pain Inversion therapy involves suspending a person upside dow using different types of equipment. This works by taking the…
The Cabbage Soup Diet: The healthiest way to instant weight loss Cabbage soup diet rapid weight loss diet for those who want to shed those extra pounds in less…
reflexology massage
Top reasons why you should go for a reflexology massage today Reflexology involves the application of pressure to your feet and hands to encourage self-healing. Could this be beneficial…
Bone marrow aspiration Bone marrow aspiration is a process where a sample of the bone marrow is withdrawn from the bone…
C-Reactive Protein Test A CRP or c-reactive protein blood test is an important diagnostic tool used to determine the risk of…
HSV-1_IGG
Herpes Simplex Virus I (HSV)-IgG Test Herpes simplex virus I(HSV)-IgG is an Immunoglobulin protein that acts as an antibody & stays in the blood…
malarial antigen test
Malaria Antigen Test A malaria antigen test is a rapid diagnostic test (RDT) that can detect malarial antigens (proteins) in your…
lipase test
Lipase Test A lipase test is a blood test performed to quantitatively measure the level of the enzyme lipase in…
Squid-ink-spaghetti
Squid Ink: A unique food coloring and flavoring agent Want to add a unique black color to your pasta, noodles and ice-creams? How can you use squid…
Squid-ink-spaghetti
Squid Ink: A unique food coloring and flavoring agent Want to add a unique black color to your pasta, noodles and ice-creams? How can you use squid…
Squid-ink-spaghetti
Squid Ink: A unique food coloring and flavoring agent Want to add a unique black color to your pasta, noodles and ice-creams? How can you use squid…
Sushi: health benefits and recipes Sushi is a traditional Japanese dish prepared with vinegared rice served with fish (often raw), vegetables, and other…
hidden benefits walking
9 benefits of walking we bet you didn’t know! Did you know walking can be the miracle pill for eternal youth? Everyone knows walking is good for…