5 Stages of Parkinson’s Disease


If you’ve been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease then your doctor will use a rating scale to establish the stage of your disease and to track the progression. The rating scale will assess motor symptoms such as movement and tremors, as well as non-motor symptoms such as loss of smell.

There are five different stages of Parkinson’s disease, starting with mildest and leading up the most severe. There are commonalities in each stage, but the severity of symptoms will differ.

MORE: How to manage ‘freezing’ in Parkinson’s disease

Stage 1
Mild symptoms such as tremors along one side of the body may be presented at this stage. Often the symptoms are mild enough not to interfere with daily life, but slight changes in walking, posture, or facial expressions may be noticed by those around them.

Stage 2
Both sides of the body may be affected by slightly worsened tremors or rigidity. Issues with posture and walking may become quite noticeable and everyday activities may be harder to achieve but patients will still be able to do things for themselves.

Stage 3
As motor symptoms become worse, patients may begin to experience loss of balance leading to falls and movement can become very slow. Although many patients can still live independently they may have difficulty in everyday activities such as eating or dressing.

Stage 4
In this later stage, symptoms are now extremely limiting. Many patients can still stand without assistance but movement is greatly impaired. Most will need help with everyday activities and will not be able to look after themselves.

Stage 5
This is the most advanced stage of the disease and most patients will experience difficulty in walking and standing, often requiring a wheelchair. Assistance will be needed in all areas of daily life as motor skills are seriously impaired. In addition, people with advanced Parkinson’s disease may also begin to suffer hallucinations.

MORE: How Parkinson’s disease affects your body.

Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.


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  1. Judy gorman says:

    I’ve had pd over 8 years. I’m considered stage 2. I am 60. I have just about none of what you suggest.

    How bout addressing the nonmotor symptoms which are usually more debilitating than the motor. I know as I have noh and a dysfunctional gi tract. Lost 90 lbs last year. The ibs spasms are so debilitating and cause esophageal spasms leading to problems with breathing swallowing and chest pains during off times which are many due to poor metabolization of sinemet. Thankfully I’m in a trial for the neuroderm pump. Anxiously awaiting to start and get the pills out of my gi.

  2. G Feldman says:

    Do you have an average duration for each stage? Not necessary to be exact, but it would be helpful to know their relative lengths.

    • Cyrilla says:

      From what I have been told each case is different. Depends on how you follow the things that can worsen it like foods, no exercise, left brain right brain extra activities… You may want to ask your Dr.

  3. Michael Egan says:

    My wife was diagnosed with Parkinson’s about 17years ago. Has gone through the five stages. Should there be a sixth and perhaps a seventh stage. She does not stand cannot walk in wheelchair or in bed. She continues to have hallucinations despite being on nuplazid. Is depressed most of the time with limited “good” time. Has an excellent neurologist/movement specialist.

    • Sandy burke says:

      My husband has had of for 15 years he was in stage 1 for 13 he fell broke hip then pnumonia cdiff sepus this trama brought him to stage 5 over night wheelchair dementia dierrahea lost 40lbs trouble sallowing trouble talking thinking eating dressing Stage 5 isn’t pretty

  4. Deborah Dietrich says:

    I agree that these stages are extremely limited, and what I can’t understand is whether they reflect a person with PD who is being treated for it or who is not? My husband was diagnosed 13 years ago with one-sided stiffness and has never had tremors. He has been hallucinating for several years now and is trying Nuplazid, but people need to understand that the hallucinations are not from Parkinson’s but from the overabundance of carbidopa-levodopa in the brain from years of medication. Depression and apathy are early-stage symptoms. Orthostatic hypotension, constipation, weight loss, dyskinesia, drooling, speech loss, mania, nightmares… being a different person at different times of day (and never being able to predict those shifts). One size does not fit all. My husband walks on his own except when he crawls to the bathroom to prevent fainting, and while I recognize there is more “fun” to come, he feels pretty advanced to me, especially in the non-comprehensible but hyper-verbal manic state where his executive processing is absent.

    Please consider revising these stages or clarifying whether the patient is on meds or not. Thank you.

  5. Denise says:

    I have a loved one that has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Over the past 3 years, the weight loss and loss of muscle tone is so hard to watch. Initially, he had tremors in his left hand and has since then started on his right. He will go for a walk and if he should stop and talk to a neighbor and have to restart his walking there are times he cant get his legs to start moving again. He also has a problem with swallowing. He is unable to feel his gag reflex. For the past 2 years he has need to nap in the afternoons. Now, he is tired in the mornings also and hard to get him going. He now has a hard time being in crowds also. Too much stimulation. I see him wander to a corner and start playing a game on his phone. A very sad disease.

  6. J De Lara says:

    I am 59, have increasing tremors on and off, paimnful “stiffness” and leg cramps,(feels like charlie horse in calf, thigh, etc… terrified because I cannot afford health insurance. Is there someplace I can go to at least get tested??

  7. Sarin Yot says:

    My father have the dignosed of parkison for nine years. We just get the treatment for him two years in Thailand hospital.His condition is better at the first time but now he becomes weaker and weaker. He felt at hitting head more tan 4 times in these three weeks and now he become lost. So how can i help hime. please share me how to help him im begging i can not stand to see him that way. im alone working more than 12 hours per day earn money to support my parents. im 28 with asthma 28 years along too. im waiting for your help please

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