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.

 

4 comments

  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.

  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.

  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.

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