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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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