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Parkinson’s Disease: A Look at Each Stage
After Alzheimer’s, the second most leading disorder is Parkinson’s disease. With an approximate number of a million people affected, most in their 60s, 4% of the US population lives with this disease.
As it can strike anyone, knowing about Parkinson’s disease, as well as its symptoms, stages, and treatments, is a must so that this knowledge can guide us appropriately.
What Are the 5 Stages of Parkinson’s Disease?
There are five stages of this disease.
During the earlier stages, the individual will go through premotor symptoms. Premotor symptoms are those that occur before the obvious motor symptoms.
They are as follows:
- Inability to sleep peacefully
- Mood swings
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Decreased sense of smell
What are the 5 stages of Parkinson’s? They are the following:
Symptoms in the first stage are not prevalent and do not interfere with the individual’s daily life. However, motor symptoms can still occur, such as tremors, slow movement, and muscle stiffness on one side of the body only.
Motor symptoms increase, and the tremors and muscle rigidity are now on both sides of the body. There’s no need for assistance as the individual can still live and function alone, but doing so becomes difficult.
A significant turning point in Parkinson’s disease stages is the mid-stage. The symptoms become worse, and the individual loses balance. Movements also become slow, resulting in falls. The individual can still function independently, but their usual activities, such as eating and dressing, are greatly hindered.
At stage four of Parkinson’s disease, the symptoms become severe. The individual can still stand alone, but a walker will be necessary. They will need constant assisting as they are not able to live by themselves. It is caused by grave muscle rigidity and visible bradykinesia or slowness of movement.
This late-stage Parkinson’s disease makes the individual suffer from severe back pain, neck pain, and posture issues in the hips. At this stage, the person is no longer able to walk or stand by themselves. A wheelchair is needed. At times, the person is bed-ridden.
The individual needs attention 24/7 for all of their activities.
In the end stage of Parkinson’s disease, non-motor symptoms are now apparent: insomnia, incontinence, constipation, cognitive impairment, loss of smell, and dementia. A person in this stage also has dementia, which leads to hallucinations due to some medications.
A Closer Look: What Is Parkinson’s Disease?
Also known as the unending movement disorder, Parkinson’s disease is a condition of the nervous system where the nerves do not function normally. It results in problems with balance and coordination and slowly gets worse with time.
What Are the Causes of Parkinson’s Disease?
Even with in-depth studies and research, the leading cause of Parkinson’s disease is still unknown.
However, this disease is explained through the loss of nerve cells in the substantia nigra, a section of the brain where dopamine is produced. When this nerve cell’s damage goes up to 80%, symptoms of the disorder become more evident.
Dopamine is the hormone messenger that helps the brain and the nervous system to coordinate movements. When dopamine decreases, the message is not as clear, making it hard to control body movements such as walking and talking.
Only 10% to 15% of Parkinson’s disease cases are attributed to genetics. Most of these cases are discovered at a later stage, making it hard to prevent them.
The other 85% to 90% can be because of an individual’s surroundings. Environmental toxicants such as pesticides and herbicides can damage the cell and increase the risk of having Parkinson’s disease, although only by a modest degree.
Some researchers also argue that this disorder’s main culprit is the mixture of both genetics and the environment. Despite the many theories surrounding this disease, the evidence of why it exists remains inconclusive.
Is Parkinson’s Disease Fatal?
Parkinson’s disease is not fatal as a standalone and can be treated with medications and surgery. It can even be prevented when the stages of Parkinson’s disease are diagnosed early.
But the complications that may arise from it can turn severe. These complications are so grave that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ranked them as 14th in those that cause deaths in the US.
Is There a Cure for Parkinson’s Disease?
Unfortunately, there’s still no cure for Parkinson’s disease. There are only available treatments such as supportive therapies alongside medications that try to lessen the symptoms. These remedies only relieve the feeling of discomfort.
Who Is Eligible for Hospice for Parkinson’s Disease?
An individual suffering from Parkinson’s, whatever stage they may be, can avail of hospice services. Without assistance, it will be hard for both the individual and their family to help control and treat this disease.
For hospice eligibility, the individual must exhibit the following end-stage Parkinson’s symptoms:
- Difficulty in breathing or dyspnea
- A constant need for a wheelchair or they are already bed-ridden
- Has pneumonia
- Has sepsis
- Has pyelonephritis
- Has decubitus ulcers
- Inability to do daily activities without help
- Has speech deficiency
- Has eating problems
What Can You Do for Someone Who Has Parkinson’s Disease?
If you want to offer help to an individual suffering from Parkinson’s disease, you should:
- Know and learn everything about Parkinson’s disease to fully understand the condition of the person.
- Do volunteer when they need some assistance and take note of their symptoms. Notice if they get worse over time.
- Listen and be patient with their recovery.
- Help them get some fun to make them feel normal.
Get a Consultation From All American Hospice
If you or someone you know is diagnosed or having the early symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, feel free to ask for assistance from All American Hospice Care. We’re here to provide our utmost support to help individuals in their journey with Parkinson’s. Contact us today for a consultation and to know more about us and our services.