What are the Stages of Parkinson’s Disease? And How Does PD Progress Day After Day?

Parkinson’s disease is a disorder that gradually impacts mobility since it affects the central nervous system. At first, the symptoms of the disease start in one side of the body, and worsen with time, and they include slow movement, tremors, muscle rigidity, and imbalance. With time the symptoms develop until one is unable to speak or even do simple expressions like smiling.
Not all PD patients are affected the same way and level; the disease’s progression differs from one person to another.
As for the scales used to rate the PD cases and their progression, they are UPDRS, and Hoehn & Yahr.

The Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS)

UPDRS consists of four parts, as follows:

  • The first part rates the intellectual function, behavior, and mood.
  • The second part rates the daily activities.
  • The third part rates the motor functions.
  • The fourth part rates the motor complications.

Each of the above parts has levels that rate the disease’s severity. Wherein the maximum level is 199, which means total disability, and the minimum level is 0, which means no disability.

Hoehn & Yahr scale

This scale was invented in 1967, and it is the first scale that accurately describes the progression of Parkinson’s disease. This scale consists of five stages that describe and determine the progression of the disease. Currently, two stages were added, the first is 1.5, and the second is 2.5, in order to calculate the average timeline of PD.

The PD stages in the Hoehn and Yahr scale consist of:

  • The First Stage:
    This is the early stage, in which the patient suffers from tremors, rigidity, and slow movement of the leg or arm in one side of the body. Usually, these symptoms do not affect daily activities. However, changes in the patient’s facial expressions can be noticed by relatives and people around them.
  • Stage 1.5:
    This stage is similar to the first stage. Wherein the body is affected but without balance disorders.
  • The Second Stage:
    In this stage of Parkinson’s disease, the symptoms start to escalate.
    The patient will suffer from tremors and rigidity in the body, in addition to other movements that affect both sides of the body. Moreover, performing daily activities will become more difficult, and the patient will have walking difficulties. Nevertheless, they would still be able to live independently without needing help.
  •  Stage 2.5:
    This stage is similar to the previous one, however, the body becomes weaker.
  • The Third Stage:
    In this stage of Parkinson’s disease, the patient would suffer from imbalance and slow movement. Furthermore, falling is more common in this stage. However, the patients would still be able to live alone, eat, and dress.
  • The Fourth Stage:
    In this stage, the symptoms are limited but severe. The patient would not be able to live alone, and would need help to perform daily activities, but would still be able to stand up alone.
  • The Fifth Stage:
    This last stage of Parkinson’s disease is the most advanced and impactful on the patient’s life. Wherein the patient would have much trouble walking or even standing. Moreover, the patient would need a wheelchair to move from one place to another. In addition to the dire need of help with performing all daily activities. Furthermore, the patients would definitely suffer from hallucinations and delusions. Wherein they might see people, hear voices, or believe in things that do not exist.

We have, herein, briefly answered the question, what are the stages of Parkinson’s disease? And how does PD progress day after day?

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