Parkinson’s disease strikes people in many different ways, leaving them to experience a broad range of symptoms. Though symptoms may be mild or severe or occur frequently or infrequently, Parkinson’s disease appears to have five different stages. The time spent at each stage varies, and the skipping of stages, from stage one to stage three, for example, is not uncommon. Parkinson’s disease stages include:
Stage one: During this initial phase of the disease, a person usually experiences mild symptoms, such as tremors or shaking in a limb. During this stage, friends and family can usually detect changes caused by Parkinson’s, such as poor posture, loss of balance, and abnormal facial expressions.
Stage two: In the second stage of Parkinson’s disease, the person’s symptoms are bilateral, affecting both limbs and both sides of the body. The person usually encounters problems walking or maintaining balance, and the inability to complete normal physical tasks becomes more apparent.
Stage three: Stage three symptoms of Parkinson’s disease can be rather severe and include the inability to walk straight or to stand. There is a noticeable slowing of physical movements in stage three.
Stage four: This stage of the disease is accompanied by severe symptoms of Parkinson’s. Walking may still occur, but it is often limited, and rigidity and bradykinesia — a slowing of movement — are often visible. During this stage, most patients are unable to complete day-to-day tasks, and usually cannot live on their own. The tremors or shakiness of the earlier stages of the disease, however, may lessen or become non-existent for unknown reasons during this time.
Stage five: In the last or final stage of Parkinson’s disease, the person is usually unable to take care of himself or herself and may not be able to stand or walk. A person at stage five usually requires constant one-on-one nursing care.