Parkinson’s is a progressive disease that can have a wide range of symptoms. While these symptoms can vary among people depending upon their age and other health conditions, Parkinson’s patients will typically progress through five defined stages. Knowing these stages along with their associated symptoms can provide patients and their loved ones with an understanding of what to expect as the disease progresses so that they can plan for quality Parkinson’s care in Milwaukee.
In the first stage of Parkinson’s, a patient may experience mild symptoms that only slightly interfere with their day-to-day lives. Often, it is only close friends and family members who can detect the changes, such as abnormal facial expressions, in their loved one. Other changes such as tremors, shaking in one limb and postural changes are generally mild but noticeable to the patient.
As Parkinson’s disease progresses, shaking and tremors will often become bilateral which means they affect both limbs at the same time. This can contribute to problems walking and maintaining balance. Patients who struggle to complete their daily tasks independently may also experience increased frustration and need assistance at home. Speech difficulties also become apparent at this stage.
For most Parkinson’s patients, stage three represents a turning point in the disease when many daily tasks become increasingly challenging. The severity of current symptoms will progress, and a loss of balance and decreased reflexes can increase the chances of a serious fall. At this point, occupational therapy may be added to a patient’s care plan, and their medications may be adjusted. Professional Milwaukee caregivers may also be considered to ensure safety and comfort at home.
A lack of mobility and decreasing independence mark the transition from stage three to four. Patients in this stage will exhibit increased bradykinesia and rigidity. They may require a walker or wheelchair to remain mobile, and most cannot stand unassisted. Sometimes, tremors and shakiness will regress and no longer be apparent. Sleep disturbances and behavioral changes may also increase at this time.
Once a patient has reached the fifth stage of Parkinson’s disease, they usually require one-on-one, around the clock care. They cannot stand without assistance, and delusions may become more common during the day. Medications may no longer work, and the focus of treatment will often be on ensuring the comfort of the patient throughout the final stage of the disease. If your aging parent or loved one requires full-time care, click here to learn how a highly trained, well-matched Milwaukee in-home caregiver can help.