The Parkinson's disease (PD) is disease which results when the dopaminergic neurons which produce dopamine die in large numbers. The disease has variation symptoms and there is no clearly defined method of testing it. Diagnosis of the disease thereby involves observation of the symptoms of the patients. Most of the symptoms of this disease are often confused with the simple effects of ageing.
The rate at which symptoms develops varies from one person to another. In some people it might take as long as 20 years before the symptoms present themselves, while in others the onset of symptoms is much quicker. Scientists and other researchers have subdivided the development of this disease in to five stages which are now common referred to as the Parkinson disease stages. It takes some time before the transition of the disease from one stage to the next. In some stages there may be skipping of the Parkinson stages whereby the symptoms which are mild at the early stages may suddenly double or triple causing the patient to be physically disabled or bed ridden.
The stages of Parkinson disease include:
STAGE ONE: This is the initial stage of the disease and the PD patient experiences occasional and rare symptoms. The patient will find it hard and challenged to discharge the day to day activities which would otherwise (in good health) be very easy to undertake. The symptoms include tremors and shaking in any of the limbs. A close observation of PD patient when the disease is at stage one will show loss of balance, poor posture and abnormal expressions of the face.
STAGE TWO: At this stage the PD symptoms turn out to be bilateral and they can now be experienced in all the limbs and both sides of the body. The patient will show and experience walking problems and difficulties in maintaining balance. The patient will now be unable to complete simple tasks because of physical body inability and loss of memory.
STAGE THREE: In this stage, severe symptoms begin to set in and the patient will now be unable to stand or walk straight. The patient may manifest chronic depression and loss of body mass and weight. The PD patient will show serious memory loss, as well as lack of coordination.
STAGE FOUR: The symptoms of this stage are severe. Some patients may still be able to walk (with difficulties), but they will show rigidity, stiffness and numbness of the limbs. At this stage, the patients cannot perform any work and they have to be looked after. For unknown reasons the trembling and shaking which is prevalent at the earlier Parkinson disease stages may be reduced.
STAGE FIVE: This is the final stage of the PD development and at this stage the patient becomes totally immobile. Most patients cannot walk, stand or take care of themselves. Others may even not be able to talk. The patient at this stage has to but put on 24/7 care.