What are the various stages in Parkinson's disease?

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Parkinson's disease is chronic and progressive in nature. There are three main stages:

1st stage of Parkinson's disease: the first signs of the disease

It can take 5 to 10 years from the initial onset of Parkinson's disease through to official diagnosis. In some cases, this insidious disease will already have taken hold by the time the diagnosis is made.


There are 3 main symptoms which should set the alarm bells ringing and prompt you to consult a neurologist or your GP:


- Slow movements (bradykinesia)

- Stiff limbs

- Tremors at rest.


2nd stage of Parkinson's disease: The so-called "honeymoon" period

During the second “honeymoon” period, the symptoms of Parkinson's disease are insignificant. Patients can continue to live a more or less normal lifestyle. This period can last from 3 to 8 years, depending on the patient. During this period, the body responds positively to dopaminergic-based treatments.


3rd stage of Parkinson's disease: the so-called "on/off" period

During the third “on/off” period, the symptoms of Parkinson's disease gradually worsen. The so-called "dopaminergic" treatment loses its efficacy and the patient experiences intermittent motor problems. In 50% of cases, these on/off periods occur 6 years after disease onset.


4th stage of Parkinson's disease: the “disease exacerbation” period

The final period corresponds to the terminal stage of Parkinson's disease when the symptoms worsen at pace. The tremors increase and the patient is confined to bed. Psychological manifestations also appear such as depression, memory loss, confusion and even dementia. Other disorders including cramps, blood pressure problems or urinary dysfunction are also often observed.


What is the survival time?

The classic treatment of Parkinson's disease involves dopamine administration to offset depleted levels within the patient’s body. However, although this treatment is effective for a number of years, Parkinson's disease inevitably worsens and is accompanied in most cases by infections and swallowing difficulties as well as speech disorders. Moreover, the treatments prescribed for patients with Parkinson's disease can cause psychological distress, potentially leading to depression.


How to find a care home offering care for the terminal stage of Parkinson’s disease

In the majority of cases, the elderly individual affected is moved to a retirement home specialising in the last stages of Parkinson’s disease. Movement starts to become very difficult and is totally impossible in the final stages. This decision is naturally fraught with consequences, but it is essential when the elderly person's dependence reaches a stage that is too difficult for relatives to manage. They then rely on the expertise of professionals in retirement homes specialising in Parkinson's disease. Such establishments are designed to ensure that these patients receive optimum care and attention.





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