What Is Parkinson’s Disease?

what is parkinsons disease

Parkinson’s is a neurodegenerative disorder. This disorder affects dopamine-producing neurons predominantly in the brain, in a very specific region called the substantia nigra. This degeneration begins slowly, creating a series of symptoms that will progress and worsen over time.

Parkinson’s symptoms may include:

  • Tremors: A shaking that usually begins in a smaller limb, such as the fingers or the hand, may continue when a person isn’t attempting to move; or is at rest.
  • Writing changes: Writing becomes difficult, and writing appears smaller or unsteady.
  • Rigid Muscles: Muscles will tense up and become stiffer. Can cause leg and arm movements to decrease as they become more difficult.
  • Loss of automatic movements: Automatic body processes may become more difficult. This includes, but is not limited to, blinking, smiling, or unconscious walking movements (swinging arms, moving hands).
  • Bradykinesia: Slowness. Movements become slower or painstaking.
  • Speech Changes: Speech may become slower and more painstaking. Words may become slurred and difficult to understand.
  • Gait problems: Often related to the rigidity of muscles, general walking gait may change. May become slower or more difficult.
  • Balance problems: Balance changes. Results in difficulty to remain standing unaided.

In the early stages of Parkinson’s, one or two of these symptoms may present themselves. In later stages, symptoms progress. There are five stages of Parkinson’s disease.

These 5 Stages Of Parkinson’s Disease

  1. Stage One: Mild symptoms begin to present themselves. These symptoms do not interfere with daily activities. Tremors will only occur on one side of the body. Lesser symptoms, such as facial changes, happen in this stage.
  2. Stage Two: In stage two, tremors worsen. Other symptoms (rigidity, poor posture) begin to present themselves. Daily tasks are still possible, but they become more difficult.
  3. Stage Three: Stage three is the mid-level stage of Parkinson’s. In this stage, symptoms progress from affecting one side of the body to affecting both sides of the body. Walking problems begin, and posture problems become worse. The person still has the ability to be independent, but activities such as drinking, eating, and dressing become more difficult.
  4. Stage Four: At stage four, symptoms are difficult to cope with. Sufferers can often still stand, but walking unaided becomes difficult, if not impossible. Daily activities are incredibly difficult, and independent self-care is impossible.
  5. Stage Five: By stage five, all symptoms are debilitating. This is the most severe stage of Parkinson’s. At this stage, walking and standing may be impossible. All daily activities require assistance. By this stage, the sufferer may be experiencing delusions or hallucinations as the disease progresses in the mind as well as in the body.

Parkinson’s sufferers slowly experience a decrease in their ability to function. They slowly lose independence. Once a doctor confirms that a person is suffering from Parkinson’s, they may offer many different treatments.

As Parkinson’s progresses differently in different people, there is no one standard treatment. A doctor will tailor the treatment to the patient.

Treatments may include medications, surgery, or other treatments to help mitigate the symptoms and slow the disease. There is currently no cure for Parkinson’s, though scientists continue to study the disease every day.

Parkinson’s Home Care Assistance In Phoenix, AZ – Call (480) 999-3012

Are you or a loved one suffering from Parkinson’s to the point where you think you might want some help with your daily activities? Devoted Guardians is one of the top-rated home care agencies in the Phoenix Valley in Arizona. We cover the entire Phoenix metro area and put our caregivers through a rigorous evaluation before hiring them. If you think you or someone else may want or need assistance, please feel free to give us a call at 480-999-3012.

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