When people see a picture of Michael J. Fox, I believe they automatically think of Parkinson’s Disease. He is the one person who we associate with this disease because he is so well known and has been so vigilant in sharing his story.
Let’s take a look at the stages of this disease. According to ParkinsonsDisease.net there are 5 stages that are accepted by physicians around the world when they “classify patients for research studies” and that is the Hoehn and Yahr Scale.
Stage 1: * Unilateral involvement (one side of the body) * Difficult to diagnosis as there may not be enough symptoms for accurate diagnosis * Minimal or no functional impairment * First symptoms might be rigidity or tremors *Every person’s situation is unique
Stage 2: *Bilateral involvement * May develop months or years after Stage 1 * Loss of facial expression * Speech abnormalities * Soft voice * Muscle stiffness and rigidity * Stooped posture *Slowness in completing ADLs (Activities of Daily Living) * Still considered early stage development
Stage 3: *Mid-stage of the disease *Loss of balance leading to potential falls * Slow moving * Still able to complete ADLs independently
Stage 4: * Progressed to severely debilitating disease * No longer able to live alone * Will need walker for mobility
Stage 5: * Most advanced stage * Unable to function on own * Needs total assistance with ADLs * May stumble or freeze when walking * May experience hallucinations or delusions.
ParkinsonsDisease.net also reinforces that every individual will progress at their own speed and some will never experience Stage 5. Not all Parkinson’s patients will experience all of the above symptoms.
The Alzheimer’s Association indicates in their informational material that 60 – 80% of Parkinson’s patients will develop Parkinsonian dementia several years after diagnosis.
This is a brief summary of the 5 stages. If you would like more detailed information go to https://parkinsonsdisease.net/basics/stges/ or The Michael J. Fox Foundation at www.michaeljfox.org.
Photo Credit: Michael J. Fox Foundation