The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) does not really contain a list of medical conditions that mention about disabilities. However, the act has a general definition of disability that a person should meet. Thus, few people with Parkinson’s disease may have a disability under ADA, while few may not.
When Does a Person have Disability According to ADA?
According to the Americans with Disability Act, a person has a disability if he has some form of physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities. Thus, as Parkinson’s disease is progressive, it eventually impairs a person physically. Thus, stage 1 may not be seen as a disability, but with progression it may become a disability under ADA.
What are the Various Stages of Parkinson’s Disease?
The progression of Parkinson’s disease is mostly divided into five stages-
Stage 1- This stage is characterized by the mildest form of Parkinson’s. The symptoms are not so severe to interfere with daily tasks and overall lifestyle. Friends and family members may notice some sort of changes in the way the patient walks, his posture and some facial expression. One of the distinct symptom of Parkinson’s is the tremors or other problems in movement and exclusive to one side of the body. If doctor is consulted at this stage, the prescribed medication can help ease out the symptoms at this stage.
Stage 2- This phase is considered to be the moderate form of Parkinson’s because the symptoms get distinctively noticed by people. Muscle stiffness is quite common at this stage. It must be remembered that although there may be an increase of tremors and irregular posture, stage 2 does not impair the balance of the patient.
Stage 3- The patient may experience a turning point in this stage as along with the symptoms he may not be able to maintain his balance and experience decreased reflexes. Movements become slower and falls become common. Medication along with occupational therapy may be advised.
Stage 4- It becomes impossible to even stand without assistance at stage 4. Living alone may make daily tasks impossible and dangerous. Thus, the patient will need a caregiver from this stage.
Stage 5- This is the most advanced stage of Parkinson’s disease. The patient may find it impossible to even stand or walk because of the freezing and stiffness of the legs. Patients may require wheelchair. Around-the-clock assistance may be required in order to help him and prevent frequent falls.
What is the Average Progression Rate of Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s disease is a chronic and progressive disease. This means that the symptoms continue and worsen over the period of years. Although there are various factors that may work, but the normal progression rate of the Parkinson’s disease is 10 years. When the onset of the disease is at an older age, faster progression rate associated with cognitive failure may be witnessed.
What Symptoms Should Be Present To Confirm Parkinson’s Disease?
In order to medically diagnose Parkinson’s disease, a minimum of two to four symptoms must be present. The four main symptoms include-
- Shaking or tremors.
- Acute slowness of movement called Bradykinesia.
- Stiffness or rigidity of the arms, legs and trunk.
- Problems with maintaining body balance and posture, which result in falls called postural instability.
The gradual loss of independence may be difficult to deal with, but being well informed about the disease may reduce the anxiety to a large extent. Generally Parkinson’s disease is not fatal, but since it adversely affects the motor abilities, constant assistance is required for a patient with Parkinson’s disease.