Tremors are very different from Parkinson’s disease. Although, having tremors can be one of the primary symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, there are various other symptoms which accompany. Besides, the tremors in Parkinson’s occur when the limbs of the patients are at rest, unlike the usual tremors which may occur even when the patient is at move.
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.
How Does One Get Parkinson’s Disease?
A patient gets Parkinson’s disease due to degeneration or destruction of the nerve cells which produce dopamine. Absence of the neurotransmitter called dopamine makes it difficult for the brain to control and coordinate muscle movements which in turn produces symptoms of tremors. It must be remembered that Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological disorder.
What are the Various Stages of Parkinson’s Disease And The Symptoms Associated With It?
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 are 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.
How is Parkinson’s Disease Treated?
The treatment protocol varies along with the stage of Parkinson’s disease the patient is undergoing-
Medicines: In the initial stages medication may be provided to ease out the symptoms experienced by the patient.
Occupational Therapy: As the stage progresses, occupational therapy may be required. This may help the patient reduce the stiffness of the muscles. The occupational therapy helps with both the fine and gross motor abilities of the patient.
Mechanical Help: Walkers and wheelchairs may become essential, as the patient gradually becomes unable to even walk or stand alone.
Personal Caregiver: It may become very difficult for a patient with Parkinson’s disease to live alone as the stage progresses. Thus a caregiver’s assistance is equally important along with the medication.
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