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Understanding Parkinson's - A Progressive Chronic Disease | Fedelta Home Care, Seattle WA

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April 27, 2016

Understanding Parkinson's - A Progressive Chronic Disease

Do you have someone you care about that is battling Parkinson’s Disease? According to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, approximately 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease each year, and this number does not reflect the thousands of cases that go undetected.

As of today, there is still no cure for Parkinson’s Disease, a chronic and progressive disorder of the brain that impacts the body’s movement. It is important for us to understand this progressive disease, how it impacts quality of life, as well as what can be done to manage symptoms and maximize quality of life with the disease. 

Stability in hands

Photo Credit: Jessiejacobson via Compfight cc

There are several stages of the disease; however, each person with Parkinson’s is unique and may experience different symptoms or experience the stages differently. There is no set timeframe as to when someone will move from one stage to the next. To better understand the diseases different stages, here is an overview of what to expect.

  1. Initial OnsetMild Implications: During the first stage of Parkinson’s Disease, one may notice that they are having difficulties moving one side of their body. However, symptoms are often so mild in stage one that they are often missed or overlooked.
  2. Noticeable Symptoms: Stage two is where symptoms become more noticeable. Some common symptoms for people include changes in facial expressions, tremors, and stiffness. At this stage you may start to notice the impact on both sides of your body; however, your balance should remain intact.
  3. Mid-Stage with Moderate Symptoms: Once someone with Parkinson’s hits the third stage of the disease, they will start to notice that their balance is becoming impaired with the danger of falls becoming more of a risk. Some individuals will also notice a change in their reflexes. Even though everyday tasks may become more difficult, someone with Parkinson’s is able to remain independent at this stage.
  4. Loss of Independence – Onset of Disabilities: Stage four is a turning point in the disease. Once someone has reached stage four, they will need more assistance and most likely will need to live with someone. Some people are able to stand on their own; however, walking may require help from someone else or the use of a walker to get around safely. The ability to do daily tasks will become very difficult and dangerous.
  5. Advanced Stage – Debilitating: When someone with Parkinson’s Disease reaches stage five, they will need 24-hour care. Stage five shows advanced stiffness and freezing upon standing, causing the need for a wheelchair and help from another person.

While symptoms and stages of the disease may seem overwhelming, especially if you or your loved one were just diagnosed, it is important to remember that the disease can be managed. With management, understanding, and proper goals for your loved one, they can continue to live an active and happy life with Parkinson’s.

Whether you or your loved one have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease recently, or have been living with the disease for a while now, it is never too late to start finding resources to help you manage it.

Here in the Puget Sound area, there are several resources available to you:

Northwest Parkinson’s Foundation

UW Medicine – Parkinson’s Interdisciplinary Program

American Parkinson's Disease Association

Booth Gardner Parkinson’s Care Center

Additionally, Fedelta Home Care offers a Care Management program that can help you or your loved one manage symptoms and set wellness goals for healthy living. To get started learning about Fedelta Home Care's Parkinson's management program we advise you to download our Parkinson’s brochure.  

Click Here to Download  our Parkinson's Care Booklet