Parkinson’s disease has been a mystery for quite a long time now and continues to be one in parts. This is mainly because the cause of the disease is unknown, there is no absolute cure except for symptom management, and after a point, even that becomes a hardship. This disease that affects the nervous system only worsens with time and there is no absolute timeline to help the individual prepare themselves for the onset of symptoms to the stages of worsened symptoms.
It is extremely difficult to answer questions regarding the progress of the disease or how to manage them, but there are charts that can help one know what to expect in different stages of the disease, and give information about palliative care.
Why is Parkinson’s disease so hard to predict?
The major problem with this disease is that there are two categories of symptoms that are highly probable. While one category of symptoms includes the loss of the ability to move due to rigid muscles and tremors, the other category is associated with non-motor symptoms that include pain, dementia, and smell dysfunction. A person affected by this disease may not exhibit all the symptoms at the same time and there is no guarantee as to what combination of symptoms may occur or which of them will affect the individual severely. Moreover, the drugs prescribed for people with this disease provide different levels of symptoms management, and what works for one needn’t work for another.
What can one expect with Parkinson’s disease?
As stated, there is no particular path that this disease follows, and it can move at a different pace for different people. The only definite parameter is that the symptoms tend to worsen along the way and the pace of escalation is unknown. In a degenerative disease like Parkinson’s, there are chances that there will be new symptoms that crop up at any point. This disease does not necessarily impact the longevity of your life, but it does majorly compromise the quality of your life, and that has its own set of consequences. In most cases of the Parkinson’s disease, people tend to exhibit at least one major symptom such as dementia or physical disability that predominantly affects the body after about ten years of living with the disease.
Motor vs non-motor symptoms
The level of effect that any of these symptoms have on a person with Parkinson’s can broadly be classified into three main stages — the mild stage, the moderate stage, and the advanced stage. The mild stage is when the onset of the disease happens and the symptoms are mild, but this can start to slowly impact a person’s regular tasks. The moderate stage is essentially the time period of 3-7 years after the disease has been diagnosed and the main stage when an individual fails to maintain their posture, cannot move their limbs the way they want, and faces major speech defects. Eventually, the advanced stage is when an individual loses complete control over their gross motor skills and might face incontinence, insomnia, and dementia