Parkinson’s disease is a brain disorder that leads to tremors, stiffness, and difficulty with balance and coordination. About 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease each year and more than 10 million people are currently living with it worldwide. Symptoms of this disease often begin gradually and worsen over time.
Since this disease is progressive, doctors often use a rating scale to assess the stage of Parkinson’s disease in an individual. One of the most commonly used scales is the Hoehn and Yahr scale (named after its authors). This scale is broken down into five stages to help doctors evaluate how far the disease has progressed. In this article, we explore the five stages of Parkinson’s disease, including what you can expect in each stage.
Common Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease
Symptoms can vary from person to person, and they may even worsen as the disease progresses. But here are some of the most common symptoms of Parkinson’s disease to be on the lookout for:
- Uncontrollable tremors or shaking
- Slowed movement
- Rigid muscles
- Impaired posture and balance
- Speech and voice changes
Doctors will often use the Hoehn and Yahr rating scale to determine the progression of the disease. Let’s take a look at the five stages next.