In the advanced stages of Parkinson's, patients are usually confined in a wheelchair
Though each person diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease may not show the same symptoms, it is still a fact that during advanced stages, patients are known to be confined in a wheelchair due to being unable to move around by themselves. Usually, families are told to look out for these symptoms during the early stages:
- Tremors – Shaking of the limbs that start with the hand or fingers. Also common is the rubbing of the thumb and forefinger known as pill rolling. Another characteristic is a hand tremor even when the hand is relaxed or at rest.
- Bradykinesia (Slowed Movement) – The reduced ability of movement making a person slow, thus making simple tasks difficult to accomplish. Steps may become short and sluggish and get up from a seating position can become difficult.
- Rigid Muscles – Stiffness of the muscles may occur in any part of the body, causing discomfort and pain. This limits range of motion considerably.
- Impaired Posture – Person may end up with a stooped posture and may also affect their balance.
- Losing Automatic Movement – Movements such as blinking, swaying of hands when walking, or even smiling may be greatly decreased.
- Changes in Speech – Speech may turn monotone. Speech may also slow down, slur, quicken, or there may be a marked hesitation before speaking.
- Changes in Writing – They may find it hard to write and their writing appears to be small.
These are the obvious signs of Parkinson’s disease, and it would be wise to consult a specialist in movement disorders to further guide the patient, as well as the family, as to what steps to follow next. Challenges lie ahead and the burden on the patient is also reflected on how the family cares for them.