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Parkinson's Disease

Stages of Parkinsons

08/12/2009

Question:

My mother was diagnosed with PD about 20 years ago. She has been treated with medication and has had the deep brain stimulation surgery. She never really recovered from the surgery she has been falling continually and is now unable to walk without assistance. She has had more falls in the past few months saying she didn’t know she was going to fall.

Now we are at the stage where she is telling us she is seeing things like bugs in the house or on the stove or anywhere or being really afraid because there are people in the house. She sees her neurologist on a regular basis to calibrate the leads to her deep brain stimulation but this is new to us.

Please help me understand the stage we are in and how long does that mean for her.

Answer:

Everyone with Parkinson's disease has different symptoms and progression.  There is not a way to predict how long a patient with Parkinson's disease will live. 

It is not uncommon for more advanced stages to have features of walking trouble with more falls despite optimal medication and deep brain stimulation treatment.  Also, as the disease advances, dementia can develop and sometimes can include symptoms of psychosis such as hallucinations.  It is often necessary to re-evaluate medications and lower anything suspected to be adding to the cognitive/psychiatric issues.  

I suggest you have further discussion with your mother's neurologist at her next visit regarding your concerns.

For more information:

Go to the Parkinson's Disease health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Punit  Agrawal, DO Punit Agrawal, DO
Assistant Professor of Neurology
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University