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Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson`sdisease

04/30/1999

Question:

What are the long term effects of this disease?

Answer:

Parkinson`s disease progresses at different rates in different individuals. There are no criteria that can help determine the rate of progression in advance.

The Hoehn and Yahr rating scale is used to demarcate different stages of the disease:

Stage 1: Disease only on one side of the body Stage 2: Disease on one side with axial symptoms such as difficulty getting out of a chair. Stage 3: Disease on both sides, mild difficulty with balance, still independent. Stage 4: Severe disability, still can walk or stand unassisted. Stage 5: Wheelchair bound or bedridden unless assisted.

In addition to progression of motor symptoms there may also be difficulty with memory and mental abilities in the late stages.

Patients on Sinemet (levodopa) or dopamine agonists show a predisposition to abnormal movements (dyskinesias) or fluctuations in their motor function. Hallucinations can also occur as a side effect.

Despite the dark picture painted above, physicians working in the field are increasingly optimistic about good long-term outcomes due to the advent of new drugs and surgical procedures we find helpful in maintaining patients in a good state of health and managing the complications. Consulting a neurologist who has expertise in movement disorders is essential to ensure the best outcomes.

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Response by:

Arif Dalvi, MD
Assistant Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati