Parkinson’s disease is a movement disorder that affects the nervous system. Its symptoms occur because of low dopamine levels in the brain.


The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease develop gradually. They often start with a slight tremor in one hand and a feeling of stiffness in the body. Over time, other symptoms develop, and some people can experience dementia.

Some early signs of Parkinson’s disease may include:

  • movement changes, such as tremors
  • coordination and balance impairments that can cause a person to drop things or fall over
  • a loss of sense of smell
  • gait changes, so a person leans forward slightly or shuffles when walking
  • fixed facial expressions due to changes in the nerves that control face muscles
  • a voice tremor or softer voice
  • more cramped and smaller handwriting
  • sleep problems resulting from restless legs and other factors
  • rapid eye movement sleep disorder may be a powerful predictor, according to a 2015 study

Causes of Parkinson’s disease

The exact cause of Parkinson’s is unknown. It may have both genetic and environmental components. Some scientists believe that viruses can trigger Parkinson’s as well.

Low levels of dopamine and norepinephrine, a substance that regulates dopamine, have been linked with Parkinson’s. While there’s no known cause, research has identified groups of people who are more likely to develop the condition, which includes:

  • Sex. Men are one and a half times more likely to develop Parkinson’s than women.
  • Race. According to research Trusted Source, there’s a higher prevalence of Parkinson’s in white people compared with Black or Asian people. Geographic location may be one reason for a higher risk.
  • Age. Parkinson’s usually appears between ages 50 and 60 years. It only occurs before 40 years old in about four percent of cases.
  • Family history. People who have close family members with Parkinson’s disease are more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease.
  • Toxins. Exposure to certain toxins may increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease.
  • Head injury. People who experience head injuries may be more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s disease stages

Parkinson’s is a progressive disease, which means symptoms of the condition typically worsen over time.

Many doctors use the Hoehn and Yahr scale to classify its stages. This scale divides symptoms into five stages, and it helps healthcare professionals learn how advanced disease signs and symptoms are.

Stage 1

Stage 1 Parkinson’s is the mildest form. It’s so mild you may not experience noticeable symptoms. They may not yet interfere with your daily life and tasks.

If you do have symptoms, they may be isolated to one side of your body.

Stage 2

The progression from stage 1 to stage 2 can take months or even years. Each person’s experience will be different.

At this moderate stage, you may experience symptoms such as:

  • muscle stiffness
  • tremors
  • changes in facial expressions
  • trembling

Muscle stiffness can complicate daily tasks, prolonging how long it takes you to complete them. However, at this stage, you’re unlikely to experience balance problems.

Symptoms may appear on both sides of the body. Changes in posture, gait, and facial expressions may be more noticeable.

Stage 3

At this middle stage, symptoms reach a turning point. While you’re unlikely to experience new symptoms, they may be more noticeable. They may also interfere with all of your daily tasks.

Movements are noticeably slower, which slows down activities. Balance issues become more significant, too, so falls are more common. But people with stage 3 Parkinson’s can usually maintain their independence and complete activities without much assistance.

Stage 4

The progression from stage 3 to stage 4 brings about significant changes. At this point, you will experience great difficulty standing without a walker or assistive device.

Reactions and muscle movements also slow significantly. Living alone can be unsafe, possibly dangerous.

Stage 5

In this most advanced stage, severe symptoms make around-the-clock assistance a necessity. It will be difficult to stand, if not impossible. A wheelchair will likely be required.

Also, at this stage, individuals with Parkinson’s may experience confusion, delusions, and hallucinations. These complications of the disease can begin in the later stages.

Treatments for Parkinson’s disease

Treatment for Parkinson’s relies on a combination of:

  • lifestyle changes
  • medications
  • Therapies

Management of Parkinson’s Disease

The following are some of the rehabilitative programs that have been widely studied and have shown effectiveness in the management of individuals with Parkinson’s disease.

  1. Exercise
  2. Use of Cues
  3. Virtual Reality and Exergaming-Based Rehabilitation
  4. Complimentary Exercises
  5. Dancing

Physiotherapy contributes to treating Parkinson’s disease, playing a preventive role, and maintaining physical fitness and health. Individuals with Parkinson’s disease are encouraged to sustain their training to maintain their physical ability and slow the progression of the condition. We try to guide our patients’ activities outside of the clinic for maximum benefit and safety in physiotherapy sessions. We also incorporate all of the above techniques into safe and tailored exercises for each individual at their current level of physical function. 

At PCA, our physiotherapists can evaluate you or your loved one to determine what program is right for you.

You can contact us at

+234 907 301 6018

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