The Hoehn and Yahr Scale for Parkinson's

Two doctors named Dr. Hoehn and Dr. Yahr developed a scale that puts Parkinson’s disease into five stages. The first stage is the mildest stage of the disease and stage five is the worst stage.

The symptoms may be mild or severe or happen a lot, or not as much. Also, the time spent at each stage of the disease varies, and the skipping of stages, from Stage 1 to Stage 3, for example, is not uncommon.

Stage 1   The main symptoms- tremor, muscle stiffness, slowness of movement and problems with posture- are only on one side of the body. Problems with balance might also appear.

Stage 2   The disease will be on both sides of the body now and minor symptoms like problems with swallowing, talking and something called “facial masking” (loss of facial expression) may be noticed.

Stage 3   The same symptoms of Stage 2 are still there but may be worse now. Problems with balance will now be noticed for the first time. At this stage, the person with Parkinson's is still independent.

Stage 4   The person with Parkinson's will now be getting more and more disabled and will need help with some or all activities of daily living.

Stage 5   At this stage the person is confined to a wheelchair or bed and needs total assistance.