The spotlight has been thrown onto Parkinson’s Disease since it was announced last Sunday during the state funeral of the late Lee Kuan Yew that the late leader had struggled with disease 3 years ago. The disease afflicted him towards the end of his life, severely restricting his mobility and plaguing him with bouts of hiccups.
The disease’s symptoms include uncontrollable shaking of the limbs, stiffness and difficulty walking.
Severity is usually classified into 5 stages, with stage 1 being the mildest form where daily activities are unaffected by symptoms and stage 5 being the most severe. In stage 3, loss of balance and falls are most common, but by stage 4 and 5, patients may completely lose their independence. They may have to rely on walkers, wheelchairs or be unable to live by themselves.
Patients may also have difficulty swallowing, which affects 45 to 95% of patients. Swallowing difficulties could result in problems like pneumonia and malnutrition.
There is no cure for Parkinson’s, but the disease can be managed through medication and lifestyle changes, such as exercise.