Diagnosis of Parkinsons Disease

Diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease is not always easy to make, especially when a person gets older. However, if the diagnosis is made really early, the progression can be slowed down and quality of life can be improved. Though Parkinson’s disease has become rather common, there are no specific tests for Parkinson’s disease, which can lead to the development of the condition. As the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are extremely similar to those of other movement disorders, doctors may often experience a lot of difficulty in making a correct diagnosis.
A lot of individuals are often diagnosed incorrectly and therefore they do not get the right treatment in time. Often, individuals are inaccurately diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. It is therefore important to get more than one professional opinion. Doctors also often reevaluate their patients periodically to ensure that the loss of movement is not because of Parkinson’s disease.

The first step is to get an accurate medical and family history. The doctor would want to know whether anyone else in your family experienced Parkinson’s disease. The doctor would also want to know about all the medications you may be consuming and the toxins that you may be exposed to. Often the doctor wants to know if you have had any head trauma or injuries that may lead to the degeneration of the brain cells.

After having discussions with you and getting a detailed medical history, the doctor gives you a neurological examination meant to evaluate your control over your muscles. Your muscle coordination, gain and fine motor abilities are also evaluated.

Some tests may be given to you for measuring your mental capacity and evaluate your moods. Your daily activities and behaviors are recorded and evaluated as well. This helps to rule out any other disorders. If you are already on medication, the doctor may adjust your medications to a therapeutic level. Some lab tests may also be performed to rule out other movement related disorders that may resemble the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

An accurate diagnosis of the disease may be possible if more than two symptoms of Parkinson’s disease manifest together. The doctor may also be able to diagnose the disease immediately if the symptoms only affect one side of your body. 
Frequently asked questions
  1. Jay M. Gorell, Edward L. Peterson, Benjamin A. Rybicki, Christine Cole Johnson, Multiple risk factors for Parkinson's disease, Journal of the Neurological Sciences, Volume 217, Issue 2, 15 February 2004, Pages 169-174, ISSN 0022-510X, 10.1016/j.jns.2003.09.014.
  2. J. Pagonabarraga, Parkinson’s Disease: Definition, Diagnosis, and Management, In: Editors-in-Chief:  Katie Kompoliti and Leo Verhagen Metman, Editor(s)-in-Chief, Encyclopedia of Movement Disorders, Academic Press, Oxford, 2010, Pages 405-412, ISBN 9780123741059, 10.1016/B978-0-12-374105-9.00061-7.