How Is Parkinson's Disease Diagnosed?


Quick Answer

There is no definitive test for Parkinson's disease, and diagnosis is based on symptoms, the patient's age, physical examinations and neurological examinations, explains Mayo Clinic. Doctors may administer a relatively large dose of a Parkinson's disease medication to see if it is an effective treatment.

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Parkinson's disease shares symptoms with many other diseases, and tests such as MRI can help rule out these other conditions even if they do not show Parkinson's disease itself, states Mayo Clinic. Treatments once Parkinson's disease is diagnosed include medications such as levodopa and dopamine agonists, which both supply the effects of the neurotransmitter dopamine to the brain. Other medications, such as MAO-B inhibitors and COMT inhibitors, help keep the body from breaking down existing supplies of dopamine. Doctors may also use a technique known as deep brain stimulation, which uses electrodes implanted into the brain, to treat Parkinson's disease. There is no cure for Parkinson's disease.

Parkinson's disease is a degenerative brain disease that mostly affects movement, says Mayo Clinic. Symptoms usually progress slowly and may not be noticed at first. Common symptoms include tremors, speech changes, an expressionless face, rigid muscles and impaired posture. The tremors often start in the hands and are more pronounced when the hand is relaxed rather than in use.

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