- Parkinson’s disease is a chronic, degenerative neurological disorder that affects one in 100 people over age 60.
- It is generally impossible to determine what specifically caused an individual’s Parkinson’s disease.
- There is no objective test for Parkinson’s disease, so the rate of misdiagnosis can be relatively high.
- One million people in the United States, and more than five million worldwide, have Parkinson’s disease.
- Because the causes of Parkinson’s disease are unknown, there is no scientifically validated preventive course to reduce the risk of its onset.
- The cardinal symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are resting tremor, slowness of movement and rigidity. Many people also experience balance problems. Typically, symptoms begin on one side of the body and migrate over time to the other side.
- There is no objective test (such as a blood test, brain scan or EEG) to make a definitive diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. Instead, a doctor takes a careful medical history and performs a thorough neurological examination, looking in particular for two or more of the cardinal signs to be present.
- Because there is no definitive test for Parkinson’s disease, and because Parkinson’s disease symptoms are similar to those of other neurological conditions, the misdiagnosis rate remains significant. It is worthwhile to consider a second opinion, and to reach out to a neurologist with specific expertise in movement disorders.
November 7, 2012