How is Parkinson Disease Diagnosed?

By Dr. Dean P. Sutherland

Diagnosis Can Be Difficult

Sometimes, the diagnosis of PD is obvious, but quite often the process of making a Parkinson Disease diagnosis can be difficult. Unless there is a strong family history, there is no X-ray, scan or blood test that can confirm PD with the exception of the powerful DATscan (which we can order for you, if you wish). A physician arrives at the diagnosis only after a thorough examination. Blood tests and brain scans known as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be performed to rule out other conditions that have similar symptoms.

Early Diagnosis is Key

It is not unusual to have characteristics of PD and, in fact, have something else, such as Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus, Stroke, Depression, Essential Tremor, or even a drug-induced Parkinsonism. People suspected of having PD should seek the care of a neurologist, especially one who specializes in Parkinson Disease. We strongly believe that early diagnosis and early intervention is incredibly important for maximizing long-term benefit.