Diagnosis & Symptoms
There is no single test to diagnose PD and the diagnosis is made based on the presence of various disease symptoms and diagnosis tests in combination. Many symptoms of Parkinson’s are also found in other conditions, especially in early stages, making it difficult to have a conclusive diagnosis.
To qualify for a diagnosis, a person must experience at least two of the following four symptoms over a period of time. These include tremor (shaking), slow movement, stiffness and balance problems. Often, PD diagnosis will be made by a family physician followed by an additional opinion by a neurologist or movement disorder specialist.
There are over 40 symptoms of Parkinson’s and each person can experience them differently. The main motor symptoms of Parkinson’s are abnormal slowness of movement (bradykinesia), resting tremor (shaking) of the hands, arms, legs and face, rigidity (muscle stiffness) of limbs and trunk. Some people suffer from difficulty in walking and impaired balance.
Parkinson’s can also cause non-motor symptoms, which can occur any time, even before motor symptoms appear. These include cognitive impairment, depression, memory and sleep problems and impact the quality of life for people with PD and their families.
Symptoms worsen over time and seriously impact the patient’s and their families’ quality of life.