What Is Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s disease is generally age related but not always. As we age, a number of different neurological issues can occur, many of which manifest with similar symptoms. Unfortunately, this can lead to misdiagnosing a health issue or lack of diagnosis entirely. Parkinson’s Disease is just one of these many diseases out there, and all though it is more common in the elderly, it can affect younger people too. Understanding the diagnosis process for Parkinson’s Disease is extremely important when trying to create a working treatment plan.
What Are The Symptoms Of Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s Disease is just one of many different motor system disorders. These diseases have been grouped together because they all occur when the brain is no longer producing the same amount of dopamine as it did when the person was younger. This results in symptoms such as trembling of the limbs, hands, feet as well as trembling within the face and jaw. Parkinson’s Disease can also cause an impairment to the balance and coordination. However, typically, one of the most notable symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease is the trembling, which can and will effect day to day activities as the disease progresses.
How Is Parkinson’s Disease Diagnosed?
At the beginning, a general practitioner may be the first person to deal with the Parkinson’s patient. The doctor will perform a physical examination, a basic neurologic examination and take a medical history from the patient. This could include basic tasks such as standing up, sitting down or walking, which can help the doctor determine the severity of the symptoms. Once the doctor deems it a neurological issue, it is highly likely that the patient will be referred to a specialist.
This referral is not necessarily for the benefit of an accurate diagnosis, but often because many patients do not believe or cannot accept a diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease right off the bat. It is also important to note that even after additional tests have been run, it will take time to achieve a diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease as the doctor will need to evaluate the symptoms as time goes on.
There is no single test that can confirm 100% without a doubt, the presence of Parkinson’s Disease. Instead, a specialist will perform a number of different tests including blood tests, electroencephalograms (EEGs,) MRIs, CAT scans and many, many more. However, it is important to note that people suffering from Parkinson’s Disease may have CAT scans and MRIs that appear entirely normal. This is because Parkinson’s Disease causes damage on a microscopic level which is not visible by an MRI or CAT scan.
Parkinson’s Disease itself is not a fatal disease, but it can make life extremely difficult for the patient. Furthermore, there is no cure, so treatment is aimed at relieving the symptoms and making the patient comfortable rather than working to ‘cure’ the disease.
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