How Is Parkinson’s Disease Diagnosed?




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So what exactly do behind the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease? 

Parkinson's Disease Diagnosed

The diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease is not run under a lab test; there are no blood tests for it. There are no specific tests as symptoms can vary from patient to patient, and there are chances of a misdiagnosis.

However, doctors usually diagnose it by looking at a person’s medical history or examining his neurological condition. 

Here is a related article that might interest you on What Is Parkinson’s Disease Life Expectancy?

We have provided you with several Diagnostic techniques that the patient might go through if he suffers from Parkinson’s disease.

How Is Parkinson’s Disease Diagnosed? Early Diagnosis 

An early physical diagnosis can be seen by observing common motor symptoms such as slow muscle movements, rigidity, tremors, and body ache. It is normal for a person not to show any facial expressions when he is suffering from this disease. A lack of blinking can be seen as well. 

Moreover, such a patient has a rigid posture and an imbalanced gait. The patient also might feel numbness, and pain, or suffer from muscle fatigue. 

Recognition of sound and difficulty in comprehension and handwriting are also common symptoms. Along with that, patients also suffer from psychological depression and anxiety.

  • Medical History:

The first thing that is involved in the diagnosis of this disease is the patient’s medical history. All the past symptoms of medical problems and medications prescribed in use are considered. 

Neurological examination and history are also studied thoroughly, and recommendations are made following it. Usually, doctors record patients’ conditions on a unified Parkinson’s disease rating scale. This is a standardized scale used worldwide to assess the presence of Parkinson’s disease.

Referring To A Specialist:

When a general physician recognizes the condition, he might need to refer the patient to a specialist might be a Neurologist or a geriatrician. 

The specialist usually asks patients to write or draw on a piece of paper, stand straight and firm, walk properly, or speak in a clear, loud voice. In some cases, the sense of smell is also tested as it is a part of the early symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. He might also examine the patient’s facial expressions and stiffness in the arms or torso. 

For the confirmation of the patient’s diagnosis, there are chances that the doctor may run other blood tests to streamline the patient’s disease. They are conducted only to rule out other diseases.


Since the primary root cause of Parkinson’s disease is its functioning in the brain, scanning is conducted to see the anatomy and functioning of the nervous system. 

When we particularly talk about the scanning method, we can say, it’s nice to differentiate between Parkinson’s disease or some other medical condition

Furthermore, different types of scans can be done to confirm the disease, such as computerized tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, positron emission tomography, and DatSCAN. Each of them is listed below.

CT scan

Computerized tomography can involve the emission of X-rays that are passed through the body to take pictures of the brain. These are bombarded in different directions to see all the views and parts of the brain. 

If there are any lumps, nerve structures, or tumors in the brain, they might rule out Parkinson’s disease.


An MRI is a technique that uses magnetic charges instead of X-rays to take images of the brain and other body parts. 

It helps determine whether the respective patient is suffering from Parkinson’s disease. Or if there are chances that the patient might be suffering from other conditions that might look like Parkinson’s.


This specialized scan is particularly used to determine the presence of dopamine. It is important to know that it checks the level of dopamine in the brain, and detects the cells that are producing it. 

A radioactive drug is injected, and then the reaction is analyzed through a Single Photon Emission Computed tomography scanner. The drug detects the presence of dopaminergic neurons. If they are at a loss, then the patient might be suffering from Parkinson’s. 

Moreover, it also distinguishes the presence of multiple system atrophy, progressive Supranuclear palsy, and essential tremor; these might or look similar in symptoms to Parkinson’s; therefore, this test necessarily distinguishes the root cause underlying them. 

The DeTSCAN might have aftereffects such as nausea, dry mouth, dizziness, hypersensitivity, or headache.

PET scan

Positron Emission Tomography is particularly an imaging technique used in diagnosing Parkinson’s; however, it is mainly used for research purposes and is not cost-efficient. It helps reveal the biochemical and metabolic functions of different organs and tissues. 

The tracer is injected into the body to tax his metabolic level, a biochemical activity that positions where the disease might be occurring. People who go to this test might experience exposure to radiation or get allergies.

Response To Medication

Another method used to discover Parkinson’s disease in a patient is administering medicines prescribed for Parkinson’s. If there is a positive response to the patient’s condition, then it is considered that he might be suffering from Parkinson’s.

However, if there is no result found or the condition stays the same, then the patient might not be suffering from Parkinson’s.

Another post that will interest you is about the How To Prevent Parkinson’s Disease?


Though multiple tests can help determine Parkinson’s disease, they are still under research, and scientists are evaluating and finding out more measures for the prevention and cure of this disease.

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