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Diagnosis

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Diagnosis

Parkinson’s disease is not diagnosed based on a specific test. Instead, a doctor can make a diagnosis based on the presence of two of the four major symptoms, along with some lab, blood and/or imaging tests to rule out other conditions. 

The first step towards reaching a conclusive diagnosis is making an appointment with your regular physician. Your doctor may then refer you to a specialist such as a neurologist or motor disorders specialist. Responding positively to the most common medication for Parkinson’s is another way to confirm a diagnosis and begin developing a treatment plan. A treatment plan is very important.

Because there is no test for Parkinson’s, it can be hard to diagnose, particularly in the early stages of the disease. An imaging scan called the dopamine transporter scan, also known as a (DAT) scan or DaTscan, was approved by the FDA in 2011. This scan helps doctors see the brain’s dopamine system. Because a loss of dopamine leads to Parkinson’s, this can help confirm a diagnosis. 

Current research is also attempting to find specific biomarkers to make early diagnosis possible.  The hope is that early identification for people who may develop Parkinson’s could lead to delaying the onset of symptoms.

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Diagnosis

Parkinson’s disease is not diagnosed based on a specific test. Instead, a doctor can make a diagnosis based on the presence of two of the four major symptoms, along with some lab, blood and/or imaging tests to rule out other conditions. 

Living with Parkinson's Disease

There is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, but it is possible to maintain quality of life. Living well with Parkinson’s means having a treatment plan to manage your symptoms. It also means making necessary lifestyle changes, and developing a support network, so you can continue to participate fully in life. 

Treatment

While there is no cure, many different treatment options exist to help address the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Each person’s individual treatment plan is based on a variety of different factors. These may include age, general health status, how far the symptoms have progressed, and how they respond to specific treatments. Medication, therapy, surgery and lifestyle changes can all be used to create an effective treatment plan.