If you think you may have Parkinson’s Disease, or know someone who has, it is important to seek medical help as soon as possible. It can be worrying but not seeking the right kind of help can slow down the diagnosis process, or may find it is a different health issue you need help with. A Parkinson’s Disease diagnosis is the first step in getting the right treatment as soon as possible and slowing the impact of the disease.

How is Parkinson’s Disease Diagnosed

Parkinson’s UK explain that evidence currently shows that Parkinson’s is a disease which develops slowly, with symptoms coming over time. Symptoms may not become obvious for many years after the disease begins and this is why looking for what is known as Parkinsonism is key.

Parkinsonism is the official term used to describe a range of symptoms which are found in Parkinson’s Disease but may also appear in other conditions. Most people who are found to have any form of parkinsonism are usually diagnosed with idiopathic Parkinson’s disease. This is the most common form of the disease and it’s called this because the cause is unknown. Other less common forms of parkinsonism include vascular Parkinson’s and progressive supranuclear palsy.

Investigating Symptoms for Parkinson’s Disease Diagnosis

Parkinson’s will only be diagnosed after full consultation with a specialist neurologist. Your neurologist will take a full medical history and examine you fully. They may ask for a history of your symptoms or if anything has got progressively worse or changed. Some people begin to keep a diary of their symptoms so doctors can spot any patterns degeneration.

The symptoms of Parkinson’s do differ from person to person. Typical symptoms include:

  • Slowed movement (bradykinesia)
  • Difficulty turning in bed
  • Tremors
  • Fatigue
  • A tendency for small handwriting

There are also some early signs and symptoms of the disease including:

  • Depression and anxiety
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Reduced or complete loss of sense of smell
  • Constipation
  • Unusual tiredness

It is difficult for patients to recognise some of these early symptoms as they can be indicative of so many other conditions but if any of them is occurring out of the blue, it is worth visiting your doctor.

Your consultant neurologist will examine all patients for the most common signs of Parkinson’s which may involve:

  • Testing your writing or drawing to check the size of the writing or whether it fades away
  • Testing your walk to see if the natural swing of your arm differs as well as your stride length or speed
  • Speech testing to see if your voice lacks volume or is very soft

These are just some of the tests which help towards Parkinson’s Disease diagnosis. Some patients trial Parkinson’s drugs and treatment to see if this helps as part of the diagnosis process. Your response to the drugs may be key in a full diagnosis.

Visiting a Private Neurologist for Parkinson’s Disease

Dr Paviour specialises in helping patients with a range of neurological disorders. He can support patients through the whole process from initial consultation to diagnosis to planning and managing their treatment. To arrange an appointment with Dr Paviour you can contact him via his secretaries on gayle.goodwin@phf.uk.com and amy.troke@phf.uk.com or via telephone on: 020 7042 1850.