A detailed neurological exam should be part of a standard physical exam
Parkinson's disease and to separate Parkinson's
disease from other conditions. Your family doctor or general practitioner can do this. Or you may
be referred to a neurologist, which is a doctor who specializes in disorders of the nervous
system (brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerves, and muscles).
During this exam, your doctor will observe your movement, coordination,
and balance. You may be asked to complete a few physical tasks, such as walking
up and down a hall or getting up from a chair. The doctor also will watch for
any rapid, repetitive movements, such as finger-tapping or tremor. Simple tests
may be used to evaluate your muscle strength and control, reflexes, sensation
(such as the ability to feel a pinprick or a light touch), and vision.
Parkinson's disease mostly affects older people but can also occur in younger adults. The symptoms are the result of the gradual degeneration of nerve cells in the portion of the midbrain that controls body movements. The first signs are likely to be barely noticeable -- a feeling of weakness or stiffness in one limb, or a fine trembling of one hand when it is at rest. Eventually, the shaking (tremor) worsens and spreads, muscles become stiffer, movements slow down, and balance and coordination...
The neurological exam also will include a brief assessment of your mental
ability and emotional condition. The doctor may ask you to repeat a series of
numbers or to answer simple questions about dates, places, and current events.
The doctor usually can judge your emotional condition during the exam by paying
attention to your actions and statements and by asking direct questions about
your mood and emotions.
The doctor will also listen to your heart
and lungs and may perform other routine examinations.
In this article
This information is produced and provided by the National
Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National
Institute via the Internet web site at http://
.gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
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