Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Parkinson's Disease Health Center

Font Size

Parkinson's Disease - Exams and Tests

A diagnosis of Parkinson's disease is based on your medical history and a thorough neurological exam.

Your doctor also may check your sense of smell.

Recommended Related to Parkinson's

Understanding Parkinson's Disease -- Symptoms

Parkinson's disease is a movement disorder that progresses slowly. Some people will first notice a sense of weakness, difficulty walking, and stiff muscles. Others may notice a tremor of the head or hands. Parkinson's is a progressive disorder and the symptoms gradually worsen. The general symptoms of Parkinson's disease include: Slowness of voluntary movements, especially in the initiation of such movements as walking or rolling over in bed. Decreased facial expression, monotonous speech,...

Read the Understanding Parkinson's Disease -- Symptoms article > >

In some cases, your doctor will have you try a medicine for Parkinson's disease. If that medicine helps your symptoms, it may help the doctor find out if you have the disease.

Tests

There are no lab tests that can diagnose Parkinson's.

But if your doctor isn't sure you have Parkinson's, he or she may do certain tests to see if you have another condition with similar symptoms.

For instance, blood tests may be done to check for abnormal thyroid hormone levels or liver damage. An imaging test (such as a CT scan or an MRI) may be used to check for signs of a stroke or brain tumor.

Another type of imaging test, called PET, sometimes may detect low levels of dopamine in the brain, a key feature of Parkinson's. But PET scanning isn't commonly used to evaluate Parkinson's because it's very expensive, not available in many hospitals, and only used experimentally.

1

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: December 05, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

Parkinsons disease illustration
Slideshow
Parkinsons Disease Symptoms
Article
 
Preventing Falls
Article
caregiver
Article
 
Parkinsons Disease Medications
Article
Questions Doctor Parkinsons
Article
 
Eating Right
Article
Parkinsons Exercise
Article
 
Early Parkinsons Surgery
VIDEO
Pets Improve Your Health
SLIDESHOW
 
Parkinsons Daily
Article
Parkinsons Dance
VIDEO
 

WebMD Special Sections