How is Parkinson’s diagnosed?

Finding out if you have Parkinson’s disease can be a lengthy and emotionally distressing process. You likely have many questions running through your mind. How do I know if I have Parkinson’s? What will happen after my diagnosis? Will I have to change my life to accommodate the condition?

We know through our experience of supporting thousands of people with Parkinson’s, that the anticipation of a diagnosis is a worrying and stressful time for many families. We have been trusted by families up and down the country to care for their loved ones and ensure that they can continue to live happy and fulfilled lives in their own homes even after a Parkinson’s diagnosis.

Here you can learn more about how a Parkinson’s diagnosis is made and the specialist Parkinson’s care at home that is available.

What is Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder that affects the nervous system and the parts of the body controlled by the nerves. Parkinson’s occurs when brain cells do not work properly and the brain’s ability to produce a chemical called dopamine is dramatically reduced.

Parkinson’s causes unintended or uncontrollable movements, such as shaking, stiffness, and difficulty with balance and coordination.

1 in 37 people alive today in the UK will be diagnosed with Parkinson’s in their lifetime. It affects adults as young as 40 years old and those in later life. Men are slightly more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than women.

Although the exact cause of Parkinson’s is unknown, it is currently believed that Parkinson’s is the result of genetic and environmental factors.

Early Warning Signs of Parkinson’s

The signs and symptoms of Parkinson’s can be different for everyone. At first, symptoms may be mild and go unnoticed. As the disease progresses, these symptoms begin to impact everyday life.

Understanding these early warning signs can be key to obtaining a Parkinson’s diagnosis. The signs and symptoms of Parkinson’s may include:

  • A tremor or rhythmic shaking that often begins in a limb, hand or finger
  • Slowed movement
  • Rigid muscles
  • Impaired posture and balance
  • Loss of smell
  • Constipation
  • Anxiety or depression

If you notice any of these symptoms or you are concerned that you may have Parkinson’s, be sure to discuss this with your GP. Even if you do not have Parkinson’s your GP can help you rule out other causes for your symptoms.

How is Parkinson’s Diagnosed?

No one test can conclusively diagnose Parkinson’s disease. If you are experiencing health concerns and you suspect Parkinson’s, your first step should be to discuss your symptoms with your GP.

If your GP suspects Parkinson’s disease, you’ll be referred to a specialist. In order to arrive at a diagnosis, a specialist will consider your symptoms, medical history and the results of a detailed physical examination.

A diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease is likely if you have at least 2 of the 3 following symptoms:

  • shaking or tremor in a part of your body that usually only occurs at rest
  • slowness of movement
  • muscle stiffness

How do doctors test for Parkinson’s?

There is no lab or imaging test that is definitive for diagnosing Parkinson’s disease. Your healthcare provider may suggest a specific Single-photon Emission Computerised Tomography (SPECT) scan, also known as a Dopamine Transporter (DaT) scan. The results of a DaTscan can’t show that you have Parkinson’s, but they can help your doctor confirm a diagnosis or rule out conditions that mimic Parkinson’s disease.

Specialist Support After a Parkinson’s Diagnosis

At Prestige Nursing & Care, we believe that everyone living with Parkinson’s can lead a happy, fulfilled and healthy life with the proper support tailored to their needs.

We know through our experience of supporting thousands of people and their families, that when faced with the prospect of needing long-term Parkinson’s care most people would prefer to stay in the safety, comfort and familiarity of their treasured home and not endure the disruption caused by a move away.

The specialist Parkinson’s home care we provide will be guided by you and tailored to your needs, giving you choice over how you live your life and the support you want. Our carers are expertly trained to understand Parkinson’s disease and how it progresses. They will adopt a flexible approach to caring for you that recognises the fluctuating nature of the symptoms Parkinson’s presents.

Our carers will support you in maintaining a balanced and nutritious diet and will encourage and support you to complete your exercise regime working alongside your physiotherapist.

Unlike a home care agency, we provide a fully managed and regulated care at home service, which means our clients and their families can be reassured that the care and support we provide those living with Parkinson’s is of the very highest quality.
We are here to take your call and will provide impartial support and guidance – contact our friendly care experts today to discuss your Parkinson’s care and support needs.

We are here to take your call and will provide impartial support and guidance – contact our friendly care experts today to discuss your care needs.

0808 239 1525


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