Parkinson's Disease Diagnosis
2 AnswersTypically, Parkinson's disease (PD) progresses very slowly over several years. However, the rate of severity can be variable, as well as the long-term outcomes. For example, some people can survive free of dementia or nursing home placement, while others cannot. We have no established method of predicting the outcomes of people with PD, or their rates of decline. We have no established methods of slowing the rate of progression or preventing unwanted outcomes. To the extent that our DNA is our destiny, we hope to discover DNA fingerprints from blood samples that will predict outcomes and the rates of progression or the responses to therapy. Then, we can target new therapies against these genetic (or molecular) factors, with hopes of cheating destiny.
1 AnswerDiscovery Health answered
Doctors can use two scales to help them gauge the severity of Parkinson's disease. They are the Hoehn and Yahr Staging Scale and Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale.
The Hoehn and Yahr scale describes the severity of Parkinson's symptoms in five stages:
- Stage 1 - In this stage, symptoms are on just one side of the body
- Stage 2 - As the disease progresses, there are symptoms on both sides of the body, but balance is not yet impaired.
- Stage 3 - In the third stage, balance impairment and disability has begun.
- Stage 4 - In stage four, the disability is severe, but the person still can stand and walk without help.
- Stage 5 - In the final stage, the person cannot walk or stand, and must remain in bed, or a wheelchair.
The Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale track functions a variety of categories, including:
- Depression, intellectual impairment, motivation
- Activities of daily living including swallowing, speech, cutting food, dressing, hygiene, walking and handwriting
- Motor skills including facial expression, tremor, posture, walk, speech and rigidity
Each area is divided into functions and each function is rated on 0 to 4 scale, with 0 being normal and 4 representing significant problems. There is a total of 199 possible points, with 0 meaning no disability and 199 being total disability.
6 AnswersHonor Society of Nursing (STTI) answered
Parkinson's can be difficult to diagnose because there is no test to provide a clear answer. Often doctors base diagnosis off a neurological exam and your family and medical history. Going over your history can help rule out other reasons you may be experiencing Parkinson's-like symptoms. Other disorders, medication, toxins, head traumas, or strokes could produce similar symptoms, so ruling those out is important. Then a doctor will likely ask you to walk around so they can examine your coordination.
Beyond that, diagnosis is dependent on your symptoms. A doctor will look for at least two of the common symptoms. Those symptoms should occur either only on one side of your body, or more pronounced on one side. Tremors should worsen when the body is rest. Finally, you may be placed on a medication (levodopa) to see how your body reacts. If you see dramatic results, Parkinson's is likely the cause.Helpful? 1 person found this helpful.