Parkinson’s disease – Diagnosis and Treatment

Parkinson's Management
Credit: Matthew Anderson via Flickr

This is the third article in this series of four informative articles about Parkinson’s disease.

The first article was Introduction, definition and Causes” of Parkinson’s disease.

The second article was “Signs and symptomsof Parkinson’s disease.


If someone is diagnosed with Parkinson’s there may be different reactions in different people. Emotions may range from utter hopelessness to anger and shock.

And, there will be a thousand questions seeking answers.

The major problem with Parkinson’s disease is that a diagnosis is usually late and done mostly when the disease has had a long time to settle in. By that time, it reaches an advanced stage.

Sometimes, unfortunately, it is too late to be adequately controlled.

There is no sure cure for Parkinson’s disease but there are certain steps, which can allow an afflicted person to manage the disease to a certain extent.

But, there are some aspects of this dreaded disease that can be managed. There are about 10 million people worldwide who suffer from PD and most have learnt to live with it.

But, to fight PD you must first understand it.


Even medical practitioners are of the opinion that a definitive and accurate diagnosis of PD is not possible, especially when it is not advanced, as the symptoms may not be clearly evident.

In fact, you sometime have to depend on the experience of a doctor to suspect and diagnose Parkinson’s disease.

But, a final diagnosis of PD has to be confirmed by a Movement Disorder Specialist who is a trained Neurologist with specialized training in assessing and treating PD.

For an accurate diagnosis, what is required is a chronological recording of the history of the patient and his examination which may prompt a diagnosis based solely on the experience of the physician coupled with the history as narrated by the patient.

  • Your facial expression is closely observed to see if you have any seriousness or a grave look,
  • Your arms are observed both at rest and when extended to detect tremors, if any,
  • You are asked to changed your postures like sitting down, getting up etc.
  • Your limbs and neck are checked for stiffness,
  • Your gait is observed while walking,
  • Your arms’ movement is observed for symmetry of movement and
  • The doctor will try to dislodge your position to observe the sharpness of your reflexes.

It is also necessary to ascertain whether you have an ailment which resembles PD. In some cases, the physician may start Levodopa (Dopamine level restorer) and confirm a diagnosis based on your body’s response.

But, if you want to confirm the diagnosis, you have to consult a Movement Disorder Specialist.

While research is on to develop some specific test for PD, the only option available now is specialized brain scanning which is prohibitively costly.


There are different opinion and sometimes different courses of action in treating patients with Parkinson’s Disease:

  • Symptomatic Therapy: Drugs are administered only to alleviate symptoms,
  • Levodopa is also very important to symptomatic therapy,
  • Anticholinergic drugs have an effect on PD. The balance between Dopamine and acetylcholine is corrected,
  • Amantadine improves rigidity and bradykinesia,
  • Deep Brain stimulation: is a neurosurgical treatment of the brain; it improves contralateral tremors,
  • Managing nutrition and medications: This system is a general one to maintain the quality of life and
  • Using assistive technologies: Using the services of occupational therapists, speech therapists, physical therapists.