General information

Parkinson's disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system.
It is predominantly characterised by problems with movement (motor symptoms). The three main three symptoms are tremor, rigidity and slowness of movement/bradykinesia. These are the most identifiable motor symptoms. Typical other symptoms include disorders of mood, behavior, thinking, sleeping and sensation (non-motor symptoms). Individual patients' symptoms may be quite dissimilar and progression of the disease is also distinctly individual.
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There are currently no blood or laboratory tests that have been proven to help in diagnosing Parkinson´s Disease. Therefore the diagnosis is based on medical history and a neurological examination. The disease can be difficult to diagnose accurately. The Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale is the primary clinical tool used to assist in diagnosis and determine severity of Parkinson´s Disease. A specialist doctor or neurologist will look for two or more of the main three symptoms (tremor, rigidity and slowness of movement/bradykinesia) and the way in which these symptoms have developed.
Early signs and symptoms of Parkinson´s Disease may sometimes be dismissed as the effects of normal aging. The doctor may need to observe the person for some time until it is apparent that the symptoms are consistently present.
Although the brain is affected, a brain scan is not usually able to positively confirm a diagnosis of Parkinson's Disease. Some scans can be used to eliminate other disorders that cause similar symptoms, but a confirmed diagnosis of Parkinson´s Disease relies on observation of symptoms and a physical examination.
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Parkinson's Disease is a chronic disorder that requires broad-based management including patient and family education, support group services, general wellness maintenance, physiotherapy, exercise, and nutrition. There is no single, optimal treatment because the condition affects each individual differently. At present, there is no cure for Parkinson´s Disease, but medications or surgery can provide relief from the symptoms.
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Further information and patient organisations

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