How is Parkinson’s Diagnosed?
Thanks to technology and modern age science we are able, with the machines built, to diagnose almost any disease and might even cure it. Diagnoses are an important part of medical examination for without the proper tools and facilities to analyze and tell what a patient has or suffers from, then the medication prescribed won’t do much good. That’s why these inventions are helping mankind’s’s health health in many ways..
As the world falls and nature crumbles down, technology rises to the occasion to save humankind and mother nature.
It seems to us that technology and science have us covered in many ways, and in some circumstances keep us safe and secure. Some newly made inventions are able to analyze every corner of the body to come up with a proper diagnosis for the patient’s condition. This is where the real question lies. Can we use these machines to diagnose Parkinson’s syndrome? And how is Parkinson’s Syndrome diagnosed?
Let’s just start with a few brief explanations on what is Parkinson’s Syndrome.
According to The Michael J. Fox Foundation:
Parkinson’s Syndrome is a brain disorder that leads the person to experience shaking in most parts of the body, stiffness when trying to get up or move, and difficulty with walking, balance, and coordination. It is also called “movement disorder” knowing that it causes serious difficulties while moving. Parkinson’s Syndrome is considered a lifelong and progressive condition meaning the symptoms and side effects will get worse slowly over time.
It is also known that Parkinson’s Disorder can be regularly found in old people ranging from 50 years to older, which is why this disorder is considered an old people’s condition. But technically that’s not true,, for some conditions have been also also found at young ages like 40 and younger. Furthermore, although both genders are affected, studies have shown that men have a 50% higher chance than women of contracting the disease.although both genders are affected, studies have shown that men have a 50% higher chance than women of contracting the disease.
Symptoms and Causes of Parkinson’s:
What you need to know is that these symptoms vary from a person to another, for some people might experience all these symptoms while others will only experience one or two of the below:
● Resting tremor: This is a shaking and constant uncontrollable tremor in a person’s hand that most likely occurs when his/her hand is resting. For example, on the side of your hips when they’re standing up or on their lap.
● Slow Movements: This is when a person experiences slow movement while walking or even when doing simple tasks. This symptomsymptom can only be noticed by the person’s doctor or from his/her friends and family around them because it can’t be observed from the person’s point of view..
● Muscle Stiffness: Is when a person experiences difficulty in movement while standing, walking, and other motor-related activities. This symptom can also be determined by a doctor after conducting some physical tests to make sure you have these muscle stiffnesses.
● Other uncommon symptoms: Difficulty in balance and coordination - constipation – low blood pressure – urine problems – sleep problems – depression.
What causes Parkinson’s Syndrome, on the other hand, isn’t quite determined yet.. SomeSome researchers say that it has something to do with the dying nerve cells that are responsible for producing dopamine to the brain. Unfortunately, they can’t detect why these cells are dying in the first place. Other theories indicate that it might be related to genetic mutation by exposure to toxins and other non-natural products. Regrettably, it’s still not definitivedefinitive for the vast majority of people with Parkinson’s since it since it does not directly relate to a single genetic mutation.
How is Parkinson’s Diagnosed?
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine:
There aren’t any blood tests or brain scanners that can detect or diagnose whether a person has Parkinson’s or not. What any medical examiner would advise you to do, is consult a neurological doctor that can run some clinical tests to help determine if you have Parkinson’s or at least to rule out similar conditions. It’s also known that without the right tests and mechanisms to help determine Parkinson’s syndrome, it makes it even more difficult to diagnose a person with the early stages of the disorder.
Despite all the downsides and setbacks, doctors still use these procedures to help with their Parkinson’s diagnoses:
- Direct Symptom Examination: The top and most effective way to indicate if a person has Parkinson’s Syndrome is to identify the major symptoms that occur to a person, especially resting tremors and slow movement disorders. Your neurological doctor will run clinical tests to try and determine if these symptoms are positive for Parkinson’s Syndrome
- Ruling out other possibilities: What your doctor might also refer to, for a more efficient diagnosis, are some simple blood tests or other lab-related tests just to help rule out other kinds of related disorders that might mimic Parkinson’s Symptoms.
- Specific scan tests: Your doctor might also suggest taking some specific scan tests like the single-photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT) scan called a dopamine transporter scan (DaTscan) according to Mayo Clinic. As we have explained before that some scientists and researchers believe that the reason behind the cause of Parkinson’s is the death of nerve cells that control the production of dopamine in the brain, which makes this scanner helpful for diagnoses.
- MRI tests and other examinations: Image testing, such as MRI scans and PET scans, can really help rule out other disorders similar to Parkinson’s. Your doctor may also give you carbidopa-levodopa (Rytary, Sinemet, others), a Parkinson's Syndrome medication which will indicate if you have Parkinson’s from the results (if there’s significant improvement then it’s you most likely have Parkinson’s Syndrome)
Although these tests and procedures might help in diagnosing Parkinson’s or at least assist in ruling out other potential disorders, these steps aren’t 100% accurate in making a final diagnosis of Parkinson’s Syndrome.
Conditions and Conditions that Mimic Parkinson’s Syndrome:
It’s sometimes possible that some people get misdiagnosed with Parkinson’s, knowing that there are a few conditions out there that have similar symptoms and causes.
Here are a few conditions that might be mistaken for Parkinson’s Syndrome (According to Parkinson’s Foundation):
- Essential Tremor: This is very commonly mistaken for Parkinson’s, for hand tremors are very similar for the ones seen in Parkinson’s. But what is different is that essential tremor also affects the head, where people with this condition uncontrollably nod their heads in a yes or no formation. ET also affects your vocal cords, where patients experience shakiness in their voice.
- Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus: It’s a condition where the person experiences difficulty walking, slowed thinking, and loss of bladder control because of the fluid inside of the brain that’s not being drained properly. Although the symptoms are similar to slow movement in Parkinson’s, this condition can be easily determined with specialized brain scans, lumbar puncture (spinal tap), and a physical examination.
- Multiple System Atrophy: This is a condition that resembles Parkinson’s but with additional symptoms. These symptoms might include dysfunction and incoordination (ataxia) in the autonomic nervous system that may lead to changes in blood pressure and bladder control.
- Dementia with Lewy Bodies: This is a progressive condition that affects the protein alpha-synuclein, having it build-up in multiple areas of the brain. The first thing that happens is a disruption in the brain that will lead to problems with memory, thinking, and hallucination. While other Parkinson’s symptoms occur afterward, it’s easy to diagnose this one early on. In Parkinson’s, memory dysfunctions don’t happen until later in person’s life.
Parkinson’s Syndrome Solutions:There’s no known cure for Parkinson’s Syndrome, but these steps and remedy treatments will help in easing the pain and learning to adapt to the disorder:
● Medication can help ease some of the symptoms like muscle stiffness.
● Seeing a physical therapist might also help in adapting to your condition.
● Finally, there has been a glove developed that is considered an outstanding solution for your Essential Tremor or Parkinson’s Syndrome. It’s the Essential Tremor glove from Steadiwear, which is a smart fluid that stiffens & works together with a counter-weight that moves in the opposite direction of your tremor. Learn more about it here https://steadiwear.com/.
Have hope and stay positive because technology and science haven’t given up on you. Keep your head up high and learn to live life to the fullest while breaking through all these obstacles in your path.