There is no specific test to diagnose Parkinson’s disease. Doctors are able to diagnose a person with Parkinson’s disease by ruling out other conditions. To diagnose Parkinson’s disease, a doctor will ask about the patient’s medical history, conduct a physical exam, and run various diagnostic tests. These tests include DaTSCAN, MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging), and CT scan (Computer Tomography).
Another way to test for Parkinson’s disease is by drug therapy. A doctor will give a patient medication that is used to treat Parkinson’s disease. If the symptoms (such as tremor and rigidity) go away, the doctor can then diagnosis that patient with Parkinson’s disease. If the symptoms do not go away, then the patient most likely has a different illness.
Additional resources that provide more information on how Parkinson’s disease is diagnosed:
- Parkinson’s Disease: Diagnosis (University of California San Francisco Medical Center)
- Tests and Diagnosis (Mayo Clinic)
- Diagnosis (Parkinson’s Disease Foundation)
- How does your Doctor Make a PD Diagnosis? (National Parkinson Foundation)
- Physical Examination (National Parkinson Foundation)
- DaTSCAN (National Parkinson Foundation)