Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

No tests exist to diagnose Parkinson's disease. Your doctor trained in nervous system conditions (neurologist) will diagnose Parkinson's disease based on your medical history, a review of your signs and symptoms, and a neurological and physical examination.

Your doctor may order tests to rule out other conditions that may be causing your symptoms.

In addition to your examination, your doctor may give you carbidopa-levodopa, a Parkinson's disease medication. Significant improvement with this medication will often confirm your diagnosis of Parkinson's disease. You must be given a sufficient dose to show the benefit, as low doses for a day or two aren't reliable. To assure an optimum response, the drug must be taken on an empty stomach at least an hour before meals.

Sometimes it takes time to diagnose Parkinson's disease. Doctors may recommend regular follow-up appointments with neurologists trained in movement disorders to evaluate your condition and symptoms over time and diagnose Parkinson's disease.

May. 28, 2014

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