Diagnosis: What to expect from your first neurologist visit
Diagnosing Parkinson’s may be challenging at first as the symptoms are initially mild. There is no specific test that diagnoses the illness.
A neurologist, a doctor who specializes in nervous system conditions, will evaluate your case. If it is early in the process, a follow-up appointment may confirm worsening symptoms.
The neurologist will ask questions like:
- How long ago did you first experience symptoms?
- Are there any associated symptoms?
- Are these symptoms constant, or do they come and go?
- Where do you experience the symptoms?
- What makes the symptoms better?
- What makes your symptoms worse?
They will base their diagnosis on your medical history, signs, symptoms, and a neurological and physical exam. The neurological exam will cover mental status, balance, motor function, and a sensory exam. This will cover items like:
- Pushing and pulling against the provider’s hands with arms and legs
- Moving from seated position to standing and walking
- Standing with closed eyes and being pushed to one side or the other.
- Passive and active range of motion (ROM)
- Discussing person, place, and time (who you are, where you are, and when it is)
- Observation for speech and clarity
- Assessing sensation with dull needles, tuning forks, alcohol swabs, and cotton balls
Other tests may be ordered, such as blood work or imaging like an MRI. However, instead of diagnosing Parkinson’s, these tests rule out other conditions that may be causing these symptoms.
In rare cases, you may receive a dopamine transporter scan (DaTscan) to support the suspicion of Parkinson’s.
Extract from original article by Pacific Medical Training.
See full article on Parkinson’s symptoms, diagnosis, and treatments here.