Corporate Office- South Bend, IN

17187 State Road 23 South Bend, IN 46635 Phone: (574) 273-6000 Fax: (574) 247-8199 View Map & Get Directions

Elkhart, IN

1612 W. Lexington Ave. Elkhart, IN 46514 Phone: (574) 522-2273 Fax: (574) 522-4563 View Map & Get Directions

Plymouth, IN

1920 W. Lake Ave. Plymouth, IN 46563 Phone: (574) 941-4444 Fax: (574) 941-4440 View Map & Get Directions

Michigan City, IN

3219 South Franklin Street Michigan City, IN 46360 Phone: (219) 872-1000 Fax: (219) 879-1917 View Map & Get Directions

St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center, Medical Office Building

611 E. Douglas Road, Suite 124 Mishawaka, IN 46545 Phone: 574-247-8100 Fax: 574-855-2475 View Map & Get Directions

Health Issues

Parkinson's Disease Diagnosis

No definitive tests exist for Parkinson's disease, so it can be difficult to diagnose, especially in the early stages. And parkinsonism — the symptoms of Parkinson's disease — can be caused by many other types of problems. Examples include:

  • Other neurological disorders. Essential tremor, dementia with Lewy bodies, multiple system atrophy and progressive supranuclear palsy each feature some symptoms common to Parkinson's disease.
  • Drugs. Antipsychotic medications — such as chlorpromazine (Thorazine) and haloperidol (Haldol) — block dopamine, as do anti-nausea drugs like prochlorperazine (Compazine) or metoclopramide (Reglan). If you take any of these drugs, you may develop parkinsonism, although it is reversible when the drug is stopped.
  • Toxins. Exposure to carbon monoxide, cyanide or certain other toxins can produce symptoms similar to Parkinson's disease.
  • Head trauma. Both solitary head injuries and the repetitive variety of head trauma common in boxing have been linked to Parkinsonism, although risks are small.
  • Structural problems. Strokes or fluid buildup in the brain (hydrocephalus) may occasionally mimic Parkinson's disease.

A diagnosis of Parkinson's disease is based on your medical history and a neurological examination. As part of your medical history, your doctor will want to know about any medications you take and whether you have a family history of Parkinson's. The neurological examination includes an evaluation of your walking and coordination, as well as some simple hand tasks.

A diagnosis of Parkinson's is most likely if you have:

  • At least two of the three cardinal Parkinson's symptoms — tremor, slowing of motion and muscle rigidity
  • Onset of symptoms on only one side of the body
  • Tremor more pronounced at rest, for example, when your hands are resting in your lap
  • Strong response to levodopa, a Parkinson's drug