Aging & Health A to Z
Diagnosis & Tests
Healthcare professionals usually diagnose Parkinson’s based on a person’s medical history and symptoms. Sometimes, people with Parkinson’s disease are diagnosed with other disorders that have similar symptoms, and vice versa.
Diagnosis can be complicated because some symptoms of early Parkinson’s disease (slowed movements, difficulty balancing, stooped over posture and muscle stiffness) are also similar to changes due to normal aging. But there are differences. The slowing of movement and the muscle stiffness accompanying Parkinson’s usually affect one side of the body at first—not both sides—as they do with normal aging. And resting tremor, the most common symptom of the disease, is not a part of normal aging.
To diagnose Parkinson’s disease, healthcare professionals will ask questions about the person’s health history and symptoms and do a physical exam, checking for tremor, bradykinesia, rigidity, postural instability and other symptoms.
Last Updated: March 2012
Posted: March 2012