No single test can provide a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease.
People living with Parkinson’s disease don't all experience the same symptoms. Also, some symptoms thought to be an indication of Parkinson’s disease are associated with other conditions. For example, stooped posture could be caused by osteoporosis.
Diagnosis is difficult at every stage of the disease, but particularly in the early stages. If your doctor thinks it's possible you might have Parkinson's disease, they will likely refer you to a neurologist, a specialist in the brain and nervous system.
A diagnosis will likely involve physical and neurological examinations, conducted over time to assess changes in your reflexes, coordination, muscle strength, and mental function. Your doctor might also see how you respond to medication.
You may need to have brain imaging tests to rule out symptoms that might be caused by other conditions. Such tests could include MRI and CT scans and possibly some other types of scans. Blood tests may also be done to exclude other illnesses.
Last reviewed: November 2016