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Parkinson’s Related Diseases & Disorders

Other disease may cause symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease. The term Parkinsonism is used to indicate a patient has symptoms similar to Parkinson’s. Approximately 15% of Parkinsonism is due to diseases other than Parkinson’s disease.

Diagnosing Parkinson Related Diseases

Early in the disease process it may be difficult to distinguish between Parkinson’s disease and Parkinson-like diseases. Frequently the correct diagnosis can only be made after further symptoms develop and the physician is able to monitor the course of the disease. The development of additional symptoms and the subsequent course of the disease generally points to the correct diagnosis.

Parkinsonism Diseases

There is no cure or known cause for the following Parkinson-like diseases.

Parkinsonism other than PD should be considered particularly in patients with:

  • Poor response to dopamine
  • Early loss of balance
  • Prominent intellectual changes - dementia
  • Rapid onset or progression
  • Rapid decrease in blood pressure resulting in dizziness when standing up
  • Urinary and bowel incontinence
  • Little or no tremor

Supranuclear Palsy (PSP)

  • PSP is one of the more common forms of Parkinsonism.
  • Symptoms usually begin after age 50 and progress more rapidly than PD.
  • Symptoms may include balance difficulties, sudden falls, an impaired ability to perform certain voluntary eye movements and visual disturbances.
  • Individuals may experience slurred speech, swallowing difficulties and personality changes.
  • Dementia develops later in the disease.
  • Parkinson’s medications areoften tried and may provide some benefit.
  • Speech and physical therapy are important for the management of PSP.

Learn more about PSP

Multiple System Atrophy (MSA)

  • MSA is a collective term for several rare disorders in which multiple systems in the body deteriorate.
  • The mean age of onset is in the mid-50s.
  • Symptoms may include lack of coordination, poor balance, abnormal autonomic function, slow movement (Bradykinesia) and rigidity.
  • Patients respond poorly to PD medications.

Learn more about MSA

Lewy Bodies Disease (LBD) or Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB)

  • DLB is a neurodegenerative disorder that results in progressive and fluctuating cognitive changes and functional deterioration.
  • Symptoms include early dementia, hallucinations, poor attention span and problem solving skills, poor problem solving skills, and Parkinsonism.
  • There are no known therapies to stop or slow the progression of DLB
  • Levodopa can make the hallucinations worse.
  • Many people with LBD enjoy significant improvement of their symptoms with a comprehensive approach to treatment, and some can have remarkably little change from year to year.
  • Some people with LBD are extremely sensitive or may react negatively to certain medications used to treat Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s in addition.

Read FAQs about LBD

Corticobasal Degeneration (CBD)

  • CBD is the least common of the atypical causes of Parkinsonism.
  • CBD develops after age 60 and progresses more rapidly than PD.
  • Initial symptoms include slow movement, rigidity, muscle contractions in the limbs, postural instability, and disturbances of language.
  • CBD is a clinical diagnosis.
  • There is no specific treatment for CBD.
  • Supportive treatment such as botulinum toxin (Botox) for dystonia.antidepressants, speech and physical therapy may be helpful.
  • Common PD medications such as levadopa seldom help.

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