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Parkinson's Disease

Confused

05/23/2007

Question:

My father was diagnosed with hip arthritis about 8 years ago and given medication, then 5 years ago he was diagnosed with Parkinson`s Disease because of the same stiffness in the hip that he had been diagnosed as arthritic for three years earlier. Now he has been diagnosed with arthritis of the spine and neck plus hip arthritis from another set of doctors. I am confused and so is he as to who to trust and what they are basing the diagnosis on. We know that the Orthopedist looked at X-rays and showed us his arthritis (hip, neck and spine) but the neurologist said that he doesn`t think that it has anything to do with his slowness of movement or stiffness and wants us to take his diagnosis. His General Practioner doesn`t know which one to believe either. His Urologist is also in the mix saying he has a swollen prostate and needs treatment for that. The only problem is that the meds all seem to contradict each other so what do we do. Just pick one and start giving drugs because thus far there seems to be little result for any of the drug treatment. It has all got us cofused and frustrated.

Answer:

There is no specific test to diagnose Parkinson's disease (PD), but this diagnosis is made clinically based on the history and examination. There are 4 cardinal features of PD which include tremor, slowness, stiffness, and postural instability. It often requires a physician who typically evaluates for this disease to make the diagnosis.

It is not uncommon for a patients with PD to also have arthritis and require treatment for both diseases. It is encouraged that all PD patients stay active and stretch all joints at least once a day. This becomes especially important for PD patients with arthritis since joint disease can worsen PD symptoms, and PD can exacerbate symptoms of arthritis.

Often, patients are prescribed multiple medications to help their various medical issues and symptoms. This can become confusing and frustrating when trying to keep them all straight. Making a list of all medications is usually helpful, especially when the reason for taking a medication is also listed next to each one. When prescribed multiple new medications at one time, it is recommended each one be started at least 7 days apart in order to help distinguish any beneficial or potential side effects.

In addition, if any problems are experienced after starting a new medication, a person should contact the prescribing doctor. Any concerns regarding medication interactions can be directed toward your primary care doctor, the prescribing physician or even a pharmacist.

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Response by:

Punit  Agrawal, DO Punit Agrawal, DO
Assistant Professor of Neurology
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University

Karen M Thomas, DO Karen M Thomas, DO
Formerly:
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University