Patient: I have a family history of Parkinson disease. I have started noticing muscles in my face are starting to act strangely. The muscles above my lips on either side of my face are always stiff. It always feel like I have been smiling too long, though I haven’t. I constantly stretch out my face to try and stop the spasms even subconsciously. I have increasing tremors in my arms and legs. This is most noticeable when I am at rest. I have also been hospitalized twice for a condition known as distonia and no one seems to know why. The concern I have is I am only 36 years old and based on my knowledge of diagnosing Parkinson, there is really no test that can be done that tells you you have it or you don’t. I don’t want to scare my family by asking too many questions about it.
Doctor: Parkinson’s disease is a deterioration process of certain areas of the brain that affect involuntary movements, balance nce and muscle control. The most common symptoms are: tremor (shaking or trembling) of the hands, arms, jaw and face that worsens under stress and improves during rest or sleep; stiffness of the trunk and limbs; slowness of movements and loss of balance and coordination. The average onset is about 60 years old, but it can begin in some cases at earlier ages. About 5%-10% of affected people have a genetic tendency with a positive family history, but there other causes like free radicals and certain drugs involved too. Diagnosis of Parkinson’s can be difficult, because , as you said, there are no specific blood tests or studies available to make an accurate and definitive diagnosis. For this reason if you feel like you are experiencing Parkinson’s symptoms get an evaluation by a Neurologist specialized in movement disorders so you may benefit of an early treatment.