How is Parkinson disease diagnosed?

There is no specific brain scan or laboratory test available to confirm the diagnosis of PD.  After a detailed physical examination and medical history are taken, a doctor may make a diagnosis of PD.  Other tests may be done to rule out other conditions which may resemble PD.  A movement disorders neurologist has the most experience in diagnosing PD, but many people are diagnosed and treated well by family doctors or other neurologists.

Is there a cure?

At the present time there is no known cure.

Is PD a genetic disease?

A genetic cause of PD appears in only a very small number of cases, approximately 5%.  While it may appear to run in families, researchers are looking at environmental factors shared by the family or community in addition to examining potential genetic links. 

Several genetic markers (LRKK2, PARKIN, etc) have been associated with PD but having the marker does not mean a person will get PD.  The vast majority of cases of Parkinson disease are from unknown causes.

Is PD contagious?

Parkinson disease is not contagious.  A person cannot “catch” PD and there is no need to worry about being in close contact with someone who has it.

How can Parkinson Alberta help me or my loved one?

Parkinson Alberta is the only Alberta-based organization dedicated to supporting Albertans affected by Parkinson disease through support services, programming, education and the contribution of funds for research. 

We offer:

  • Information on all aspects of PD for people with Parkinson’s, families, care partners, employers and the public
  • One-on-one and group supportive counselling including in our offices, over the phone and via home visits
  • Support groups, and a variety movement, arts, education and social programs at sites across the province
  • A toll-free PD Helpline that quickly links people to information and resources
  • Access to resources including books, printed materials and dvds 

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