There are no lab tests to definitively diagnose Parkinson's disease. Your doctor will ask about your medical history and do a thorough physical exam.

There are 4 hallmark symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, but these may not all be present. If that is the case, your doctor may examine you every few months to check on your symptoms.

Symptoms may include:

    
  • Tremor while at rest
  • Rigidity
  • Slowness of movement (bradykinesia)
  • Postural instability
  • A neurological exam will include a range of tests to evaluate your strength, coordination, balance, and other aspects, such as:

        
  • Muscle tone
  • Rapid alternating movements
  • Gait, posture
  • Postural stability
  • Quickness and precision of movement
  • Observation of a tremor (during rest or activity)
  • A mini-mental status test may be done. Activities of daily living may also be evaluated, such as dressing, cutting and eating food, swallowing, hygiene, walking, and falls.

    If the diagnosis is not clear, you may be given tests to try to eliminate the possibility of other conditions with similar symptoms. These tests may include:

        
  • Blood tests
  • Urine tests
  • Imaging tests may include:

        
  • MRI scan
  • CT scan
  • DAT scan—A type of SPECT scan.
  • PET scan—To evaluate glucose metabolism.
  • Your doctor may also give you a trial of levodopa, a medication that increases the amount of dopamine your brain produces. A positive response to this medication may help to confirm the diagnosis.