When people in Kentucky experience trembling in their hands or shaking when they walk, they may jump to the conclusion that they have Parkinson's disease, the progressive neurological disorder. These symptoms are characteristic of Parkinson's, and family doctors may be likely to diagnose the disorder based on a description of these symptoms. However, without a neurologist's expert opinion, people could be facing an incorrect diagnosis. There are a number of other conditions whose symptoms can mimic those of Parkinson's, but the treatment required is significantly different.
Some experts estimate that Parkinson's disease is misdiagnosed in up to 30 percent of cases, putting patients' health at risk if they do not receive a correct diagnosis and proper early treatment. One of the most common disorders to resemble Parkinson's is essential tremor. This movement disorder leads to uncontrollable shaking in the hands, neck, head, voice box and other areas for brief periods. Doctors note that essential tremor is more likely to be visible during activity, like eating or writing, while Parkinson's disease is more likely to become apparent when a person is at rest.
Another condition that can mimic Parkinson's and even shares a naming similarity is drug-induced Parkinson's. However, the causation and treatment are significantly different in both cases. Drug-induced Parkinson's is a severe side effect that can accompany the use of certain types of drugs, such as antipsychotics or mood stabilizers. In general, the treatment for this disorder involves changing medications to eliminate the cause of the side effects as well as treating the results.
An incorrect diagnosis can lead to treatment mistakes; when progressive disorders are involved, this could cause the disease to worsen over time. People who have suffered worsened health conditions due to medical error might want to work with a medical malpractice lawyer to seek compensation for their damages.