Are there other conditions that can mimic PD?

Essential Tremor (ET)

  • Short for Essential Tremor, ET, is fairly common amongst the elderly population, yet may begin at any age.
  • ET is different from the PD tremor in that it affects both hands, often involves head tremor and a shaky quality to the patient’s voice.
  • Essential tremor is thought to be different from PD.
  • However, recent research shows that ET may be a risk factor for PD. In fact, up to 20% of ET patients may develop Parkinsonian symptoms, Parkinson’s disease, or have a family member with PD.

Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH)

  • A person with NPH has fluid inside the brain that does not drain properly, which results in difficulty in walking, slowed thinking, and loss of bladder control.
  • NPH can usually be diagnosed by specialized brain scans, lumbar puncture (spinal tap), and a physical examination.
  • The treatment often involves surgery where a shunt is placed to help drain the excess fluid.

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Medical content reviewed by: Nina Browner, MD—Medical Director of the NPF Center of Excellence at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in North Carolina and by Fernando Pagan, MD—Medical Director of the NPF Center of Excellence at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C.

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