More than one in four people living with Parkinson’s were initially misdiagnosed, new research has found. In a study conducted by Parkinson’s UK, 2,000 people were questioned about being diagnosed with the neurological condition, the symptoms of which can include involuntary shaking, slow movements and stiff muscles.
According to the poll, 26 per cent of respondents said they were originally diagnosed with a different medical condition. Around 145,000 people are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease on an annual basis. Of the participants who received a misdiagnosis, almost half were treated for the wrongly-diagnosed condition, with 36 per cent receiving medication, 6 per cent undergoing operations or procedures and 6 per cent going through both. More than a third of those who received unnecessary treatment said their health worsened as a result.
The poll also concluded that women were more likely to be misdiagnosed than men, Moreover, misdiagnoses had a greater likelihood of occurring among patients aged between 51 and 60. Katie Goates, professional engagement programme manager at Parkinson’s UK, explained that Parkinson’s is “an incredibly complex condition with more than 40 symptoms” that “affects everyone differently”.
“One of the biggest challenges for Parkinson’s research is that there is no definitive test for Parkinson’s, and as a result we’ve heard of people being misdiagnosed with anything from a frozen shoulder or anxiety to a stroke,” Ms Goates stated.
“We are investing in vital research to find a much-needed diagnostic test but we also recognise the key role that health professionals have in helping people with Parkinson’s get the right diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible.”
While there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, available treatments include medication, physiotherapy and occupational therapy.