Early Parkinson’s disease may be challenging to diagnose because of its potentially subtle symptoms, such as REM sleep behaviour disorder, and similarity to differential diagnoses including dystonic tremor and ‘Parkinson-plus’ conditions. Nevertheless, early diagnosis allows symptomatic relief and prognostication, which is crucial for many patients.
- The prevalence of Parkinson’s disease (PD) is expected to rise by 80% over the next 20 years.
- PD is complex, with marked heterogeneity, making diagnosis and management difficult even for specialists experienced in movement disorders.
- Nonmotor symptoms such as affective disorder, anosmia, constipation and rapid eye movement sleep behaviour disorder can predate the development of motor symptoms by several years.
- Recent evidence suggests that early treatment of patients with PD does not accelerate disease.
- Evidence supports the use of levodopa, dopamine agonists and monoamine oxidase inhibitors.
Picture credit: © Steve Oh.