For many people in Florida, hand tremors or a shaky, stiff sensation when walking may point to signs of Parkinson's disease, the chronic, progressive neurological condition. Some people may even be diagnosed with Parkinson's on the basis of their symptoms, especially if they visit a family doctor instead of a specialist. However, Parkinson's is misdiagnosed more than some might expect; there are other disorders that can closely resemble the symptoms of Parkinson's, but the suggested treatments are distinctly different.
Statistics indicate that up to 30 percent of all Parkinson's patients are misdiagnosed. One of the most common disorders affecting people wrongly diagnosed with Parkinson's is essential tremor. This is a movement disorder that can cause uncontrollable shaking in the hands, head, neck, voice box and other parts of the body for brief periods of time. Physicians say that essential tremor most commonly affects people while they are doing something active, like eating or writing. Parkinson's, on the other hand, is more likely to induce shaking when a person is resting. Essential tremor is often linked to a family history of the condition.
Another condition that has a similar presentation to Parkinson's but different treatment and cause is drug-induced Parkinson's. Unlike true Parkinson's, this disorder is caused by side effects to drugs like antipsychotics or mood stabilizers. Proper treatment involves changing the patient's medication to remove the drugs that are causing the neurological effects. In all cases, the correct medications are necessary to provide relief, and an incorrect regimen could be useless or even harmful.
Patients who are misdiagnosed could have serious health effects as a result, especially if they do not receive urgent treatment for a progressive disease. A medical malpractice lawyer may work with people who have suffered worsened health conditions as a result of a medical mistake to seek compensation for their damages.