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Thousands of Parkinson’s patients initially misdiagnosed

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Research has found that more than a quarter of people with Parkinson’s disease were initially misdiagnosed, reports The Guardian. The poll of more than 2,000 people found 26% were first told they had something else, while 21% saw their GP three or more times before being referred to a specialist.

Of those who were misdiagnosed, 48% were given treatment for their non-existent condition, with 36% receiving medication, 6% undergoing operations or procedures and a further 6% given both medication and operations or procedures. Of those who received unnecessary treatment, 34% said their health had got worse as a result. The poll, for the charity Parkinsons UK, also found that women were more likely to be misdiagnosed than men, and errors were most common in people aged 51 to 60.

Katie Goates of Parkinson’s UK said: “Parkinson’s is an incredibly complex condition with more than 40 symptoms, and it 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. Our survey has shown that because of this, people are being left in limbo and seeing their health deteriorate, which is unacceptable. 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.”

The Guardian report

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