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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.

Page reviewed by Dr. Joash Lazarus, NPF Movement Disorders Fellow, Department of Neurology at Emory University School of Medicine.