Definition

What is secondary parkinsonism?

Secondary parkinsonism is similar to Parkinson disease, but the symptoms are caused by certain medicines, a different nervous system disorder, or another illness.

Parkinsonism refers to any condition that involves the types of movement problems seen in Parkinson disease. These problems include tremors, slow movement, and stiffness of the arms and legs.

How common is secondary parkinsonism?

Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Symptoms

What are the symptoms of secondary parkinsonism?

The common symptoms of secondary parkinsonism are:

  • Decrease in facial expressions
  • Difficulty starting and controlling movement
  • Loss or weakness of movement (paralysis)
  • Soft voice
  • Stiffness of the trunk, arms, or legs
  • Tremor

Confusion and memory loss may be likely in secondary parkinsonism. This is because many diseases that cause secondary parkinsonism also lead to dementia.

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.

Causes

What causes secondary parkinsonism?

Secondary parkinsonism may be caused by health problems, including:

  • Brain injury
  • Diffuse Lewy body disease (a type of dementia)
  • Encephalitis
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Meningitis
  • Multiple system atrophy
  • Progressive supranuclear palsy
  • Stroke
  • Wilson disease

Other causes of secondary parkinsonism include:

  • Brain damage caused by anesthesia drugs (such as during surgery)
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Certain medicines used to treat mental disorders or nausea
  • Mercury poisoning and other chemical poisonings
  • Overdoses of narcotics
  • MPTP (a contaminant in some street drugs)

There have been rare cases of secondary parkinsonism among IV drug users who injected a substance called MPTP, which can be produced when making a form of heroin.

Risk factors

What increases my risk for secondary parkinsonism?

Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is secondary parkinsonism diagnosed?

The health care provider will perform a physical exam and ask questions about the person’s medical history and symptoms. Be aware that the symptoms may be hard to assess, particularly in older adults.

Examination may show:

  • Difficulty starting or stopping voluntary movements
  • Tense muscles
  • Problems with posture
  • Slow, shuffling walk
  • Tremors (shaking)
  • Reflexes are usually normal.

Tests may be ordered to confirm or rule out other problems that can cause similar symptoms.

How is secondary parkinsonism treated?

If the condition is caused by a medicine, the provider may recommend changing or stopping the medicine.

Treating underlying conditions, such as stroke or infections, can reduce symptoms or prevent the condition from getting worse.

If symptoms make it hard to do everyday activities, the provider may recommend medicine. Medicines used to treat this condition can cause severe side effects. It is important to see the provider for check-ups. Secondary parkinsonism tends to be less responsive to medical therapy than Parkinson disease.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage secondary parkinsonism?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you prevent secondary parkinsonism:

  • Treating conditions that cause secondary parkinsonism may decrease the risk.
  • People taking medicines that can cause secondary parkinsonism should be carefully monitored by the provider to prevent the condition from developing.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Review Date: January 2, 2018 | Last Modified: January 2, 2018

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