All of the conditions listed below can cause some or all of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, such as tremor, stiffness, slowness, and walking/balance problems. Because of the symptom overlap and lack of a diagnostic test, in particular MSA, PSP, and CBD are often misdiagnosed as Parkinson’s early on. However, these conditions tend to progress more rapidly than Parkinson’s and do not respond well to levodopa.
Multiple System Atrophy (MSA)Multiple System Atrophy affects the autonomic nervous system, which controls automatic, involuntary activities (like blood pressure, digestion and sexual function) and may cause fainting, severe constipation and/or issues with bladder control. Anterocollis (head dropping forward) and speech difficulties are commonly associated.
Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP)Walking and balance problems, which are also part of Parkinson’s, are particularly severe in PSP and people with this condition experience significant falls. Eye movement problems, which can cause blurred vision, and speech and swallowing disturbances are also prominent.
Corticobasal Degeneration (CBD)People with CBD typically have prominent limb stiffness and dystonia (involuntary muscle contraction that causes an abnormal posture) and memory and/or thinking difficulties.
Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB) / Lewy Body Dementia (LBD)Dementia with Lewy bodies, also called Lewy Body Dementia, is a form of dementia, meaning that it causes a significant impairment of memory and/or thinking abilities. DLB/LBD may also cause visual hallucinations (seeing things that aren’t there); unpredictable fluctuations in a person’s level of attention or alertness; and changes in mood, behavior and personality.