Secondary parkinsonism is similar to
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.
Parkinsonism – secondary; Atypical Parkinson disease
Secondary parkinsonism may be caused by health problems, including:
- Brain injury
- Diffuse Lewy body disease (a type of
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 poisoningand other chemical poisonings
- Overdoses of narcotics
- MPTP (a contaminant in some street drugs)
There have been cases of secondary parkinsonism among IV drug users who injected a substance called MPTP, which can be produced when making a form of heroin. These cases are rare and have mostly affected long-term drug users.
Common symptoms include:
Decrease in facial expressions
Difficulty starting and controlling movement
Loss or weakness of movement (paralysis)
Stiffness of the trunk, arms, or legs
Confusion and memory loss may be likely in secondary parkinsonism. This is because the diseases that cause secondary parkinsonism often lead to
Exams and Tests
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 the elderly.
Examination may show:
Difficulty starting or stopping voluntary movements
Problems with posture
Slow, shuffling walk
Reflexes are usually normal.
Tests may be ordered to confirm or rule out other problems that can cause similar symptoms.
If the condition is caused by a medicine, the doctor may recommend changing or stopping the medicine.
Treating underlying conditions such as stroke or infections can reduce symptoms.
If symptoms make it hard to do everyday activities, the doctor may recommend medicine. Medicines used to treat this condition can cause severe side effects. It is important to see the doctor for check-ups. Secondary parkinsonism tends to be less responsive to medical therapy than Parkinson’s disease.
Unlike Parkinson disease, secondary parkinsonism may stabilize or even improve if the underlying cause is treated. Brain problems, such as Lewy body disease, are not reversible.
- Difficulty doing daily activities
- Difficulty swallowing (eating)
- Disability (varying degrees)
- Injuries from falls
- Side effects of medications used to treat the condition
Side effects from loss of strength (debilitation):
Breathing in food, fluid, or mucus (
Blood clot in a deep vein (
deep vein thrombosis) Malnutrition
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call the health care provider if:
- Symptoms of secondary parkinsonism develop, come back, or get worse
- New symptoms appear, including confusion, movements that cannot be controlle
- You are unable to care for the person at home after treatment starts
Treating conditions that cause secondary parkinsonism may decrease the risk.
People taking medicines that can cause secondary parkinsonism should be carefully monitored by the doctor to prevent the condition from developing.