Pediatric parkinsonism is a degenerative disease that leads to the eventual loss of body function. It is not the same as Parkinson’s disease in an adult.
What is Pediatric Parkinsonism?
With pediatric parkinsonism, a child has many of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease without actually having the same disorder. Symptoms include tremors, balance problems, slow movements and falls.
Parkinsonism leads to the breakdown of motor functions in the body, including coordination, walking and other movements. Young-onset Parkinson’s disease (YOPD) is not the same as parkinsonism and is not usually diagnosed before the age of 20.
What are the signs and symptoms of Pediatric Parkinsonism?
- Arm, hand, leg and face tremors
- Bradykinesia (slow movement)
- Constipation or incontinence
- Dizziness or poor balance
- Fatigue (extreme tiredness)
- Impaired speech
- Reduced coordination and instability
- Swallowing difficulties
- Slowed blinking
How is Pediatric Parkinsonism diagnosed?
The first step in diagnosing pediatric parkinsonism is a physical exam. A large part of the exam is to review past medication history. The doctor will also observe the patient for certain features, including:
- Balance problems that leads to falls
- Resting tremor
- Rigidity of limbs
- Slow movements, also called bradykinesia
Two of the four features must be observed to be diagnosed with pediatric parkinsonism.
Doctors also might also order genetic testing or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to diagnose parkinsonism.
What are the causes of Pediatric Parkinsonism?
The exact cause of pediatric parkinsonism is unknown. Research suggests it’s most commonly cause by medication exposure, including neuro epileptics, antipsychotics and anti-nausea medications.
How is Pediatric Parkinsonism treated?
To treat pediatric parkinsonism, doctors will look to the underlying condition they believe has caused the disorder and determine specific treatments. Medication adjustments may also be helpful to treat it.