Parkinson's Disease: Assessment, Diagnosis, and Management

Leslie F. Nolden, DNP, FNP-BC; Todd Tartavoulle, DNS, CNS-BC; Demetrius J. Porche, DNS, PhD


Journal for Nurse Practitioners. 2014;10(7):500-506. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive, chronic, neurodegenerative condition. The estimated prevalence of PD in the United States is 0.3%. Prevalence is estimated to be as high as 5% in people 85 years and older. Etiologic factors include genetics and environmental conditions. Pathophysiology consists of a loss of dopamine-producing neurons and a reduction in dopamine. Clinical presentation includes primary motor, secondary motor, and nonmotor symptoms. Diagnosis is primarily a clinical diagnosis. Clinical management consists of early and late medical management and quality of life interventions. Surgical intervention consists of deep brain stimulation.


Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive, chronic, incurable, neurodegenerative condition. PD is the 2nd most collective neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer disease. In the United States, PD prevalence is estimated at 0.3% of the population. The prevalence of PD increases as age increases, with an estimated prevalence of 5% in people 85 years and older.[1,2] As our US population increases in age, the likelihood of nurse practitioners (NPs) encountering PD patients in various clinical practice sites increases. Therefore, this article provides NPs with an overview of PD assessment, diagnosis, and management practices to facilitate the clinical management of this patient population.