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Parkinson's Disease Is Often Misdiagnosed in People with Paraquat Exposure

Posted on 2nd March, 2021

by Legal Staff

Because the symptoms of Parkinson's disease are very similar to those of other health problems, it is often misdiagnosed in people with a history of exposure to paraquat, which prevents victims of toxic exposure from recovering the financial compensation they deserve. According to medical studies, Parkinson's disease is misdiagnosed in up to 30% of cases and the rate of misdiagnosis is even higher in people whose disease is in the early stages. 1 in 4 people with Parkinson's disease will receive a wrong diagnosis

Therefore, seeking a second and even a third opinion is essential in being assigned a correct and accurate diagnosis. It is a known fact that frequent exposure to paraquat in agricultural workers increases the risk of developing Parkinson's disease by 250%.

Thereby, if you have a history of paraquat exposure, it is crucial to keep a close eye on your health for the symptoms of Parkinson's disease.

A poll from the American Journal of Managed Care found that over 26% of people with Parkinson's disease were initially misdiagnosed and 21% had to see their general healthcare provider 3 times before being referred to a specialist to have their health problem correctly diagnosed.

What is more alarming is that 48% of the participants received treatment for the wrong health condition, with 36% being prescribed medication and 6% undergoing surgical procedures. Consequently, a significant decline in the quality of life was noted in the misdiagnosed patients.

Women with Parkinson's disease seem to be more frequently misdiagnosed than men. Because the disease usually occurs in people over the age of 40, the early onset of it may be misdiagnosed as a more common health problem for this demographic.

What Health Conditions Mimic the Symptoms of Parkinson's Disease?

Parkinsonism is a medical term that refers to the symptoms experienced by people with the disease, which include slowness of movements, stiffness of the joints, as well as tremor and imbalance. However, there are a series of conditions whose symptoms are very similar to those of Parkinson's disease, which is why so many people are misdiagnosed.

Being aware of these health conditions is essential if you have a history of exposure to paraquat, as it may facilitate the assignment of a correct diagnosis. The following are some of the conditions that mimic the symptoms of Parkinson's disease:

  • Essential tremor: While this condition is more common in the elderly, it can occur at any age. The difference between the tremors experienced by people with essential tremors and those who are present in individuals with Parkinson's disease is that the former have tremors of both hands, the head, and a shaky quality of the voice. Thereby, it should come as no surprise that Parkinson's disease is often mistaken for essential tremor. It is worthy of note that people with essential tremors are at a higher risk of developing Parkinson's disease than the general population.
  • Normal-pressure hydrocephalus: People who struggle with this condition have fluid inside their brain that does not properly drain, which causes them to experience difficulty walking, slowed thinking, and loss of bladder control. These symptoms are quite similar to those of Parkinson's disease. Nonetheless, normal pressure hydrocephalus is diagnosed by using brain scans, lumbar puncture, and a physical examination.
  • Dementia with Lewy bodies: This condition is a progressive, neurodegenerative disorder characterized by abnormal deposits of a protein known as alpha-synuclein that builds up in numerous areas of the brain. In the early stages, it causes memory problems, fluctuation in thinking, and even hallucinations. Over time, symptoms such as slowness and stiffness occur, which makes Parkinson's disease to be so easily mistaken for dementia with Lewy bodies.
  • Multiple system atrophy: Although some symptoms of multiple system atrophy resemble those of Parkinson's disease, this condition is accompanied by other symptoms, which differentiate it from parkinsonism. The additional symptoms of this condition are in coordination and dysfunction in the autonomic nervous system, which controls aspects such as blood pressure and bladder function.
  • Corticobasal syndrome: As a rare condition, corticobasal syndrome often begins with symptoms affecting one limb. In addition to the common symptoms of Parkinson's disease, it is accompanied by other symptoms, which include abnormal posturing of the affected limb, fast, jerky movements, difficulty performing certain motor tasks in spite of normal muscle strength, and difficulty with language.
  • Progressive supranuclear palsy: Similarly to other conditions, progressive supranuclear palsy has a series of symptoms that are very similar to those of parkinsonism. Nevertheless, it is accompanied by other symptoms that differentiate it from Parkinson's disease, such as limitations in eye movements, particularly when looking up and down, which contributes to frequent falls, problems with swallowing, difficulty speaking, sleep problems, and thinking problems.

If you have a history of exposure to paraquat and were diagnosed with one of the above conditions, we strongly advise you to seek a second opinion from a specialist, as you may be in fact struggling with Parkinson's disease, which qualifies you for compensation.

It is essential to receive a correct and precise diagnosis, as it will not only help you obtain the money you deserve from the liable companies but will also improve your quality of life.

For over 35 years, the team of experts at Atraxia Law has been helping people recover the compensation they were eligible for by evaluating their personal injury or product liability claims and are ready to provide you with quality assistance as well if your health was affected by exposure to paraquat.

Quality Assistance for People with Parkinson's Disease as a Result of Paraquat Exposure

If you struggle with Parkinson's disease as a consequence of frequently using paraquat, the team of Atraxia Law can provide you with the assistance you need to determine whether you qualify for filing a claim with the responsible manufacturers.

While the process is quite complex and tedious, it will require minimal involvement on your part, as we are aware that the majority of our clients are in great physical and emotional pain.

After you explain to our experts how you developed parkinsonism as a result of paraquat exposure we will thoroughly evaluate your case and subsequently tell you with certainty whether you can file a claim to obtain financial compensation. For additional information, do not hesitate to contact our company and we will gladly answer your questions.