The Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS)

By kimberly
Reviewed: dr. vanta
Article Sources Article Sources
  • 1. Perlmutter, Joel S. 'Assessment of Parkinson Disease Manifestations.' _Current Protocols in Neuroscience_, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Oct. 2009, most common rating scales,how to implement these ratings.
  • 2. Publishing, Harvard Health. 'The Facts about Parkinson's Disease.' _Harvard Health_,
  • 3. Treatment.” _Parkinson's Foundation_,
  • 4. 'Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS), Movement Disorders Society (MDS) Modified Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (MDS-UPDRS).' _APTA_,
  • 5. Association, European Parkinson's Disease. 'Rating Scales.' _Rating Scales | European Parkinson's Disease Association_,
Medical Expert Medical Expert

While there are no blood tests or imaging scans available to help physicians diagnose Parkinson’s disease in their patients, there are rating scales that can be used to evaluate symptoms and determine the condition’s severity once a neurologist has made a diagnosis. One of the most common worldwide rating scales is the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS).1Perlmutter, Joel S. ‘Assessment of Parkinson Disease Manifestations.’ Current Protocols in Neuroscience, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Oct. 2009, most common rating scales,how to implement these ratings.

The UPDRS takes into account the broad range of symptoms patients might feel and allows doctors to analyze their intensity. This scale, along with others such as the Hoehn and Yahr staging, helps doctors determine the best course of treatment for patients with Parkinson’s disease.

1. What is Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease that affects the dopamine producing neurons. Dopamine plays a key role in motor control, executive function, motivation, memory and attention. Men are more likely to be diagnosed with Parkinson’s than women, and the risk of this condition increases significantly in those aged 50 and older.2Publishing, Harvard Health. ‘The Facts about Parkinson’s Disease.’ Harvard Health, Although the exact cause isn’t known, the disease has been linked to genetics, exposure to chemicals, and head injuries.

Parkinson’s symptoms often progress over time and can include tremors, muscle rigidity, poor balance, poor posture and bradykinesia (slow body movements). Slurred speech, anxiety and depression are also associated with Parkinson’s disease.


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