Risk Factors Of Parkinson’s Disease
The risk factors of Parkinson’s disease helps people determine the people who have higher chances of getting this disease. A lot of study has been done about Parkinson’s disease but not enough for people to be able to pinpoint the main reason for the disease. In such a situation, knowing the risk factors of Parkinson’s disease would help people determine a broad identification of people who might have higher risk of contracting the disease. This is an important factor that can determine recovery from Parkinson’s Disease. Read more on Demographics affected by Parkinson’s Disease.
The risk factors are as follows:
What Lifestyle Changes Can I Make To Ease Parkinsons Symptoms
Exercise: Exercise helps improve muscle strength, balance, coordination, flexibility, and tremor. It is also strongly believed to improve memory, thinking and reduce the risk of falls and decrease anxiety and depression. One study in persons with Parkinsons disease showed that 2.5 hours of exercise per week resulted in improved ability to move and a slower decline in quality of life compared to those who didnt exercise or didnt start until later in the course of their disease. Some exercises to consider include strengthening or resistance training, stretching exercises or aerobics . All types of exercise are helpful.
Eat a healthy, balanced diet: This is not only good for your general health but can ease some of the non-movement related symptoms of Parkinsons, such as constipation. Eating foods high in fiber in particular can relieve constipation. The Mediterranean diet is one example of a healthy diet.
Preventing falls and maintaining balance: Falls are a frequent complication of Parkinson’s. While you can do many things to reduce your risk of falling, the two most important are: 1) to work with your doctor to ensure that your treatments whether medicines or deep brain stimulation are optimal and 2) to consult with a physical therapist who can assess your walking and balance. The physical therapist is the expert when it comes to recommending assistive devices or exercise to improve safety and preventing falls.
Does Smoking Protect From Parkinsons Disease
In addition to the numerous studies that demonstrate that PD rates are lower in cigarette smokers than the general population, there are studies that show that the inverse relationship between smoking and PD is dose-dependent. That is, the more a person smokes, the less of a chance that he or she will develop PD. Another study investigated identical twin pairs in which one had PD and the other did not. The twin without PD tended to smoke more than the twin with PD. Since identical twins share the same DNA and often the same environment, many of the variables normally associated with a difference in risk of PD were removed except for smoking. The study is therefore cited as evidence that smoking is protective against PD.
Even if this theory is correct, and smoking does protect people from Parkinsons disease, all physicians and researchers agree, that this does not mean that increasing the rates of smoking among the general population is a desirable strategy to prevent PD. That is because epidemiologic studies have also consistently found that cigarette smoking is a risk factor for a variety of deadly diseases including lung cancer, emphysema, heart disease and stroke. Researchers have therefore tried to harness the possibly protective nature of cigarette smoke in other ways.
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Filing For Social Security Disability With A Parkinsons Disease Diagnosis
The SSA has a complied list guidelines of conditions that qualify for disability benefits. Under it’s listing in the “Blue Book,” Parkinsons Disease is a condition that can qualify a person for Social Security Disability benefits provided that certain diagnostic criteria are met and documented which include:
- bradykinesia, or tremor in two extremities causing ongoing problems with movement
- gait, or ability to stand
There is no single test that can provide a definitive diagnosis of Parkinsons Disease. Diagnosis is based upon an evaluation of the symptoms present, as well as a neurological examination.
Also, the presence of at least two of what are considered to be the cardinal symptoms of Parkinsons can be considered to be strongly indicative of the presence of the condition.
Additionally, tremors of the hands that occur while the hand is at rest, symptoms that begin on one side of the body, and/or a positive response to levodopa are also telltale diagnostic tools.
It can be assumed that these symptoms could be used as the basis for a Social Security Disability case on their own should they become serious enough to inhibit ones ability to work. If the disease has progressed to this point, however, the patient has likely already qualified based on physical/motor symptoms.
So What Does This All Mean
Here it is:
If you are a welder, physician, dentist, teacher, lawyer, scientist, computer programmer, person involved in clerical work, agricultural worker, hunting and forestry vocation person, and have a family history of PD, are male, are over 60, Amish and are growing manganese plants as a hobby if you are Caucasian, take illicit drugs, banged your head against a wall, live in Nebraska, have red hair and a family history of PD, then chances are you MIGHT get PD. Then again, it depends on which country you live in, too.
Another interesting tidbit? Those involved in the manufacturing and transportation fields were less likely to get PD. Caffeine and smoking are said to help prevent PD.
I wouldnt quit my welding job to pilot a jet, leave the Amish community, or move from Nebraska and take up smoking. There are reasons, yes, why people get PD, even if we havent really pinpointed the specific culprit yet. However, ultimately, because of Gods sovereignty, things are going to play out as He sees fit, whether we have black hair or polka dot hair, work in the forest or teach geometry, are male or female, Amish or Mennonite, prefer chocolate over strawberry ice cream. And, if He sees fit to give us this disease, well then, Hes got to have a pretty good reason that I may never know or understand.
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Who Gets Parkinson’s Disease
About 1 million people in the United States have Parkinson’s disease, and both men and women can get it. Symptoms usually appear when someone is older than 50 and it becomes more common as people get older.
Many people wonder if you’re more likely to get Parkinson’s disease if you have a relative who has it. Although the role that heredity plays isn’t completely understood, we do know that if a close relative like a parent, brother, or sister has Parkinson’s, there is a greater chance of developing the disease. But Parkinson’s disease is not contagious. You can’t get it by simply being around someone who has it.
When Should Genetic Testing Be Done
Your physician may suggest it if your Parkinsons diagnosis comes at a young age , if multiple relatives in your family history have also been diagnosed with the same, or if you are at high risk for familial Parkinsons based on your ethnicity .
However, what is the benefit of having the testing done at the present time? The information may be important for family planning for some individuals although as I said even if the gene is passed on it does not necessarily equal development of the disease. The risk, though, is higher in dominant genetic mutations versus recessive ones, on average if a person has a first-degree relative with Parkinsons their risk of developing the disease is 4 to 9 percent more than the general population.
Keep in mind that currently for the person being tested, there is no change in the treatment of their Parkinsons disease based on genetic findings. In the future, however, when there are treatments to slow down the onset of the disease or to prevent it from developing at all, then the identification of those people at risk will be very important.
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How Is Parkinsons Disease Treated
There is no cure for Parkinsons disease. However, medications and other treatments can help relieve some of your symptoms. Exercise can help your Parkinsons symptoms significantly. In addition, physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech-language therapy can help with walking and balance problems, eating and swallowing challenges and speech problems. Surgery is an option for some patients.
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Smoking And Parkinsons Disease
Epidemiologic studies of Parkinsons disease that explore the distribution of the disease in various populations, have consistently found, over a number of decades, that cigarette smokers have lower rates of PD than non-smokers. People are taken aback when they first hear this as it is counter-intuitive. Could it be that a habit so clearly linked to poor health can also provide a health benefit?
There are two potential ways to view this association. The first is that smoking has a biological effect that protects a person from PD. The second is that part of the biology of PD makes it less likely that a person would smoke.
What Really Causes Parkinson’s Disease
Even though studies have pinpointed certain factors that influence the risk of Parkinson’s disease onset, most people with the disease have no family history, gene mutation, prior head injury, history of environmental toxin exposure, or history of using antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, or sleeping pills. So, looking at the overall picture, it is nearly impossible to predict who will develop Parkinson’s disease. And if you have Parkinson’s disease, there is probably nothing you could have done to have prevented it.
Researchers are working to discover the combination of factors that causes Parkinson’s disease, in hopes of uncovering new ways to prevent, and perhaps treat, this chronic condition.
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What Can I Do
Have family chats once a month or even once a week. Use this time to share with your parents how Parkinsons makes you feel. They can also explain some of what they are going through. This will help you understand each other better, and you can try to find ways to help each other and reduce stress.
Talk to someonewhoever you feel a connection with. This could be a friend, relative, teacher or counselor. You may have concerns or worries you dont feel comfortable telling your parents about. Expressing these feelings might help you feel better, and the person might have good advice.
Get involved. Sometimes we feel better when we can DO something to improve a situation. Go to a local Moving Day®, organize your own fundraiser to support PD research through Parkinsons Champions or raise awareness of PD at your school, church or other community center. The Parkinsons Foundation can help with ideas on how to get involved.
Connect with other people your age. You are not the only one with a parent with Parkinsons disease. If your parents are in a Parkinsons support group, they might know other people with PD with children who would like to talk or hang out. Even your parents doctor may know of other children to connect with. Connect online with others in the same situation. Some groups already existtry searching for the groups Young Adult Children of Parkinsons Patients or Parkinsons, Children Living With THEM, or create your own!
Who Gets Early Onset Parkinsons Disease
About 10%-20% of those diagnosed with Parkinsons disease are under age 50, and about half of those are diagnosed before age 40. Approximately 60,000 new cases of Parkinsons are diagnosed each year in the United States, meaning somewhere around 6,000 12,000 are young onset patients.
Is it genetic or hereditary?
The cause of Parkinsons disease is not yet known. However, Parkinsons disease has appeared across several generations of some families, which could indicate that certain forms of the disease are hereditary or genetic. Many researchers think that Parkinsons disease may be caused by genetic factors combined with other external factors. The field of genetics is playing an ever greater role in Parkinsons disease research, and scientists are continually working towards determining the cause or causes of PD.
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Do Only Old People Get Parkinson’s Disease
Although Parkinson’s disease is much more common in people who are older than age 50, it can affect people of all ages, including even children and teenagers.
Also, just because you’re older, it doesn’t mean you’ll get Parkinson’s most people never get it. Your age is only one factor in your risks for the condition.
Mortality From Parkinsons Disease
With treatment, the life expectancy of people with PD is similar to that of the general population. However, dementia seems to largely impact life expectancy among people with PD, and about 50 percent to 80 percent of people with PD develop dementia in their lifetime. Risk factors for mortality include later age of onset, male sex, severity of motor impairment, presence of psychotic symptoms, and dementia. Early detection of disease, prevention of motor symptom progression, and treatment of dementia can increase life expectancy.8,9
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Causes Of Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disease is caused by a loss of nerve cells in part of the brain called the substantia nigra. This leads to a reduction in a chemical called dopamine in the brain.
Dopamine plays a vital role in regulating the movement of the body. A reduction in dopamine is responsible for many of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
Exactly what causes the loss of nerve cells is unclear. Most experts think that a combination of genetic and environmental factors is responsible.
What Is Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinsons disease occurs when brain cells that make dopamine, a chemical that coordinates movement, stop working or die. Because PD can cause tremor, slowness, stiffness, and walking and balance problems, it is called a movement disorder. But constipation, depression, memory problems and other non-movement symptoms also can be part of Parkinsons. PD is a lifelong and progressive disease, which means that symptoms slowly worsen over time.
The experience of living with Parkinson’s over the course of a lifetime is unique to each person. As symptoms and progression vary from person to person, neither you nor your doctor can predict which symptoms you will get, when you will get them or how severe they will be. Even though broad paths of similarity are observed among individuals with PD as the disease progresses, there is no guarantee you will experience what you see in others.
Parkinsons affects nearly 1 million people in the United States and more than 6 million people worldwide.
For an in-depth guide to navigating Parkinsons disease and living well as the disease progresses, check out our Parkinsons 360 toolkit.
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Is Parkinsons Disease Inherited
Scientists have discovered gene mutations that are associated with Parkinsons disease.
There is some belief that some cases of early-onset Parkinsons disease disease starting before age 50 may be inherited. Scientists identified a gene mutation in people with Parkinsons disease whose brains contain Lewy bodies, which are clumps of the protein alpha-synuclein. Scientists are trying to understand the function of this protein and its relationship to genetic mutations that are sometimes seen in Parkinsons disease and in people with a type of dementia called Lewy body dementia.
Several other gene mutations have been found to play a role in Parkinsons disease. Mutations in these genes cause abnormal cell functioning, which affects the nerve cells ability to release dopamine and causes nerve cell death. Researchers are still trying to discover what causes these genes to mutate in order to understand how gene mutations influence the development of Parkinsons disease.
Scientists think that about 10% to 15% of persons with Parkinsons disease may have a genetic mutation that predisposes them to development of the disease. There are also environmental factors involved that are not fully understood.
Faqs: Genetics & Parkinsons
If I have Parkinson’s disease will my child get it too? Will I inherit Parkinson’s if my parent or grandparent has it?
Most people with Parkinson’s have no known genetic link. Their children will likely never develop Parkinson’s. There are some known genetic variations that increase the risk of getting Parkinson’s, but most people with these variations do not get Parkinson’s. Like many other diseases, Parkinson’s is a result of a complex interaction between genes and environmental factors.
In a small number of people , Parkinson’s is inherited and can affect multiple family members. Their children may have a higher risk of developing Parkinson’s. However, there is no guarantee they will develop PD.
What if my genetic test is positive for a Parkinson’s gene?
Scientists have identified several genetic mutations that can increase the risk of developing Parkinson’s. If someone tests positive for a mutation in a Parkinson’s gene, it does not necessarily mean they will develop PD. Some people who have mutations in the genes associated with Parkinson’s never develop PD. A person may inherit a hereditary genetic mutation that increases their risk for Parkinson’s however, they may also inherit other genes, be exposed to environmental factors or have lifestyle choices that offset the risk. Genetic testing is currently available for the following genes related to Parkinson’s: GBA, PARK7, SNCA, LRRK2, parkin and PINK1.
What can I do with my genetic test results?
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