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Parkinson’s Causes: How Do You Get Parkinson’s Disease?

The causes of Parkinson’s disease are mostly unknown. But researchers have discovered a few things about Parkinson’s causes. Read more on HealthyPlace.

Parkinson's disease causes are mostly unknown. Doctors know that the condition develops when nerve cells die in the brain, but there is no finite reason why this occurs. Over the years, vast amounts of research have been done in this area to determine whether genetics, lifestyle factors or both cause Parkinson's. While Parkinson's disease isn't always preventable, these studies have provided some insight into possible Parkinson's disease causes.

Parkinson’s Disease Causes: The Facts

There is no known cause for Parkinson’s disease, so sadly there is no way to avoid it. However, Parkinson’s disease is found to be more common in men than women. It mostly affects people aged 65 and over. However, early-onset Parkinson’s can occur in younger adults.

Scientific research has identified the following possible causes for the disease:

  • Genetic factors: The disease can run in families, but Parkinson's isn’t always hereditary. There is no reason to suspect that you will get Parkinson’s just because a blood relative has it.
  • Low dopamine levels: Dopamine plays an essential role in sending messages to the part of the brain that controls coordination. Those with Parkinson’s are reported to have low dopamine levels, making it harder for them to control their movements.  
  • Low norepinephrine levels: Norepinephrine is another neurotransmitter responsible for controlling automatic bodily functions, such as blood circulation and bowel movements. Parkinson’s disease causes the nerve endings that produce norepinephrine to die, leading to problems like fatigue, constipation and low blood pressure (hypotension).
  • Lewy bodies in the brain: Research has found that people with Parkinson's disease often have clumps of protein, known as Lewy bodies, in their brain. These Lewy bodies can also be linked with other conditions, including Parkinson's disease dementia.  

So, how do you get Parkinson’s disease? On the whole, scientists agree that the condition is caused by a complex set of genetic and environmental factors, many of which are unknown. There is currently no cure for Parkinson’s disease, though clinical trials are taking place all over the world as we speak.

How to Prevent Parkinson’s Disease

There is no definite way to prevent Parkinson's disease. However, research suggests that the following lifestyle factors can make a difference:

Eating turmeric: Turmeric is an antioxidant, so it can help to prevent Lewy bodies in the brain, according to a laboratory study. Berries, apples and red grapes can also have the same effect.  

Avoiding aldehydes: Some scientists have linked aldehydes (toxic chemicals found in many reheated cooking oils) to increase the risk of neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson's disease and dementia.

Banishing toxic chemicals: Exposure to pesticides, herbicides and other toxins can increase the risk of neurological diseases. You should try to avoid these chemicals and make sure you wear the appropriate protective clothing if you do have to make contact.

The causes of Parkinson’s disease are largely unknown. However, these recent findings do help to shed light on the condition. Many people with Parkinson’s find that information helps them feel reassured and in control.

If you still have questions concerning Parkinson’s disease causes and treatment, it’s best to consult your doctor or contact a reputable organization for support, such as the National Parkinson’s Foundation Helpline (1-800-4PD-473-4636).

article references

APA Reference
Smith, E. (2020, February 9). Parkinson’s Causes: How Do You Get Parkinson’s Disease?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, August 5 from https://www.healthyplace.com/parkinsons-disease/parkinsons-causes-how-do-you-get-parkinsons-disease

Last Updated: February 18, 2020

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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