Home Brain and nerves Is Parkinson’s hereditary? and its risk factors

Is Parkinson’s hereditary? and its risk factors

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Parkinson’s is a chronic degenerative disease of the central nervous system that acts slowly and progressively and is characterized by causing a loss of the ability to control and coordinate movements. This disease usually manifests between 55 and 60 years of age, and although it may appear earlier, it is estimated that more than 70% of patients who suffer from it are over 65 years of age.

Parkinson’s is not a fatal disease; however, until now, there is no cure, although its progression varies greatly depending on the patient. The origin of this neurological disorder remains unclear, but the genetic cause is present in some diagnoses. So is Parkinson’s hereditary? We explain it to you in this FastlyHealarticle.

What is Parkinson’s?

Science has shown that this disease works by causing the degeneration and death of nerve cells located in the basal ganglia, especially in a specific region of the brain called the substantia nigra. Specifically, it is about the neurons in charge of manufacturing dopamine, a neurotransmitter that intervenes in the correct development of movements. When dopamine levels drop sharply, the characteristic symptoms of Parkinson’s can appear.

These symptoms include:

  • Tremors in the hands, arms, legs, jaw, and face, especially when at rest; when making a voluntary movement, they tend to decrease.
  • Muscle stiffness in the arms, legs, and trunk. This causes difficulties when moving these limbs and leads to the following symptom.
  • The slowness of movement or hypokinesia, both voluntary and involuntary, causes clumsiness and problems with writing.
  • Postural and gait disorders, balance and coordination problems that cause a tendency to drag the feet, slowness when walking, and blocks that can lead to falls.
  • Symptoms that do not affect movements include depression and anxiety, sleep disturbances, fatigue, memory loss, confusion, decreased smell, discomfort or pain in the extremities, and other disorders.

Is Parkinson’s hereditary?

The specific cause that causes Parkinson’s is unknown, except in cases triggered by trauma, drug dependence, or abuse of some medications. Generally, most studies conclude that several factors can converge and favor the development of the disease.

As far as the hereditary cause is concerned, it is believed that genetics could be one of these risk factors and contribute to the appearance of the pathology. It is estimated that only between 10 and 15% of patients have or have had another relative with Parkinson’s, both close and distant. In short, it cannot be determined that genetics is a fundamental factor in the development of the disease, and therefore it cannot be concluded that Parkinson’s is hereditary.

Risk factors for Parkinson’s

Regarding risk factors, the most recent studies have pointed out that exposure to certain viruses, pesticides, toxins, and solvents, along with other factors such as family history, the presence of free radicals, and the cellular oxidation that these originate, could favor their appearance. Therefore, these latest studies bet on a significant influence of environmental factors.

As we have commented previously, having suffered head injuries such as trauma or blows repeatedly can trigger Parkinson’s, a clinical situation that may or may not be due to Parkinson’s and causes the appearance of stiffness, tremors, and instability. In summary, Parkinson’s is not always hereditary; even though, in some cases, there is the presence of a genetic factor.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Is Parkinson’s hereditary? We recommend that you enter our category of Brain and nerves .

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