Causes and Risk Factors of Parkinson’s Disease

While scientists are yet to determine the exact cause (s) of Parkinson’s, here are a few associated risk factors to look out for: 

Low dopamine levels:

Scientists have linked low or falling levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter, with Parkinson’s disease. This happens when cells that produce dopamine die in the brain.

Dopamine plays a role in sending messages to the part of the brain that controls movement and coordination. Low dopamine levels can make it harder for people to control their movements.

As dopamine levels fall in a person with Parkinson’s disease, their symptoms gradually become more severe.

Low norepinephrine levels:

Norepinephrine, another neurotransmitter, is important for controlling many automatic body functions, such as the circulation of the blood.

In Parkinson’s disease, the nerve endings that produce this neurotransmitter die. This may explain why people with Parkinson’s disease experience not only movement problems but also fatigue, constipation, and orthostatic hypotension, when blood pressure changes on standing up, leading to light-headedness.

Lewy bodies:

A person with Parkinson’s disease may have clumps of protein in their brain known as Lewy bodies. Lewy body dementia is a different condition, but it has links with Parkinson’s disease.

Genetic factors:

Sometimes, Parkinson’s disease appears to run in families, but it is not always hereditary. Researchers are trying to identify specific genetic factors that may lead to Parkinson’s disease, but it appears that not one but a number of factors are responsible.

For this reason, they suspect that a combination for genetic and environmental factors may lead to the condition.

Possible environmental factors could include exposure to toxins, such as pesticides, solvents, metals, and other pollutants.

Autoimmune factors:

Scientists reported Trusted Source in JAMA in 2017 that they had found evidence of a possible genetic link between Parkinson’s disease and autoimmune conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis.

In 2018, researchers investigating health records in Taiwan found that people with autoimmune rheumatic diseases (ARD) had a 1.37-higher chanceTrusted Source of also having Parkinson’s disease than people without ARD.

Risk Reduction Practices

It is not possible to prevent Parkinson’s disease, but research has shown that some lifelong habits may help to reduce the risk.

Turmeric:

This spice contains curcumin, an antioxidant ingredient. It may help to prevent the clumping of a protein involved in Parkinson’s disease, at least one laboratory study has found.

Flavonoids:

Consuming another type of antioxidant — flavonoids — may lower the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, according to research. Flavonoids are present in berries, apples, some vegetables, tea, and red grapes.

Avoiding reheated cooking oils:

Scientists have linked toxic chemicals, known as aldehydes, to Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases, and some cancers.

Heating certain oils — such as sunflower oil — to a certain temperature, and then using them again can cause aldehydes to occur in those oils.

Avoiding toxins:

Exposure to herbicides, pesticides, and other toxins may increase the risk of neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease. People should take precautions when using these types of product, for example, by using protective clothing.

Gotten from Medical News Today


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