Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease that affects predominately dopamine-producing neurons in a specific area of the brain called substantia nigra. The cause remains largely unknown. Symptoms generally develop slowly over years. The symptoms affecting a person through Parkinson’s vary from one another. Even though a primary cause for Parkinson’s disease hasn’t been defined yet, there are several Parkinson’s risk factors that are believed to raise someone’s risk for Parkinson’s disease.
The Risk Factors for Parkinson’s Disease Are:
1. Advancing Age
Ageing remains the biggest risk factor for developing idiopathic Parkinson’s disease. Since it mostly affects people 60 and older, the risk goes up as the years go by. Ageing puts the neurons in the brain at risk to the extent that a slight change in protein metabolism or mitochondrial function that push the cells over the edge leading to catastrophic cell death and many of the symptoms seen in Parkinson’s disease. Although there are cases where Parkinson’s disease is seen in young adults, it generally manifests itself in the middle to late years of the human life. The risk is directly proportional to the increase of the age. Researchers have assumed that people with Parkinson’s disease have neural damage from the genetic or environmental factors that get worsened as the patient ages. The average age of the Parkinson’s disease onset is around 60 and most of the people who get this disease develop the condition after the age of 50. Around, 5 to 10 percent of people get the disease before the age of 40.
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2. Family History
Having close relatives with the disease increases the chances of inheriting this disease but to a minimal degree. Therefore, there is a link towards the genes when it comes to Parkinson’s. Having a parent or sibling with Parkinson’s disease is thought to nearly double your risk of developing the disease. Five to 10 percent of people who have Parkinson’s disease also have a family member with it.
By studies it has been shown that males are evidently more likely to get the disease than females. The possible reason for this is that males have a greater exposure to the risk factors such as toxin exposure and head trauma. According to theories, Estrogen has neuro-protective effects.
4. Agricultural work- Agricultural work usually involves prolonged occupational exposure to the toxins which include manganese and other heavy metals and as well as some pesticides and herbicides that have been associated with an increased risk of the disease and Parkinson’s disease-like conditions. Farming or the factory jobs cause a person to have contact with chemicals linked to the disease. The exposure to the environmental toxins such as pesticides and herbicides puts one at the greater risk of inheriting this disease. Some of the toxins inhibit the dopamine production and hence, gradually promote free radical damage. Those who are involved in farming exposed to the toxins that have a greater prevalence of Parkinson’s disease symptoms.
5. Genetic Factors
Studies have showed that individuals with a more active gene had a 1.5 times greater risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. The findings support that the development of alpha synuclein therapies, that may, in the long run, slow or even halt the disease. Synuclein gene is involved in blocking toxins from being properly disposed of in the brain leading to the death of healthy brain cells which obviously leads the risk towards Parkinson’s disease looked from a genetic prospect
6. Head Trauma
Recent research points to a link between damage to the head, neck, or upper cervical spine and Parkinson’s disease. A lot of patients remembered a specific incident, others did not. In some cases Parkinson’s disease symptoms took decades to appear.
People who have used sleeping pills or anti-anxiety or antidepressant medications for one year or more are at a greater risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. It is possible that this finding may simply be because depression and anxiety occur very early in Parkinson Diseased, even before Parkinson’s disease is diagnosed not because these drugs bring on Parkinson’s.