Common Questions

Can anyone get Parkinson's?

Categories : About Parkinson's

Yes, but the risk isn’t the same for everyone.

It is not yet known why people get Parkinson’s disease. It develops because nerve cells begin to die in a region of the brain called the substantia nigra. Parkinson’s disease affects more men than women and it is known that factors such as age, exposure to certain substances in the environment, and your genes can increase the likelihood of its development. [1,2] Parkinson’s disease typically develops in middle or later life, most patients being at least 60 years of age before its symptoms are noticeable. [3] About 15% of patients who develop Parkinson’s disease have a history of the disease in their family. In fact, research has identified changes in certain genes which cause Parkinson’s disease that are inherited in these families. Small differences in other genes can also make Parkinson’s disease more likely to develop even if you have no family history of the disease. [1,4] Environmental factors that may make Parkinson’s disease more likely are the focus of ongoing research. The results of such research can sometimes seem contradictory, but occupational exposure to chemicals such as pesticides, or to heavy metals such as mercury, use of drugs such as cocaine, amphetamine and methamphetamine, or a diet high in saturated fats all seem to be factors that increase your risk of developing the disease. [2,4] There is even some relatively new evidence that the types of bacteria in your gut may be a factor. [5]


date of preparation February 2020