What Are the Causes of Parkinson’s Disease?

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Researchers don’t yet fully understand the causes of Parkinson’s disease. However, most believe the disorder is caused by a number of interrelated factors, ranging from genetic predisposition to environmental exposure. Ahead, learn about the potential causes of Parkinson’s disease. 

Old Age

Old age is the most important risk factor for Parkinson’s. Though the aging process affects each individual differently, cellular damage is a common result of age. When age-related cellular events combine with changing gene expression, it may increase the likelihood of Parkinson’s. While seniors may not be able to turn back time, they may make healthy lifestyle choices—from following a brain-healthy diet to getting regular exercise—that stave off cellular degeneration. 

If your loved one has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, he or she may benefit greatly from having a professional caregiver help with everyday tasks. Families looking for top-rated home care service providers may reach out to Assisting Hands Home Care. From respite care to specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care, there are many ways we may make life easier for seniors and their loved ones.

Environmental Factors

Exposure to certain toxins and substances may increase the risk of Parkinson’s. Studies suggest long-term exposure to pesticides and fungicides may be a risk factor. Agent Orange, the chemical used during the Vietnam War as a tactical herbicide, has also been linked to the development of Parkinson’s. Exposure to chemicals such as lead, manganese, and TCE may also be detrimental. 

Many people are unwittingly exposed to harmful chemicals due to where they live or work. While harmful exposure to toxins may not be reversible, seniors who know they’ve been exposed should limit future exposure and mitigate the damage by practicing healthy lifestyle habits. 

Genetics

Many researchers believe there’s a genetic component to Parkinson’s. According to current estimates, about 10 to 30 percent of Parkinson’s risk is related to genetic factors. Several Parkinson’s genes have been identified, including SNCA, PRKN, and GBA. 

While these genes increase the likelihood of Parkinson’s, their presence isn’t a guarantee of developing the disease. Because the disease is caused by a complex set of factors, these genetic mutations must combine with other factors, such as age, environment, and biological changes, before Parkinson’s may develop. 

Injuries

Head trauma has been linked to the development of Parkinson’s later in life. Injuries that lead to loss of consciousness or pronounced forgetfulness may make the brain more susceptible to Parkinson’s. 

Seniors are more likely than younger people to slip and fall around the house, which may lead to serious injuries. To prevent accidents, seniors should implement safety measures throughout their living environments. Common ideas include installing grab bars in bathrooms, clearing walkways of clutter, and increasing visibility with high-wattage light bulbs. 

Seniors in the later stages of Parkinson’s are often able to live at home, but they may need assistance from family members or other caregivers to do so safely. For many seniors in Cincinnati, OH, homecare is an essential component of aging in place safely and comfortably. However, it’s important for them to have caregivers they may trust and rely on. At Assisting Hands Home Care, we extensively screen all of our caregivers and only hire those who have experience in the senior home care industry. Our strict requirements ensure seniors may remain in the comfort of home with a reduced risk of injury or serious illness.

Potential Factors

Parkinson’s researchers aren’t able to fully explain what causes the disease, but they understand what happens to the brain when it develops: clumps of Lewy bodies form in specific brain regions. These clumps contain alpha-synuclein protein, a natural protein that may no longer be broken down by brain cells once it starts to clump. This abnormality damages the brain, and the dopamine-producing cells start to die. 

Dopamine is an important messenger that regulates feelings of pleasure, and when the body no longer has a sufficient supply, the symptoms of Parkinson’s start to emerge. Researchers are investigating a range of factors that may contribute to this process, such as gut health, inflammation, and cellular stress. 

Early diagnosis is critical because Parkinson’s disease may be particularly challenging in its final stages, and family caregivers may easily get overwhelmed. The type of in-home care Cincinnati, OH, seniors need may vary. Some need assistance a few hours a day, while others require more extensive around-the-clock assistance. At Assisting Hands Home Care, we tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual care needs, and the plans may be adjusted at any time. To hire a professionally trained caregiver for your parent, give us a call at 513-993-5025 today.