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What causes PD?

No one is sure, but many risk factors have been discovered which likely contribute to developing Parkinson's disease. The extent to which each risk factor is involved though is still not understood from person to person.

Aging

  • Is considered one of the primary risk factors because it is very uncommon before the age of 30, and incidence rates increases with age.
  • It has been established that there is a decline in dopamine concentrations of 5-8% per decade after the age of 30.

Family link or genetic predisposition

  • Research studies show a genetic link or predisposition associated with developing Parkinson's disease. White males are more likely to be diagnosed with Parkinson's disease than African American males and Asian males are at lower risk than both white and African American males.
  • There are mutations on 11 genes found in three different regions of the brain currently being investigated in association with PD.

Environmental triggers
There have been a number of chemicals, injuries and infections associated with an increased risk of developing PD including:

  • Head injuries
  • Exposure to certain environmental toxins
  • Pesticides
  • Heavy metals
  • Welding exhaust
  • Viral infections
  • Increased oxidative stress
  • Mitochondrial dysfunction

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