9 Facts About Parkinson’s Disease Everyone Should Know

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3. Diagnosing it is not easy. Early detection may improve future treatments

One incredibly frustrating aspect of Parkinson’s disease is how difficult it is to diagnose. In fact, there is no universal way to diagnose it. Instead there is a variety of exams and diagnostic tests which physicians use. For this reason, Parkinson’s can be misdiagnosed. However, for a neurologist to make a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, two of these four symptoms must be present:

  • Resting tremor
  • Bradykinesia (slowness of movement)
  • Stiffness in the arms, legs, or trunk
  • Postural Instability- Trouble with balance

4. The cause is still unknown

Another frustrating thing about Parkinson’s is that the cause of it is still unknown. While scientists do know some of factors which can increase a person’s risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, there is not one specific cause. In many cases, a person may not have any of the known risk factors.  Some cases are thought to be genetic (about 10-15% of cases), but the other cases are thought to be unrelated to genetic factors (85-90% of cases).

There are some environmental risk factors that can increase a person’s odds of developing the disease, for example, traumatic brain injury. In addition, exposure to certain environmental contaminants, such as herbicide, heavy metals, and certain pesticides may also influence the risk.

 

5. It is not a disease of old age

A common misconception is that Parkinson’s disease is only diagnosed in older adults. About 1% of individuals over the age of 60 have Parkinson’s disease, and it is most commonly diagnosed in individuals in this group. However, it may also affect younger individuals. In fact, about 4% of people diagnosed with Parkinson’s are younger than 50.

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