ZocdocAnswersIs Parkinson's disease hereditary?

Question

Is Parkinson's disease hereditary?

Will I get it if my father had it? I am a 24 year old male and it wreaked havoc on our family.

Answer

Parkinson's disease is a complex disease of the brain that primarily effects movement and thinking. Patients with Parkinson's disease tend to have trouble initiating movements and thus, have trouble getting around. They often also have a tremor which can make things more difficult. Dementia and difficulty interacting with people can also be affected. The cause in an individual case of Parkinson's disease is usually not known. There have been links between Parkinson's disease and pesticide exposure and smoking tobacco. Most cases of the disease are not considered to have a genetic basis (in other words they are not inherited). There are however a small percentage of people that get Parkinson's disease because of a specific gene they inherited from their parents. Thus, there is a small chance that your father's disease was based on one of these genes. If it was, there is a chance that any of his kids could get it. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she can discuss any symptoms you are having and you can talk about your family history. If you have other relatives other than you father with Parkinson's then you may warrant a referral to a genetic specialist. If you don't, then the likelihood that you have a Parkinson's predisposition is probably too low to be worth pursuing. I hope that answer helped.

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