ZocdocAnswersAre Parkinson?s and Alzheimer?s Disease connected in any way?

Question

Are Parkinson?s and Alzheimer?s Disease connected in any way?

My aunt has Parkinson?s and my grandmother on the same side has Alzheimer?s. Should I get checked for them regularly? I?m only in my 40?s now, is there an age when they set it in? Are they related as far as my family history is concerned?

Answer

Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease are separate from each other. First, Alzheimer's is primarily a form of dementia, meaning that there is deterioration in cognitive function of the person who has it, although other symptoms are also present. Alzheimer's is a chronic condition and it is progressive, meaning there is no definitive cure and it tends to get worse slowly over time. Parkinson's on the other hand is primarily a movement disorder. People who suffer from Parkinson's disease have tremors, stiffness of muscles, and difficulty initiating movement. Like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease is chronic and progressive. It can also include some component of dementia, like Alzheimer's, but this is not the primary symptom. Also medications for Parkinson's are more effective than medications for Alzheimer's, at least in the first stages. The most common forms of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's have some genetic component but it is not strongly inherited. This means that having family members may put you had risk, but modifying your risk factors through healthy living may help. This is particularly the case with Alzheimer's, where things like alcohol, tobacco, heart disease, and diabetes may all worsen your risk. Please talk to your doctor for more information about these conditions and their bearing on your personal health.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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