Understanding Parkinson’s Disease: What You Need to Know

 In Brain Tune Up!, Functional Medicine

Have you ever wished for a concise way to grasp the intricacies of Parkinson’s disease? From its myriad symptoms and treatments to its possible causes, navigating the necessary information to effectively support those affected by this debilitating condition can be challenging. Welcome to the start of a mini-series on Parkinson’s disease, where we will explore its prevalence, causative factors, and key risk elements. Whether you or someone close to you is dealing with Parkinson’s or just looking to learn more, you’ve come to the right place! Join us in this series as we give you a comprehensive overview of everything related to Parkinson’s – from its signs and treatments to ongoing research and exciting potential breakthroughs. Let’s dive in!



How Common is Parkinson’s Disease?

To start, Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that primarily affects movement. In the United States alone, approximately one million people were living with Parkinson’s in 2021. However, the actual prevalence can change over time due to various factors, including population growth and improved diagnostic methods.


The risk of developing Parkinson’s increases with age, making it more common in older individuals, typically starting around age 60 or older. It can occur in younger people too, although less frequently. Interestingly, men are slightly more likely to develop Parkinson’s than women.


Recent research has shown that the incidence of new Parkinson’s cases in the U.S. is 50 percent higher than previously estimated, with almost 90,000 diagnoses each year. Some geographic regions, particularly the Rust Belt areas in the Northeastern and Midwestern U.S., have higher incidence rates.


Factors That Contribute to Parkinson’s Disease


While the exact cause of Parkinson’s remains a mystery, researchers have identified several factors that may increase the risk of developing the condition:


  1. Age: Parkinson’s risk rises with age, with the highest prevalence among those over 60.


  1. Genetics: Certain genetic mutations and variations are associated with an increased risk, but they are relatively rare and account for a small percentage of cases.


  1. Family History: Having a close relative with Parkinson’s, such as a parent or sibling, increases the likelihood of developing the condition, but most cases do not have a clear family history.


  1. Gender: Men are slightly more likely to develop Parkinson’s, although the reasons for this are not fully understood.


  1. Environmental Factors: Prolonged exposure to certain pesticides, herbicides, industrial chemicals, and head injuries may contribute to an increased risk.


It’s important to note that having these risk factors does not guarantee the development of Parkinson’s. The disease likely results from a combination of genetic and environmental factors, and more research is needed to fully comprehend it.


Genetics and Parkinson’s

For identical twins, if one twin has Parkinson’s, the risk for the other twin is higher than the general population but not 100 percent. It’s estimated to be between 10 and 30 percent. Non-identical twins or siblings have a lower risk, about 2 to 5 percent higher than the general population.


Lifestyle Factors and Parkinson’s

Sleep quality can significantly impact individuals with Parkinson’s disease. Quality sleep can reduce motor symptoms, enhance cognitive function, improve mood, increase energy levels, make medications more effective, and reduce the risk of falls.


Consulting with a healthcare professional, such as a neurologist or sleep specialist, is crucial for developing a tailored approach to managing sleep disturbances in Parkinson’s.


Neurodegeneration in Movement and Mobility 

In conclusion, Parkinson’s disease is a condition that affects movement and mobility. Even though the cause of Parkinson’s is largely unknown, there are some factors that have been identified as possibly contributing. Genetics can play a role, as well as lifestyle decisions and environmental exposure. We still lack a comprehensive understanding of Parkinson’s, but it is becoming more commonplace in our society due to the increasing aging population. 


If you or someone you know might be exhibiting signs of Parkinson’s Disease, please contact your healthcare provider for an evaluation so that appropriate treatment can be provided. Additionally, consider reaching out to organizations such as Sharlin Health and Neurology, dedicated to helping those affected by Parkinson’s Disease to better understand what resources may be available. Discover how to live a fulfilling life despite its challenges. Let Dr. Ken Sharlin and his transformative Brain Tune-Up program be your trusted companions, guiding you toward a healthier and happier existence, even in the face of Parkinson’s. Stay tuned for invaluable insights and empowering knowledge!


No matter where you stand in your battle with Parkinson’s disease—whether it has just entered your life or you’ve been grappling with this unique medical condition—there are plentiful resources and support teams eager to assist you. If you or someone you know has recently received a Parkinson’s diagnosis, reach out to us today to schedule a discovery call and explore the array of options at your disposal.


If you’re experiencing Parkinson’s Disease and would like help getting to the bottom of it, we’d be happy to schedule a discovery call[ with you. During this call, we can discuss your symptoms in more detail and come up with a plan tailored specifically for you.


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DISCLAIMER:  The information in this email is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. All content is for general informational purposes only and does not replace a consultation with your own doctor/health professional

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