Everyday Health recently featured an article outlining essential information about Parkinson’s disease (PD). The piece included facts from staff at The Michael J. Fox Foundation and covered subjects including common but lesser known non-motor symptoms, current treatments and the potential causes of PD.
The cause of Parkinson’s is still unknown. A combination of genetic and environmental factors are thought to contribute to the risk of getting Parkinson’s, says Catherine Kopil, PhD, director of research programs for MJFF. Several genetic mutations have been found that are linked to Parkinson’s disease, and lifestyle may also play a role. Those who drink caffeine-containing drinks, for instance, have been found to have a lower risk of getting Parkinson’s, although a cause-and-effect relationship has not been proven.
Misconceptions about diagnosis and age of onset were discussed as well.
Parkinson’s disease is not just an ”old person’s disease.” A prominent case in point is actor Michael J. Fox, now 54, who was diagnosed in 1991 at age 29. “We call it young-onset Parkinson’s at age 40 or under,” says neurologist and movement disorder specialist Rachel Dolhun, MD, vice president of medical communication. More typical, she says, is to be diagnosed in your 50s or 60s.
The article also provided some tips for living well with Parkinson’s, including how to initiate conversations with your doctor, use tools like Fox Trial Finder to locate clinical trials and manage stress.
Stress can make the condition worse; telling people about the condition can ease it.Stress can increase symptoms, Dolhun says. For some, one source of that stress is hiding the condition from coworkers, family and friends, she says. “The majority of people we talk to who say they have shared their story with family and friends say they wish they would have done it sooner,” she says.