Parkinson's Disease (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
What Increases Your Risk
Risk factors for Parkinson's disease are hard to identify, because the cause of the disease is unknown. Advancing age is the only known risk factor for typical Parkinson's disease (not including early-onset Parkinson's). Most instances of Parkinson's disease occur after age 50, although the illness does occur in people between the ages of 30 and 50, or in rare cases at a younger age.
A very small number of people with Parkinson's have a close relative who also has the disease. But it does not appear that a family history of typical Parkinson's disease significantly increases your risk for the disease. Having a family history of the disease is a more significant risk factor in cases of early-onset Parkinson's disease, but this form of the disease is not common.
Some research suggests that long-term exposure to certain environmental factors such as pesticides, chemicals, or well water may increase a person's risk of developing Parkinson's disease. But this has not been proved.
There are many other causes of parkinsonism, which is a group of symptoms that includes tremor, muscle stiffness, slow movement, and unsteady walking. Parkinsonism mimics Parkinson's disease, but in fact is not Parkinson's disease.
When To Call a Doctor
The symptoms of Parkinson's disease develop slowly over months.
If you think you may have symptoms of Parkinson's disease, see your doctor. Urgent medical care is not needed if you have had a tremor for some time. But you should discuss the tremor at your next doctor's appointment. If a tremor is affecting your daily activities or if it is a new symptom, see your doctor sooner.
If you have been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, call your doctor if:
If you have been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, you will need to see members of your health care team regularly (every 3 to 6 months, or as directed) for adjustments in your treatment as your condition changes.
If you notice a tremor developing, watch and record its development. Discuss it with your doctor at the next possible opportunity. A written description will help your doctor make a correct diagnosis. In writing your description, consider the following questions:
For more questions that will help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis, read about medical history and Parkinson's disease.
Who To See
The following health professionals can help diagnose or treat Parkinson's disease:
Other health professionals who may be involved in your care include:
To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
To learn more visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2012 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Get breaking medical news.