6 Major Reasons Seniors Develop Parkinson’s Disease

By Patricia Schumacher, 9:00 am on

Even though the exact causes of Parkinson’s disease are still unknown, some of the world’s leading researchers have been able to identify the primary risk factors. A few of those risk factors are out of our control, but seniors can still do quite a bit to reduce their risk of developing this disorder. Here’s a quick glimpse at six of the primary risk factors for Parkinson’s along with steps seniors can take to protect their neurological health as they grow older.

Genetics

According to the American Parkinson Disease Association, genetics is responsible for around 10 percent of all cases of this condition. Scientists have been able to identify at least a few specific gene mutations and defects that trigger Parkinson’s. Seniors who have family histories of Parkinson’s should speak with their doctors about being tested for those mutations. 

Early diagnosis is critical because Parkinson’s disease can be particularly challenging in its final stages, and family caregivers can easily get overwhelmed. Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Rhode Island Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.

Exposure to Toxins

Over the last few decades, several toxic products hit the market, and many people were exposed to those chemicals and compounds for years without realizing it. Some of the worst offenders include pesticides, compressed gases, dyes, and degreasing solutions. These cases are particularly common among those who worked in industries such as agriculture and construction. Older adults who were employed in those industries should consider early Parkinson’s screening. 

Exposure to Heavy Metals

In addition to certain toxins being major risk factors for this disease, some heavy metals seem to play a role as well. When an individual is exposed to heavy metals such as manganese or lead, it can increase the risk of developing a variety of neurodegenerative disorders. Older adults and their loved ones should keep an eye out for any signs of heavy metal poisoning, including fatigue, irritability, seizures, colic, and hypertension. 

Lewy Bodies in the Brain

Lewy bodies are clusters of protein that clog up nerve cells in the brain, and those masses have been linked to many different health issues. An individual who has Lewy bodies will generally develop Parkinson’s and some form of dementia later on in life. Treatment plans for these diseases usually involve various forms of therapy and medication to control symptoms.

Seniors in the later stages of Parkinson’s can live at home, but they will need assistance from a family member or other caregiver to do so safely. For many seniors in Rhode Island, live-in care is an essential component of aging in place safely and comfortably. However, it’s important for them to have caregivers they can trust and rely on. At Home Care Assistance, we extensively screen all of our live-in and 24-hour caregivers and only hire those who have experience in the senior home care industry. Our strict requirements ensure seniors can remain in the comfort of home with a reduced risk of injury or serious illness.

Repeated Brain Injuries

According to a recent study published in the journal Neurology, traumatic brain injury is closely associated with an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease, which is just one of the reasons older adults must do everything in their power to prevent brain injuries. Regularly exercising and staying active are two of the most effective ways to prevent brain injuries, but some seniors must also eventually use mobility devices such as walkers or wheelchairs.

Substance Abuse

The long-term abuse of alcohol or drugs could trigger Parkinson’s disease or another similar disorder. If you have an aging loved one who seems to be facing difficulty with substance abuse, immediately seek out professional help. Addiction treatment is more effective than ever and can enhance many facets of your loved one’s life.

If your loved one has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, he or she may get a great deal of benefit from having a professional caregiver help with everyday tasks. Families looking for top-rated home care service providers can reach out to Home Care Assistance. From respite care to specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care, there are many ways we can make life easier for seniors and their loved ones. Home Care Assistance will work with you to customize a care plan that’s just right for your loved one’s needs. Call us today at (401) 284-0979 to discuss how we can give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing your loved one is being cared for with professionalism and compassion.