Navigating Parkinson’s disease (PD) can feel like a never-ending learning curve. PD Conversations is a place to ask your Parkinson’s questions and connect with others living with the disease. In this blog series, we highlight a high-interest question answered by the Parkinson’s Foundation Helpline on PD Conversations.
Question: My father and his father both had Parkinson’s. I’m wondering if this is a disease that I and my children should be concerned about possibly inheriting? If so, is there a way or place we can get tested? None of us currently show any signs or symptoms.
Parkinson's Foundation Helpline
Contact our Helpline at 1-800-4PD-INFO (1-800-473-4636) or Helpline@Parkinson.org for answers to your Parkinson’s questions. Helpline specialists can assist you in English or Spanish, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET.
Currently scientists find that genetics alone cause only 10% to 15% of all people's Parkinson’s. If through genetic testing a person is positive for a certain gene mutation associated with Parkinson’s (such as LRRK2, GBA and SNCA genes) then their risk may increase, but they may never develop Parkinson’s. Genetic testing for these and other genes can be done, but it will not be able to predict the probability for you or your kids to develop the disease.
Testing may be able to calculate your risk. A complicated interplay between environmental and genetic factors are thought to be the main reasons why the vast majority develop Parkinson’s.
I can understand your wish to know more about genetics and Parkinson’s because of your family history, it might be helpful to first talk with a genetic counselor about why you want the test and what impact the results will have on you and your family. If you want to read more about this, we have additional information on Parkinson.org/Genetics.
You can also learn more about the Parkinson’s Foundation PD GENEration study that offers genetic testing for Parkinson's-related genes and genetic counseling at no cost for people with Parkinson’s disease.