The cause of Parkinson’s disease (PD) is unknown, but scientists believe that a combination of genetic and environmental factors are the cause. The extent to which each factor is involved varies from person to person. Regardless of how a person gets Parkinson’s — through genetics or environment or a combination of both — every person with PD experiences a loss of dopamine in the brain, along with symptoms and a progression of their disease that is unique to them.

FAQs: Genetics & Parkinson’s

If I have Parkinson's disease (PD) will my child get it too? Will I inherit Parkinson's if my parent or grandparent has it?

Most people with Parkinson's (about 90%) have no known genetic link. Their children will likely never develop Parkinson's. There are some known genetic variations that increase the risk of getting Parkinson's, but most people with these variations do not get Parkinson's. Like many other diseases, Parkinson's is a result of a complex interaction between genes and environmental factors.

Genetic Counseling

If Parkinson's disease (PD) runs in your family and you want to get genetically tested, consult with a genetic counselor first. Discuss your reasons for being tested and the impact it may have on you and your family.

Genetic testing helps estimate the risk of developing Parkinson's, but is not a diagnosis and cannot provide a timeline for the possibility of developing the disease. A genetic counselor can discuss and interpret test results and related issues, while providing emotional support.

Genetic Testing

Always talk to your doctor about genetic testing in Parkinson's disease (PD) and speak to a genetic counselor before and after taking the test. Knowing your genetic status can provide a sense of empowerment and control and may lead to better treatment and care.

Understanding Genetics

People with Parkinson's disease (PD) experience major differences in their symptoms, responses to medications and side effects to treatments. Understanding genetic differences across people with Parkinson's can help uncover important clues about how and why each person's experience with PD differs.

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