Does Parkinson's disease run in families?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

The cause of Parkinson's disease is unclear, so it isn't known with certainty what role genetics play. It is believed that those with a relative with Parkinson's are at a higher risk of developing the condition, though. Up to 20 percent of Parkinson's patients are related to someone with the disease.

Dr. Nader Pouratian, MD

Having a family member with Parkinson’s disease can significantly increase your risk of being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. In general, 1-to-2 percent of the population over the age of 65 will be diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Those with close relatives with Parkinson’s disease have approximately three-to-four times the risk of the general population of being diagnosed with the disease.

People who have Parkinson's disease and a strong family history of Parkinson's disease can be considered to have a genetic component to the disease. The genetic component usually is seen in people that have Parkinson's disease that present much younger than 65 and also if they do have a strong family history. A number of genes have been isolated for Parkinson’s, but testing for this is not routinely done because it does not change the management.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.