More than 100,000 Canadians live with Parkinson’s, and more than 6,600 new cases of the debilitating disorder are diagnosed every year. The disease process develops in the subtantia nigra region of the brain where dopamine-producing neurons begin malfunctioning and eventually die. Without sufficient levels of dopamine, seniors lose control of their motor control. While physicians remain in the dark as to the precise reason Parkinson’s disease occurs, they have a number of theories revolving around contributing factors.
1. Genetic Mutations
Approximately 15 percent of people with Parkinson’s have a family member who also developed the disorder. Having a parent or sibling with Parkinson’s increases the likelihood that other family members will eventually develop the disease process. Geneticists believe the genes in neurons that produce dopamine may have undergone various types of mutations that lead to cellular malfunction. Genetic mutations increase the risk of Parkinson’s by 10 percent. Having multiple types of mutations increases the chance further.
If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of elderly care Toronto, ON, families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
2. Age Plus Gender
The aging process may play a major role in Parkinson’s, as people typically don’t exhibit symptoms and aren’t diagnosed with the disorder before the age of 60. However, 4 percent of men develop the disease before the age of 50. In fact, the disease process is more prevalent in men. Men are 1.5 times more likely to develop Parkinson’s compared to their female counterparts.
3. Environmental Factors
Long-term exposure to toxic chemicals may cause neuron damage that leads to Parkinson’s. The long list of suspect chemicals include fungicides, herbicides, and pesticides. Other possible toxins include lead, manganese, and trichloroethylene. People may become exposed to the chemicals if they’re airborne, in the water supply, or hidden in the ground. Ground-based chemicals leach into the water supply or the grains and produce grown in the soil. When people drink contaminated water or consume exposed foods, they have an increased likelihood of developing Parkinson’s. Military personnel exposed to Agent Orange also have a high risk of developing the disorder.
There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to manage if their families opt for professional in-home care. You can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep your loved one safe and comfortable while aging in place.
4. Certain Occupations
Some jobs require workers to come in contact with harmful agents. Agricultural workers use a variety of chemicals to enhance crop production. But, in the process, the compounds might be absorbed through the skin or inhaled. Welders and industrial workers are also exposed to harmful compounds that are often airborne and inhaled.
5. Lewy Body Formations
The presence of Lewy bodies in neurons leads many researchers to believe the lesions have a direct link to Parkinson’s development. The lesions contain a substance known as alpha-synuclein, which plays a role in neurodegeneration by mutating the genes in the affected neurons. The mutations encourage the development of the alpha-synuclein protein and the SNCA gene, which has been associated with familial forms of Parkinson’s. Areas in the brain where the proteins form cause the cells to become more susceptible to stress and subsequent neurological diseases.
Providing care for a loved one with Parkinson’s can be challenging. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Toronto, ON, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity. To schedule a complimentary in-home consultation, call us today at (416) 488-8777.