Skip to content

Parkinson's Disease Health Center

Font Size

Parkinson's Disease - Cause

Low levels of dopamine, a brain chemical involved in controlling movement, cause symptoms of Parkinson's disease. Low levels happen when nerve cells in a part of the brain that makes dopamine break down. The exact cause of this breakdown isn't known.

Scientists are looking for links between Parkinson's disease and genetics, aging, toxins in the environment, and free radicals. Although these studies are beginning to provide some answers, experts don't know the exact cause of the disease.

Recommended Related to Parkinson's

10 Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Parkinson's Disease

1. Why did I develop Parkinson's disease? 2. What are my treatment options? 3. What are the pros and cons of each treatment? 4. What short-term and long-term side effects can I expect from the treatment? Is there anything I can do to minimize them? 5. Can you recommend any support groups for my family and me? 6. Are there any non-drug options that might help? What lifestyle modifications can I...

Read the 10 Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Parkinson's Disease article > >

Only a small percentage of people with Parkinson's have a parent, brother, or sister who has the disease. But abnormal genes do seem to be a factor in a few families where early-onset Parkinson's is common.

There are many other causes of parkinsonism, which is a group of symptoms that includes tremor, muscle stiffness, slow movement, and unsteady walking. Parkinsonism mimics Parkinson's disease, but in fact is not Parkinson's disease.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: April 18, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    Parkinsons disease illustration
    Causes, symptoms, and treatments.
    hands on walker
    How does the disease progress?
    man with serious expression
    8 common questions and answers.
    intelligence quotient illustration
    What are the advantages of DBS?
    Parkinsons Disease Medications
    Questions Doctor Parkinsons
    Eating Right
    Parkinsons Exercise
    daughter consoling depressed mother
    senior man's hands
    Parkinsons Daily

    WebMD Special Sections