If Parkinson’s seems to run in your family, you may ask — is Parkinson’s disease hereditary? Although most cases are not hereditary, genes do play a role.
You may worry you’ll develop Parkinson’s disease (PD) one day if one or more members of your family have been diagnosed with the progressive neurological disease. And if you have Parkinson’s, you could be concerned your children are at risk for the movement disorder when they become adults.
So it’s understandable in these circumstances to ask your doctor an obvious question: Is Parkinson’s disease hereditary? But the answer, it turns out, isn’t a simple “yes” or “no.”
Is Parkinson’s disease hereditary?
Some cases of Parkinson’s disease are hereditary, but only about 10 to 15 percent, the Parkinson’s Foundation points out. PD that begins before the age of 50 is called early-onset Parkinson’s and is often –inherited, and some forms have been linked to specific gene mutations, the National Institute on Aging explains.
It’s also documented that having a first degree relative (parent or sibling) with Parkinson’s disease does increase your risk of having the disease.
Parkinson’s disease and your genes
The vast majority of Parkinson’s disease cases, 85 to 90 percent, are called sporadic (or occasional) and not labeled as hereditary, according to the Parkinson’s Foundation. In fact, most cases of Parkinson disease occur in people with no known family history of the disease.
While sporadic cases are not considered examples that Parkinson’s disease is hereditary, there may be undiscovered inheritance patterns that play a role in raising the risk of PD, the National Institutes of Health explains.
March 16, 2020
Janet O’Dell, RN