What environmental factors can cause Parkinson’s


While Parkinson’s, is generally considered a genetic illness, appearing in people who are 60 years old and older, there are cases that Parkinson’s can be caused by environmental factors, and in people much younger than 60.

When I was diagnosed, the doctor went through a whole list of environmental factors that could have caused my Parkinson’s disease. I should warn you not to harp on any of these, however. Finding the reason my bring some closure, or it might bring heartache. Don’t think “what ifs”. You have Parkinson’s, it’s incurable, and that’s that. Move forward and make the best of the life you DO have!

Without further ado:

  1. Pesticides – If you grew up on a farm, or your water access was tainted with runoff from pesticides, this could be a cause of Parkinson’s. When I was about 12 years old, Los Angeles county was sprayed for Medfly infestation via helicopter. Residents were told the pesticides being sprayed were harmless, but who knows?
  2. Heavy metals – No, not like Motley Crue, but rather more like lead poisoning from lead pipes in your home or school. This has been shown to be a possible cause of Parkinson’s. Lead poisoning has actually caused many other illnesses besides Parkinson’s and is one of the reasons the lead in your pencil, your toothpaste, the paint your home is painted with, and your home’s pipes have no lead in them anymore.
  3. Head injuries – Concussions and other head injuries, may be a cause of Parkinson’s. If you practiced boxing, played football, or hit your head a lot or had many concussions, these may be causes of Parkinson’s. The most famous story here is that of Muhammad Ali, who was suspected to have gotten Parkinson’s after a long career in boxing.
  4. Other chemicals – My family was one of painters, and I spent my youth around a wide array of chemicals that could have caused Parkinson’s. Paint thinner, oil-based paint, as well as household cleaners could definitely cause Parkinson’s.
  5. Hard drugs – Research has shown that some poorly made hard drugs such as cocaine, may cause instantaneous Parkinson’s, which means your body reacts poorly to the cocaine, and your body is instantly frozen and Parkinson’s is onset immediately. Here’s an article about it.

Many of these are proven environmental factors for Parkinson’s, while others are only suspected causes. Again, it’s good to know for your own closure on the topic, but move forward and make the most of the time you have left on this planet!

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Nick Pernisco is the Parkinson’s Warrior, a person with Parkinson’s who has dedicated his life to helping others with Parkinson’s. Get the Parkinson’s Warrior book here. Join the discussion on Facebook.