I have heard of Parkinson's Disease. I don't understand how you get it. I was told you are born with it. Is this true and how do you know if you have it or not? (anonymous)Hide Answer
At this time, we really don't know if one is "born" with Parkinson's disease or becomes affected with it as he grows older. One theory suggests that some people are born with fewer dopamine-producing cells (either genetically or that there is some problem during pregnancy - such as trauma or a virus - which contributes to being born with fewer dopamine-producing cells). Then, as the individual ages and naturally loses cells, this person would pass the 80% dopaminergic neuronal loss that is needed before PD symptoms appear. Other theories suggest some sort of environmental insult causing the drop in dopamine cells. Unfortunately, we just don't know yet as these are theories that must either be proven or disproven via research. How do you know you have Parkinson's disease? The best way is to consult a neurologist who specializes in movement disorders. Neurology, while a specialty itself, is split into sub-specialties. Parkinson's disease is a movement disorder so one who has additional training in movement disorders, and thus sees primarily patients with such movement disorders, is the best type of physician to consult for a diagnosis.