This Trait Increases Your Parkinson's Risk by 80 Percent, New Study Finds

New research has linked this common personality trait with Parkinson's disease.

From Alzheimer's to Parkinson's disease, there are a number of progressive conditions that can wreak havoc later in life. As you get older, you may find yourself worrying more about these diseases that can affect your body and your brain. Unfortunately, it can be a challenge to determine your risk factors for developing these conditions—especially when it comes to Parkinson's. However, one new study has pinpointed a common trait that actually increases your Parkinson's disease risk by 80 percent. Read on to find out if your personality could be a risk factor, and for more ways to stay healthy as you age, Doing This One Thing Twice a Day Lowers Your Dementia Risk, Study Says.

People with neuroticism are more likely to develop Parkinson's disease.

Home caregiver helping senior woman to walk
iStock

Researchers from the Florida State University College of Medicine have concluded that people with neuroticism are more likely to get Parkinson's disease, publishing their findings April 4 in the Movement Disorders journal. The researchers looked at data collected from the UK Biobank, which assessed nearly half a million people aged 40 to 69 for neuroticism in the mid-to-late '90s and followed them for 12 years. According to the study, those who scored in the top quartile of neuroticism had more than a 80 percent increased risk of developing Parkinson's than those who scored lower for neuroticism.

"In the largest cohort to date and a meta-analysis of prospective studies we found consistent evidence that scoring higher on neuroticism is associated with a higher risk of incident Parkinson's disease," the researchers stated in their study. And for more on managing your risk, These 2 Vitamins Reduce Your Risk of Parkinson's Disease, New Study Says.

Neuroticism is a personality trait linked to negative emotions.

Thoughtful man sitting by window in bedroom at home
iStock

According to the study, "neuroticism is a personality trait that measures individual differences in the tendency to experience negative emotions, vulnerability to stress, inability to resist urges, and self-consciousness." People with neuroticism are more likely to have depressed moods and more likely to experience frequent and severe feelings of guilt, envy, anger, and anxiety, per Medical News Today.

"Some clinicians think that the anxiety and depression is just the result of Parkinson's," Antonio Terracciano, PhD, one of the study researchers and a professor of geriatrics, said in a statement. "However, our findings suggest that some emotional vulnerability is present early in life, years before the development of Parkinson's disease

But Parkinson's disease is not the only trouble people with neuroticism face. Terracciano also said that "individuals who score high in neuroticism are at higher risk for poor health outcomes across the lifespan, particularly in the domain of mental health and neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease and related dementias." And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.

There is no cure for Parkinson's disease, but treatments are available to help manage symptoms.

Senior woman holding medical pills and a glass of water on the bed
iStock

Parkinson's disease is a progressive nervous system disorder that typically starts gradually but overwhelmingly affects your movement over time, according to the Mayo Clinic. It's brought on by decreased dopamine production in the brain. "Parkinson's disease symptoms worsen as your condition progresses over time," they note. The disease cannot be cured, but certain medications may be able to help manage your symptoms and your doctor may suggest surgery to regulate certain regions of your brain in order help improve symptoms as well. According to the Parkinson's Foundation, around 60,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with Parkinson's disease every year, and nearly 10 million people in the world have this disease. And for more you may want to know as you get older, The Age When You're "Over the Hill" Is Not What You Thought, New Survey Says.

Symptoms of Parkinson's disease usually start on one side of your body.

Elderly woman suffering from pain in hand at home, she is sitting in armchair in her room
iStock

Per the Mayo Clinic, early symptoms of Parkinson's disease may go unnoticed, but they usually begin on one side of your body and remain worse on that side even as they begin to affect both sides. These symptoms can include a tremor (which usually begins in your hands or fingers), slowed movement, rigid muscles, impaired posture and balance, loss of automatic movements, speech changes, and writing changes. "See your doctor if you have any of the symptoms associated with Parkinson's disease—not only to diagnose your condition but also to rule out other causes for your symptoms," the experts at the Mayo Clinic recommend. And for more signs of serious health issues, If You're Sweating at Night, It Could Be a Sign of These Kinds of Cancer.

Kali Coleman
Kali is an assistant editor at Best Life. Read more
Filed Under