Parkinson’s disease can impact anyone, but according to a 1990 study by the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), men are approximately 1.5 times more likely to develop the disease than women. The simple-yet-not-so-simple has to do with a particular protein known as the sex-determining region Y (SRY) which is present only in men. Though the most commonly known symptom of Parkinson’s disease is tremor, Parkinson’s may also cause sexual side effects in men, specifically erectile dysfunction (ED). Overall, around 1 million people are affected by the disease nationwide and the likelihood of developing the condition increases with age.
The SRY Gene and It’s Link to Parkinson’s
The link between Parkinson’s and male patients is centered around a male-specific protein called SRY. The SRY gene is passed from fathers to sons on the Y chromosome, making the embryos male.
This gene is formed in the testes, and can likewise found in the same brain region that is targeted by Parkinson’s disease. This region, called the substantia nigra, is one of two primary parts of the brain that produce dopamine. According to the UCLA study, the SRY gene “contributes to the control of physical movement, a fundamental brain function.”
Dopamine, meanwhile, is the chemical released by nerve cells that sends signals to other nerves throughout the body. Dopamine controls a variety of bodily functions, including feeling and functionalities such as pleasure, preservation, compulsion, and motor function.
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Parkinson’s attacks and eventual deterioration of the substantia nigra reduce the amounts of SRY and, in turn, cripple the brain’s ability to regulate movements, causing tremors, shaking, and Bradykinesia (slowness in movement). The study furthermore concluded that men with low levels of SRY may be at greater risk of developing the disease.
Parkinson’s, the Nervous System, and ED
In addition to its impacts on motor function, Parkinson’s can also cause erectile dysfunction in men. When a man becomes sexually aroused, it’s because his brain is sending signals to dilate blood vessels in his private. Because Parkinson’s disrupts the nervous system, those very signals being sent to the corresponding blood vessels are effectively short-circuited.
Even more, a 2017 study by the National Health Insurance Research Database suggests that young and middle aged men that suffer from ED are 52 percent more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease. When paired with additional conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure the likelihood of developing Parkinson’s increases even more.
Sandyside Senior Living: Men’s Parkinson’s Care Specialists
Sandyside Senior Living specializes in caring for those patients with Parkinson’s, Dementia, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), as well as those with general debility. Although a diagnosis may seem overwhelming at first, it is important to know that individuals impacted by Parkinson’s can continue to live fulfilling lives.
Though the cause and the cure for the disease remain unknown, there are a variety of measures that can be taken to lessen Parkinson’s impacts. Specific measures include medications, surgery, diet and exercise, as well as yoga and strength training.
Sandyside Senior Living and our team of certified healthcare professionals help ensure that individuals impacted are always getting the proper care and encourage they need to keep fighting. From prescription administration, regular access to physicians, and even engaging exercise programs, Sandyside Senior Living provides the best, round-the-clock care that you can ask for right in your backyard in White Lake, MI.
We encourage you to come visit, meet our staff, and find out why Sandyside is among Southeast Michigan’s top assisted living facilities. Call us at (248) 698-3700 and talk to a senior living specialist today!