Causes of Dystonia

Causes of dystonia or very similar symptoms (such as chorea) include:

See also the causes of:

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About half the cases of dystonia have no connection to disease or injury and are called primary or idiopathic dystonia. Of the primary dystonias, many cases appear to be inherited.

Dystonias can also be symptoms of other diseases, some of which may be hereditary.

Source: NINDS (NIH)1

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Dystonia is thought to be a neurological condition (caused by underlying problems with the brain and nervous system). However, in most cases, brain functions such as intelligence, memory and language remain unaffected.

Source: NHS Choices UK2

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Causes of dystonia

Exactly how dystonia develops remains uncertain, but it's thought to be caused by a problem with the part of the brain that controls muscle movement (the basal ganglia).

If there's no identifiable cause of dystonia, or if the cause is genetic, it's described as primary dystonia.

Secondary dystonia is where dystonia occurs as a symptom of an underlying condition or injury. Common causes include stroke, brain injury, encephalitis and Parkinson’s disease.

Read more about the causes of dystonia.

Source: NHS Choices UK3

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Dystonia with no obvious cause, or caused by a genetic mutation, is known as primary dystonia. If dystonia is a symptom of another condition, it's known as secondary dystonia.

Source: NHS Choices UK4

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Primary dystonia

Most people with primary dystonia don't have an identified cause. A minority of cases are associated with genetic mutations, which usually begin in childhood.

There are currently over 12 types (or sub-types) of dystonia linked to genetic mutations, including generalised dystonia, dopa-responsive dystonia and paroxysmal dystonia.

Read more about the different types of dystonia.

Source: NHS Choices UK5

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Secondary dystonia

Secondary dystonia, also known as acquired dystonia, can have a wide range of causes, including:

Source: NHS Choices UK6

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Multiple system atrophy: A person with multiple system atrophy has much slower movements than normal (bradykinesia). This can make it difficult to carry out everyday tasks. Movement is hard to initiate, and the person will often have a distinctive slow, shuffling walk with very small steps.

Source: NHS Choices UK7

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Some causes may include:8 Causes of Dystonias:

Causes List for Dystonia

List of possible causes of Dystonia or similar symptoms may include:9

... Full Causes List for Dystonia »

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  1. Source: NINDS (NIH): disorders/ dystonias/ dystonias.htm
  2. Source: NHS Choices UK: conditions/ Dystonia/ 
  3. ibid.
  4. Source: NHS Choices UK: conditions/ dystonia/ causes/ 
  5. ibid.
  6. ibid.
  7. Source: NHS Choices UK: conditions/ multiple-system-atrophy/ 
  8. Source: Human Phenotype Ontology
  9. Source: Algorithmically Generated List

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Note: This site is for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. See your doctor or other qualified medical professional for all your medical needs.