Considering that Parkinson’s patients vary considerably with regards to symptoms or signs they encounter and their response to medication, the facts available for the condition are variable and differ depending on the study in question. Also, it ought to be born in mind that the data collated on Parkinson’s from certain parts of the planet, especially in less technologically developed nations, is patchy or unverifiable. This makes deriving precise and meaningful Parkinson’s disease stats for such countries, as well as about issues such as race and Parkinson’s disease, problematic.
As a general guide, Parkinson’s appears to affect around 0.2%-0.3% of the general population and appears to affect seniors more frequently, with about 90% of documented cases being diagnosed in those over sixty years of age. Some 3% to five percent of individuals over sixty five will develop Parkinson’s. Less than 10% of new cases of Parkinson’s are diagnosed in adults under the age of 40. Some research suggest an increased risk of the disease happening between sixty and seventy five years of age but that the risk would seem to decline significantly after this age, especially after age eighty five. Truth be told, Parkinson’s is virtually never found in the ‘super old’, meaning those aged over 100.
However, potential misdiagnosis at this point in time represents a real concern because of the lack of a definitive biological marker for diagnosing Parkinson’s. It has been suggested that the number of individuals over age 60 who should be clinically diagnosed as suffering from some kind of Parkinsonism, is actually considerably greater than is currently acknowledged. For example, some studies have implied that those with mild Parkinson-like symptoms (which could be indicative of early stage Parkinson’s disease or possible due to other conditions or diseases) may be as high as fifteen percent in the age group 60-74 and 30% for anyone between 75-84 years old. Whatever the true number, because of an ever increasing world population combined with an upward trend for life expectancy, the number of anticipated cases of Parkinson’s in future generations is bound to increase greatly. For example, some research has suggested that the percentage will double during the next 40 years.
Whilst we have discussed Parkinson’s and the aspect of age, can one observe differences in the chance of developing the condition based upon race, hereditary and gender?
Once again, the results from studies deviate, but at this time, it would appear that one’s hereditary play a more notable part in those individuals who will develop Parkinson’s at an early age. Individuals who have close relatives (siblings or parents) who developed young-onset Parkinson’s disease under 40 years old, appear to have an increased risk of developing the disease compared to the general population. This is also the situation for juvenile-onset Parkinson’s disease concerning those who develop the disease below age twenty. For anyone who have relatives who developed Parkinson’s disease when seniors, the elevated risk to them of developing the condition would seem insignificant. However, opinions do differ on this matter. Some studies have suggested that if a close relation has/had the disease, the total heightened threat of developing Parkinson’s is approximately two to five percent and possibly as much as fifteen percent in the most severe case.
Regarding the question of gender, data yet again varies notably between sources. Some studies have implied that men seem to be at double the danger of Parkinson’s disease than in comparison with women. Support for this comes from statistics that indicates women who have had hysterectomies have a higher rate of Parkinson’s disease, and women who’ve had estrogen replacement therapy have a lower risk of Parkinson’s disease compared to other women their age. The assumption is that oestrogen may play a function in protecting the body from the chemical changes which occur in Parkinson’s disease.
Several investigations have suggested there’s no difference between genders or that the figure represents approximately a 50% increased risk for men. Additionally, it has been noted that the disease progresses more quickly in males and that men tend to be more likey to experience tremor and rigidity, whereas women tend to be at more danger of gait disturbances and shuffling. The truth is that common agreement concerning this issue has not yet been obtained.
The figures available on the matter of race and Parkinson’s risk are yet again variable. For example, certain research indicate there is no difference whereas others suggest that Caucasians have an increased danger of Parkinson’s compared to either Asian Americans or Afican Americans. In addition, a few studies have noted that people of European ancestry appear most predisposed to typical Parkinson’s, whereas non-Caucasians may be at greater risk from a certain type of non-typical Parkinson’s, associated with judgement dysfunction. The issue is further clouded with other research observing that where variations are noted, there would seem to be no distinction between race groups from comparable locations.
Apart from Race, Age, Hereditary, Gender factors, the question of environmental variables such as pesticides and toxins are deserving of consideration. It appears that these are likely involved in the potential for individuals aged over 50 years of age. In addition, there seems to be other possible factors which unfortunately have an impact on increasing the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. For instance, exposure to certain bacteria and viruses or due to suffering head injuries or trauma. The complexity of the condition is highlighted further by the intriguing statistics from some research that indicate that individuals who drink coffee or smoke frequently are at reduced threat of developing Parkinson’s!