Is Parkinson’s disease about to become epidemic?

One recent study paper claims that the disease Parkinson’s is spreading rapidly. The neurological condition Parkinson’s is one. The majority of the central nervous system’s motor components are affected by the symptoms, which typically take time to manifest.

As the illness worsens, even basic tasks become more challenging over time, and dementia is common. It used to be rare to have Parkinson’s disease. There were just 22 cases of Parkinson’s disease fatalities in the UK in 1855, for instance.

Approximately 500,000 Americans, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), are thought to be carriers of the illness at this time. A group of experts in the field of movement disorders recently published a paper in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease.

A pandemic?

Globally, neurological illnesses are the primary cause of disability. Parkinson’s disease is the fastest rising of these. From 1990 to 2015, the number of persons living with Parkinson’s disease more than doubled to more than 6.2 million. Experts expect the number will rise to 12 million by 2040.

The term “pandemic” is typically connected with diseases that can spread from person to person. Of course, this does not apply to Parkinson’s disease. The condition’s spread does have some of the features of a pandemic.

For instance, it affects every part of the world and is a worldwide issue. In every area that scientists have examined, it is also spreading more widely. Furthermore, pandemics frequently spread geographically. As demographics gradually alter, Parkinson’s disease appears to be migrating from the West to the East.

According to some academics, pandemics may still exist even when noncommunicable diseases like diabetes cannot be “caught” through contact with microorganisms. They go on to say that new vectors, such as social, political, and economic movements, nonetheless make these circumstances contagious.

We are disseminating risk factors for diseases like diabetes over the world. Alcohol, cigarette products, ultra-processed food, and drink, as well as broader societal and environmental changes that discourage physical exercise, are some examples of these issues.

Growing danger

Given that Parkinson’s disease typically affects people as they age, an inevitable rise in the disease’s prevalence is caused by the world’s population’s average age. A potential epidemic is not just aided by the gradual increase in our average age.

Parkinson’s disease appears to be spreading more widely, according to some research, even after taking age into account. Accordingly, Parkinson’s disease is more likely to affect the typical older adult nowadays.

Some of the elements that are presently appearing to be raising the risk of Parkinson’s disease are described by the study.

The surprising impact of tobacco

The number of tobacco smokers has substantially decreased during the past several decades all across the world. People perceive this to be a great advantage for public health, and quite rightfully so.

Smoking tobacco does, however, seem to lower the risk of Parkinson’s disease. According to certain research, smoking can lower risk by more than 40%.

Therefore, cutting back on tobacco use may be increasing the general prevalence of Parkinson’s disease.

The expansion of the industry

Industrialization may also be contributing to the constant increase in Parkinson’s risk. There have been many industrial byproducts connected to Parkinson’s disease, including certain insecticides, solvents, and heavy metals.

For instance, Parkinson’s illness has increased most quickly in China, a nation that has experienced an enormous industrial boom.

The part pesticides play in Parkinson’s disease is still up for debate among scientists. Paraquat, in particular, has a strong connection to the disorder and is currently prohibited in 32 nations.

However, Americans continue taking it “in ever higher quantities” despite this. Of the 32 nations that have outlawed paraquat use, the U.K. is one. Despite this, they keep producing it and exporting it to nations like the United States, Taiwan, and South Africa.

The prevalence of Parkinson’s disease is growing and could be a modern invention. The burden of Parkinson’s disease increases with worsening socioeconomic status, in contrast to the majority of diseases whose burden reduces with improvement in that factor. For obvious reasons, the prevalence of Parkinson’s disease is alarming. What can we do?

Can the tide be swung?

Activism is the solution to this Parkinson’s disease epidemic’s seeming inevitability. This strategy has had a significant positive impact on diseases including HIV and breast cancer. For instance, numerous efforts concentrate on increasing awareness, collecting finances, developing therapies, and altering legislation.

It is crucial to stop using and producing several substances that might raise your chance of developing Parkinson’s. We have the tools to stop millions from ever suffering from Parkinson’s disease’s crippling symptoms.

As always, financial support is also essential. Understanding the cause of the ailment and how it develops requires more research, and this kind of scientific study is never inexpensive.

Researchers must create better drugs in particular. The most successful treatment at the moment is levodopa, a 50-year-old drug having both physical and psychological adverse effects. The Parkinson’s epidemic is preventive rather than inevitable.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *