Scientists Find More People Are Dying From Parkinson’s

Scientists Find More People Are Dying From Parkinson's

( – Parkinson’s disease affects the nervous system and worsens over time. There’s no cure, but treatments can slow and relieve symptoms. A new study, however, suggests that the number of deaths from the disease is increasing.

Published on October 27, a study in the American Academy of Neurology shows that the fatality rate from Parkinson’s disease has risen for the past 20 years. The study showed an increase of 63% in the United States.

The study’s author, Dr. Wei Bao, said it’s unclear why deaths are increasing, especially in white males. He said knowing why it’s happening is the key to addressing the problem.

The study found men are twice as likely to die from the disease as women. White people have the highest death rate, with about 9.7 out of 100,000 people in that group dying of the illness. This number compares to just 6.5 out of 100,000 Hispanics and 4.7 out of 100,000 black people.

During the research, the team found an overall increase in the diagnosis of Parkinson’s, which could contribute to the death rates. They also theorized that environmental factors might contribute to mortality.

In addition, they noted improvements in cause-of-death reporting could be part of the reason for the higher rates. They caution that the study only included cases where the cause of death listed on the death certificate was Parkinson’s. Because only one cause of death can go on a certificate, there could be more people the study didn’t include whose deaths happened due to the condition.

Dr. Rachel Dolhun from the Michael J. Fox Foundation explains Parkinson’s patients should not be “discouraged” by this study. Everyone’s experience with the disease varies, and it doesn’t always shorten a person’s life expectancy.

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