Parkinson’s disease: Why it is striking people under 50

Galgotias Ad

New Delhi, April 11 (IANS) While advancing age remains a prominent risk factor for Parkinson’s disease, health experts on Thursday expressed concerns over the increasing early onset of the neurodegenerative disease, among people under the age of 50.

According to a 2022 study published in the journal Parkinsonism & Related Disorders, India has an increasing prevalence of Parkinson’s disease, with the average age of onset almost a decade younger in comparison to other countries.

“The prevailing myth that Parkinson’s primarily afflicts older individuals is rapidly dissipating in light of evolving epidemiological trends and clinical observations. The recent surge in early-onset Parkinson’s cases, particularly in countries like India where a significant proportion of patients experience motor symptoms before the age of 50, challenges this misconception,” Dr Aashka Ponda, Consultant Neuro-physician, Bhailal Amin General Hospital, Vadodara, told IANS.

Even though age continues to be the major risk factor, emerging evidence highlights the role of environmental toxins, genetic predispositions, and lifestyle factors in precipitating Parkinson’s onset at younger ages.

“Factors such as exposure to pesticides, air pollution, and dietary habits intersect with genetic susceptibilities to shape the disease trajectory, challenging the notion of Parkinson’s as an exclusive affliction of the elderly,” the doctor said.

Characterised by symptoms such as reduced movement speed, stiffness, tremors, and impaired balance or posture, Parkinson’s can substantially disrupt daily activities and mobility, leading to distress.

Parkinson’s disease patients contend not only with motor symptoms like tremors, slowness, stiffness, and postural instability but also grapple with often overlooked non-motor manifestations such as sleep disturbances, anxiety, depression, and cognitive impairments.

“With a substantial portion of Parkinson’s patients falling within the younger age bracket, it’s imperative to recognise that this neurological disorder does not discriminate solely based on age. Instead, a multifaceted interplay of genetic predispositions, environmental exposures, and comorbidities underscore the complexity of Parkinson’s aetiology,” Dr. Aashka said.

“Early detection and effective management of Parkinson’s disease play a pivotal role in enhancing symptom management, slowing down disease advancement, and averting complications, thereby enhancing the patient’s overall quality of life,” added Dr. Sanjay Pandey, HoD, Neurology and Stroke Medicine, Amrita Hospital, Faridabad.



Comments are closed.