Parkinson’s is a progressive brain disorder that affects mobility and mental ability. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, you may be wondering about life expectancy.
According to research, on average, people with Parkinson’s can expect to live almost as long as those who don’t have the disorder.
While the disease itself isn’t fatal, related complications can reduce life expectancy by 1 to 2 years.
In people with Parkinson’s disease, the cells that produce dopamine start to die. Dopamine is a chemical that helps you move normally.
There’s no known direct cause of Parkinson’s. One theory is that it may be hereditary. Other theories suggest exposure to pesticides and living in rural communities may cause it.
Men are 50 percent more likely than women to develop the disease. Researchers have not found the exact reasons for this.
The symptoms of Parkinson’s are gradual and sometimes unnoticeable in the early stages of the disease. They may include:
- loss of balance
- slowing of movements
- spontaneous, uncontrollable movements
Parkinson’s disease is classified in stages, ranging from 1 to 5. Stage 5 is the most advanced and debilitating stage. Advanced stages may increase the risk of health complications that reduce lifespan.
Falls are a common secondary symptom of Parkinson’s disease. The risk of falling starts increasing in stage 3 and is greater in stages 4 and 5.
In these stages, you may not be able to stand or walk on your own.
You’re also prone to broken bones and concussions, and severe falls can be dangerous. A serious fall can reduce your life expectancy due to complications from the fall.
Age is another factor in the diagnosis and outlook for Parkinson’s disease. Most people will be diagnosed after age 70.
Age can also make you more prone to falls and certain diseases even without Parkinson’s disease. Such risks can increase for older adults with Parkinson’s.
Women have a reduced risk for getting Parkinson’s.
However, women with Parkinson’s may have a faster progression and reduced longevity. Symptoms in women with Parkinson’s disease may be different from symptoms in men.
In important to note that age can play a factor regardless of gender. Female patients who are over age 60 may not fare as well as younger women diagnosed with the disease.
Life expectancy has increased dramatically due to advances in treatment.
Medications, as well as physical and occupational therapy, are especially helpful in the earliest stages of the disease. These treatments can improve a person’s quality of life.
Parkinson’s is not a fatal disease, meaning one does not die from it.
Early detection is the key to helping reduce complications that can shorten life expectancy.
If you suspect that you or a loved one may have Parkinson’s disease, see your doctor right away.