Hyderabad: The incidence of Parkinson’s disease in the State
has increased by two-folds in the last one decade causing alarm to
medical experts and health planners. What is worrying more is that
Parkinson’s disease is now increasingly diagnosed in young people.
On the eve of the World Parkinson’s Day, the Indian Parkinson’s
Disease and Movement Disorder Society pointed out that the disease is
now diagnosed in many people younger than 60 years. It is no longer a
disease of the old.
“The average age of diagnosis for Parkinson’s disease is the early
sixties. Nonetheless, growing numbers of people are being diagnosed
with the condition under the age of 40. This number makes up about 10
per cent of the total Parkinson’s cases in the country,” according to
data released by the Society.
According to Dr Sudhir Kumar, consultant neurologist at Apollo
Hospitals, Hyderabad, Parkinson’s disease normally afflicts persons
aged 40 or above. However, there is a sub-group of people known as
Young Onset of Parkinson’s disease in whom the disease onset is at an
age lesser than 40 years.
“Parkinson’s disease is not genetic, but in about 10 per cent of the
population it runs in the family and this genetically-acquired
Parkinson’s disease tends to afflict younger people,” he said.
Explaining the reason for the disease being diagnosed in young
population, Dr Sudhir Kumar said “increased awareness about the
disease and better diagnosis has enabled early detection.”
Dr Jaydip Ray Chaudhuri, head of the department of neurology, Yashoda
Hospitals, said there has been a two-fold increase in the incidence of
Parkinson’s disease in Andhra Pradesh in the last 10 years. While
Parkinsonism associated with drugs, encephalitis, and stoke can be
managed and reversed to certain extent, Parkinson’s disease progresses
“The brain contains special cells that release a chemical called
dopamine. If these cells die, they do not produce dopamine and this
results in Parkinson’s disease. Stem cell therapy holds a promise for
Parkinson’s patients. Deep brain stimulation therapy helps in managing
the disease,” Dr Chaudhuri said.
The main difference in disease afflicting a younger and an older
patient is the progression of the disease. It is faster in the younger
patient; he can become immobile in five years of the onset of the
disease needing support. But in the older patients, the progression is
slow and changes are limited even 10 years after the disease onset, Dr
Research studies by the Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorder
Society revealed that yoga showed a positive impact on the motor
movements of Parkinson’s patients. It also slowed down the progression
of the disease.
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