Men or women: Who is more likely to suffer from Parkinson’s disease?
World Parkinson’s Day is observed every year on April 11 to raise awareness about Parkinson’s disease (Men or Women) and to promote the need for better treatment and a cure. For the uninitiated, Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects the dopamine-producing neurons in the brain. It is characterized by tremors, stiffness, slowness of movement, and difficulty with balance and coordination. There is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, but there are treatments available that can help manage the symptoms.
While Parkinson’s disease can strike both men and women, it is reported that men are slightly more likely to develop it as compared to their female counterparts. According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, men are 1.5 times more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than women.
According to Dr Deepak Agrawal…., the quality of life of patients with Parkinson’s can be significantly improved with new technologies like DBS (Deep Brain Stimulation). Currently we are doing a project in which patients who are unsuitable for DBS due to any reason can opt for Gamma- knife radiosurgery which may offer equivalent quality of life benefits at a fraction of the cost.
Elaborating on the same, Dr. Rajat Chopra, Consultant, Neurology, Narayana Hospital, Gurugram said that men are more likely to develop this disease. “The reason, however, is not entirely clear. But it may be due to a combination of genetic, environmental, and hormonal factors. For example, studies have shown that men are more likely to be exposed to environmental toxins, such as pesticides and herbicides, which have been linked to Parkinson’s disease. Additionally, estrogen may play a protective role in women against the disease,” he said.
Agreeing, Dr. Ravindra Srivastava, Director of Neurosciences, at Primus Super Speciality Hospital said that the difference in risk is not significant enough to draw definitive conclusions. “Parkinson’s disease was found among men with the relative risk being 1.5 times greater in men than women. Possible reasons for this increased risk of Parkinson’s disease in men are toxicant exposure, head trauma, neuroprotection by estrogen, mitochondrial dysfunction, or X linkage of genetic risk factors. Some researchers also speculate that this difference in risk may be due to hormonal or genetic differences between men and women, as well as variations in lifestyle and environmental factors,” he said, adding that further research is needed to fully understand the complex interplay of these factors and their impact on Parkinson’s disease risk.
Apart from gender, age is also a significant risk factor for Parkinson’s disease, Dr. Sumit Kumar, Neurologist, at Regency Hospital said. “The disease is more prevalent in older individuals, with the risk increasing significantly after the age of 60. Other groups of people who may have a higher risk of developing Parkinson’s disease include those with a family history of the condition, as well as those who have been exposed to certain toxins or pesticides. There may also be a link between head injuries and Parkinson’s disease, with some studies suggesting that repeated head trauma may increase the risk of developing the condition.”
Concurring with age and family history, Dr. Chopra said that certain genetic mutations are associated with a higher risk of Parkinson’s disease.
While there is currently no cure for Parkinson’s disease, there are some preventive measures that may help reduce the risk of developing the condition. “These include maintaining a healthy lifestyle, such as engaging in regular exercise, eating a balanced diet, and getting enough sleep. It is also important to minimize exposure to toxins and pollutants, such as pesticides and industrial chemicals, which have been linked to an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease,” Dr. Kumar said.
Citing some studies, he said that certain medications or supplements, such as caffeine and nicotine, may also have a protective effect against Parkinson’s disease. “However, further research is needed to confirm these findings,” he added.