Could Nearly 2M U.S. Citizens Have Parkinson’s by 2037?


As society progresses, certain diseases or conditions become more and more prevalent. For example, chronic conditions like osteoporosis or diabetes have rapidly risen over the past decade. Now, according to study findings published in npj Parkinson’s Disease, Parkinson’s disease is expected to rapidly increase within the next 20 years. Additionally, researchers believe that this rise in diagnoses will simultaneously increase the economic burden.

Parkinson’s Disease

This central nervous system disorder, which usually affects people older than 50, occurs when dopamine-producing (dopaminergic) brain neurons die. Doctors aren’t sure the exact cause of this death. However, potential causes include environmental triggers, genetics, medication use, and microscopic proteins in the neurons. This progressive disorder consists of five stages, starting with mild tremors and progressing to inability to live independently. Symptoms include:

  • Muscle rigidity and stiffness
  • Slowed movement
  • Issues with balance and posture
  • Slurred speech
  • Dementia
  • Tremors

Learn more about Parkinson’s disease here.

Projected Changes

Each year, an estimated 60,000 American citizens receive a Parkinson’s disease diagnosis. As a result, an estimated 1 million U.S. citizens already live with the disorder. However, in their recent study, researchers project this will rise to 1.6 million citizens by 2037.

How did they make this projection? First, researchers determined how much the population might grow in the coming years. Using census-related data, researchers anticipate a 14% rise in population, and a 62% rise in citizens over age 65. As Parkinson’s generally affects people of this age, the projection sees the possibility of a massive increase in diagnoses.

However, researchers also acknowledge that society can take steps to reduce this potential rise. This includes stopping smoking, better medical accessibility, preventative treatment, and implementing public health initiatives.

Economic Burdens

In their projection, researchers also sought to understand any economic burdens associated with this disorder. These burdens relate to medical needs and treatment costs, difficulty working, and other related care. To shape their projection, researchers used data sourced from:

  • A survey with 4,548 respondents
  • Public and private claims data
  • Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey
  • Medical Expenditure Panel Survey

From 2017 data, the economic burden associated with this disorder was $51.9 billion ($36.5b indirect/non-medical costs, $25.4b medical costs). Indirect medical costs and non-medical costs include future earnings, reduced employment, missing work or being unproductive at work, transportation and living modifications, and other care. Additionally, $4.8 billion is attributed to disability income.

As a result, researchers project that the economic burden associated with Parkinson’s disease will rise to $79.1 billion within 20 years.

Read the source article here.

Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn has an educational background in writing and marketing. She firmly believes in the power of writing in amplifying voices, and looks forward to doing so for the rare disease community.

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