Parkinson’s: Where India stands?
Around 9.1 percent of the 8.5 million people living with Parkinson's disease in 2019 were from India.
By Bhargavi Saikia · Aug 08, 2022
Between 2009 and 2019, the number of people with Parkinson’s disease has grown from 494,429 to 770,783, a whopping 55.89 percent rise, making it the second most prevalent neurological disorder in the country.
Kruxd looks at what the numbers say about the disease.
What exactly is Parkinson’s disease?
Parkinson's disease is a condition in which a portion of the brain deteriorates over time, resulting in impairment of muscular coordination and body balance. Although the exact cause of the disease is still unknown, it is believed to be either genetic or results from a lifelong exposure to environmental factors such as pesticides, solvents, and air pollution.
The symptoms of Parkinson's disease increase as the condition worsens. Later stages of the disease often affect how the brain functions, causing dementia, depression and other mental health problems.
The rate of progression varies from person to person. Different people also experience different symptoms. It is difficult to predict how the disease may affect any person and how symptoms may change over time.
What do the numbers say?
India witnessed a continuous rise in the number of people living with Parkinson’s. While no one dies directly from the disease, it does contribute to other conditions or problems that can sometimes be fatal.
The data shows a steady increase in the number of deaths - from 6.98 percent in 2009 to over 11 percent in 2019. A total of 389,943 people died from the disease during the decade.
Who does it affect the most?
The risk of developing Parkinson’s naturally increases with age. The majority of those affected, however, are aged 50 years and above. Globally, 95.25 percent of Parkinson's patients are above 50 years, whereas, in India, it was 92 percent in 2019.
Even though it is extremely rare and frequently brought on by heredity, Parkinson’s can happen to adults as young as 20 years old.
Data shows that the rise in the prevalence of Parkinson’s among men has been slightly sharper - from 269,104 in 2009 to 421,791 in 2019, an increase of 54.06 percent. In contrast, the rise among women has been 45.94 percent - from 225,324 to 348,991.
Is there a higher risk of contracting COVID-19?
Parkinson's does not increase a person's risk of contracting COVID-19, but it does make it more difficult for them to recover. There is a higher risk of complications and even death if the patient has not taken the COVID-19 vaccine and is hospitalized.
Support for people living with Parkinson’s
Living with Parkinson’s can be difficult. The real challenge lies in how one accepts it and prepares to deal with the symptoms that worsen over time. Like the general population, those with this disease require easy access to medication, quick diagnosis, treatment, and care.
In May 2022, the World Health Assembly has endorsed the intersectoral global action plan on epilepsy and other neurological disorders like Parkinson’s. The action plan will address the key areas for intervention in the disease including global health policies, education, awareness campaigns and access to treatment and care at different levels of the health system.