Parkinson’s disease was first described as a neurological syndrome in 1817 by London physician Dr. James Parkinson’s. Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects predominately dopamine-producing neurons. Symptoms can include tremors, stiffness, poor balance, depression, and dementia. The cause of Parkinson’s disease is unknown, but several factors, including genetics and the environment, appear to play a role. Researchers have identified specific genetic mutations that can cause Parkinson’s disease, but these mutations only account for 10-15% of all Parkinson’s cases.1 Most experts agree that the other 85-90% of PD cases are caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors (chemicals, toxins, head trauma, etc.). The interactions between these two can be quite complex. Today there are nearly one million Americans who have Parkinson’s and ten million cases worldwide. In 2019 alone, 60,000 individuals, or over 1000 Americans per week, were diagnosed with Parkinson’s.2 It is estimated that by 2030 Parkinson’s disease may affect more than 1.2 million Americans, and the economic consequences will be significant.3 The economic costs in the U.S. associated with Parkinson’s disease in 2019 were estimated at $51.9 billion—$25.4 billion was related to direct medical costs and the remaining $26.5 billion was comprised of indirect, non-medical costs.4 “The U.S. government accounts for nearly $25 billion in spending related to PD, with $2 billion through Social Security and the remaining $23 billion through Medicare.”5
Looking back at our history, the United States has courageously tackled health challenges such as polio, HIV/AIDS, and breast cancer. While not all of these horrific health conditions have been eliminated, great progress has been made in slowing down the progression of these diseases. Parkinson’s Across America will highlight why the time has come to approach the battle against Parkinson’s disease with the same energy and ferociousness as other life-changing diseases. Hop aboard and join us on our ride across America all in an effort to bring an end to Parkinson’s disease.
1 “What Causes Parkinson’s Disease,” Parkinson’s Foundation, accessed August 9, 2020, https://www.parkinson.org/Understanding-Parkinsons/Causes
2 “Statistics,” Parkinson’s Foundation, accessed August 9, 2020, https://www.parkinson.org/Understanding-Parkinsons/Statistics
3 “Statistics,” Parkinson’s Foundation, accessed September 2, 2020, https://www.parkinson.org/Understanding-Parkinsons/Statistics
4 “Breaking News: Economic Burden of Parkinson’s Disease is $52 Billion,” Parkinson’s Foundation, Thursday, June 13, 2019, accessed August 9, 2020, https://www.parkinson.org/blog/research/economic-burden-study
5 “Breaking News: Economic Burden of Parkinson’s Disease is $52 Billion,” Parkinson’s Foundation, Thursday, June 13, 2019, accessed September 6, 2020, https://www.parkinson.org/blog/research/economic-burden-study
- Insert Parkinson’s statistics:
- Nearly one million will be living with Parkinson’s disease (PD) in the U.S. by 2020, which is more than the combined number of people diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy and Lou Gehrig’s disease (or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis)
- Approximately 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with PD each year.
- More than 10 million people worldwide are living with PD.
- Incidence of Parkinson’s disease increases with age, but an estimated four percent of people with PD are diagnosed before age 50.
- Men are 1.5 times more likely to have Parkinson’s disease than women.