Study shows rise in death rate from Parkinson's disease in the United States

NewsGuard 100/100 Score

A new study shows that in the last two decades the death rate from Parkinson's disease has risen about 63% in the United States. The research is published in the October 27, 2021, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. The study also found that the death rate was twice as high in men as in women, and there was a higher death rate in white people than other racial/ethnic groups.

"We know that people are living longer and the general population is getting older, but that doesn't fully explain the increase we saw in the death rate in people with Parkinson's," study author Wei Bao, MD, PhD, who conducted the research at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. "Understanding why more people are dying from this disease is critical if we are going to reverse the trend."

The study looked at a national death registry that included 479,059 people who died of Parkinson's between 1999 and 2019.

After adjusting for age, researchers found that the number of people who died from the disease increased from 5.4 per 100,000 people in 1999 to 8.8 per 100,000 people in 2019. The average annual increase was 2.4%.

Researchers found mortality increased significantly across all age groups, both sexes, various racial and ethnic groups and different urban-rural classifications. However, death rates were twice as high in men as in women. Bao says one possible explanation for this sex difference is that estrogen, which leads to higher dopamine levels in parts of the brain that control motor responses, may protect women from developing Parkinson's.

White people were more likely to die from Parkinson's than other racial and ethnic groups. In 2019, the death rate for white people was 9.7 per 100,000 people, followed by Hispanic people, at 6.5 per 100,000 people, and non-Hispanic Black people, at 4.7 per 100,000 people. Bao said previous studies have shown that compared to white people, Black and Hispanic people are less likely to see an outpatient neurologist, due to socioeconomic barriers, suggesting that white people may have a higher chance of receiving a Parkinson's diagnosis.

It's important to continue to evaluate long-term trends in Parkinson's death rates. This can inform future research that may help pinpoint why more people are dying of the disease. Also, updating vital statistics about Parkinson's death rates may be used for priority setting and financing of health care and policy."

Wei Bao, MD, PhD, Study Author

A limitation of the study is that only one underlying cause of death was recorded on each death certificate, so only people who were recorded as having died of Parkinson's were included in the study. This may not accurately reflect the prevalence of the disease as a cause of death.

Journal reference:

Rong, S., et al. (2021) Trends in Mortality From Parkinson Disease in the United States, 1999–2019. Neurology.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
Post a new comment

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.

You might also like...
Certain progestogens linked to higher brain tumor risk in women, study suggests