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Why Is Parkinson’s Disease More Common In Males

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How Many Canadians Live With Parkinsonism And How Many Are Newly Diagnosed Each Year

What are the different stages of Parkinson’s disease?

Based on the latest estimates available , in 20132014, approximately 84,000 Canadians aged 40 years and older were living with diagnosed parkinsonism and 10,000 Canadians were newly diagnosed with this condition . The age-standardized prevalence was 1.5Footnote i;times higher among males than among females , and similarly the age-standardized incidence was 1.7Footnote i;times higher among males than females . The epidemiological burden of parkinsonism increases with age. In 20132014, when comparing estimates among Canadians aged 85 years and older vs. those aged 40-44 years, the prevalence of the condition was 169Footnote i;times higher in the older age group , while the incidence was 48Footnote i;times higher in the older age group .

Figure 1: Prevalence of diagnosed parkinsonism, including Parkinsons disease, by sex and age group, Canada, 20132014

Figure 1: Prevalence of diagnosed parkinsonism, including Parkinsons disease, by sex and age group, Canada, 20132014

Age group
44.7 55.1

Note: The 95% confidence interval shows an estimated range of values which is likely to include the true value 19 times out of 20. Data source: Public Health Agency of Canada, using Canadian Chronic Disease Surveillance System data files contributed by provinces and territories, July 2017.

What Are The Surgical Treatments For Parkinsons Disease

Most patients with Parkinsons disease can maintain a good quality of life with medications. However, as the disease worsens, medications may no longer be effective in some patients. In these patients, the effectiveness of medications becomes unpredictable reducing symptoms during on periods and no longer controlling symptoms during off periods, which usually occur when the medication is wearing off and just before the next dose is to be taken. Sometimes these variations can be managed with changes in medications. However, sometimes they cant. Based on the type and severity of your symptoms, the failure of adjustments in your medications, the decline in your quality of life and your overall health, your doctor may discuss some of the available surgical options.

Men More Likely To Get Parkinson’s Disease

Men May Face Greater Risk of Parkinson’s Disease Than Women

Researchers analyzed several studies on the incidence of Parkinson’s disease in the population and found that men were 1.5 times more likely to develop the disease than women.

The cause of Parkinson’s disease is unknown, but symptoms of the disease, such as slow movements, tremors, and stiff muscles are caused by low levels of a chemical in the brain called dopamine.

About 1 million people in the U.S. have Parkinson’s disease, and the risk of developing the disease increases with age.

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Who Gets Parkinsons Disease Dementia

No two cases of Parkinsons are exactly alike, so its hard to say for sure who will develop Parkinsons disease dementia and who will not. However, researchers have identified several factors that may increase a persons risk for Parkinsons disease dementia, including:

  • Older age, especially at the time Parkinsons symptoms began
  • Being a man

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Dementia With Lewy Bodies

The Early Signs of Parkinsons Disease
  • Dementia with Lewy bodies is a progressive, neurodegenerative disorder in which abnormal deposits of a protein called alpha-synuclein;build up in multiple areas of the brain.
  • DLB first causes progressive problems with memory and fluctuations in thinking, as well as hallucinations. These symptoms are joined later in the course of the disease by parkinsonism with slowness, stiffness and other symptoms similar to PD.
  • While the same abnormal protein is found in the brains of those with PD, when individuals with PD develop memory and thinking problems it tends to occur later in the course of their disease.
  • There are no specific treatments for DLB. Treatment focuses on symptoms.

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Sry And Parkinsons Disease

In humans and other mammals, females have two X chromosomes , and males a single X and a male-specific Y chromosome . SRY is the master gene on the Y chromosome that determines the male sex of a baby in the embryo.

But research has found SRY seems to be active in other parts of the body, too. In mice and rats, SRY is active in the brain, and in humans its expressed in several tissues and organs, including the brain.

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SRY has been found to be expressed at abnormally high levels in the brains of mice and rats mutated to have symptoms of Parkinsons disease, and in animals where the disease was induced by chemical treatment.

Previous work showed overactivity of the SRY gene destroys neurons that synthesise dopamine. Were not entirely sure how this happens, but given the link between dopamine production and Parkinsons disease, it might partly explain why Parkinsons disease affects males more commonly than females.

This new study now shows that interfering with SRY expression in the brains of rodents with Parkinsons disease ameliorates the severity of symptoms. Vince Harley and Joohyung Lee from the Hudson Institute in Melbourne found that quashing SRY action prevented or mitigated the reduced mobility of male animals with Parkinsons disease.

So, suppressing the activity of SRY in neurons of Parkinsons disease patients could ameliorate their symptoms.

Is The Dementia Caused By Parkinsons Or Something Else

Indications that dementia may be caused by something other than Parkinsons disease include agitation, delusions , and language difficulties. If the onset of cognitive symptoms is sudden, theyre more likely due to something other than Parkinsons diseaseeven reversible causes such as infection, a vitamin B12 deficiency, or an underactive thyroid gland.

Depression can mimic dementia by causing similar symptoms such as apathy, memory problems, and concentration difficulties. Since depression is very common in Parkinsons patients, its important to recognize the signs and symptoms of depression in older adults.

Parkinsons disease dementia vs. other dementias

Other types of dementia that can be commonly mistaken for Parkinsons disease dementia include:

Lewy Body Dementia is characterized by fluctuations in alertness and attention, recurrent visual hallucinations, and Parkinsonian motor symptoms like rigidity and the loss of spontaneous movement. In this disorder, cognitive problems such as hallucinations tend to occur much earlier in the course of the disease and often precede difficulties with walking and motor control.

Alzheimers disease and Parkinsons disease are both common in the elderly, especially in those over 85. Patients with Parkinsons who develop dementia may even develop Alzheimers dementia as well. Therefore, its important to be aware of the signs of Alzheimers Disease and how its treated.

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Other Causes Of Parkinsonism

“Parkinsonism” is the umbrella term used to describe the symptoms of tremors, muscle rigidity and slowness of movement.

Parkinson’s disease is the most common type of parkinsonism, but there are also some rarer types where a specific cause can be identified.

These include parkinsonism caused by:

  • medication where symptoms develop after taking certain medications, such as some types of antipsychotic medication, and usually improve once the medication is stopped
  • other progressive brain conditions such as progressive supranuclear palsy, multiple systems atrophy and corticobasal degeneration
  • cerebrovascular disease where a series of small strokes cause several parts of the brain to die

You can read more about parkinsonism on the Parkinson’s UK website.

Page last reviewed: 30 April 2019 Next review due: 30 April 2022

Motor Vs Nonmotor Symptoms

Parkinson’s Disease and the Bladder

The motor, or movement-related, symptoms of Parkinsons disease tend to emerge earlier in males than in females.

Tremors, accompanied by falls, together with pain-related conditions with specific features such as unstable posture and reduced rigidity, are more likely to be among early symptoms in females.

Risk of movement complications resulting from treatment with levodopa to raise dopamine levels is also higher in females.

In contrast, males tend to experience more severe problems with posture. Although freezing of gait develops later than in females, males are at a higher risk of camptocormia, a condition in which the spine bends forward when walking and standing.

Ongoing research that is investigating other aspects of postural changes is also looking into sex differences.

A study of more than 950 people found that certain nonmotor Parkinsons disease symptoms were more common in females and affected them more severely. These symptoms include: restless legs, depression, fatigue, pain, constipation, weight change, loss of smell or taste, and excessive sweating.

Other investigations have shown that the reduction in mental capacity that can occur with Parkinsons disease tends to be worse in males.

These have demonstrated, for example, that males with Parkinsons are more likely to develop mild cognitive impairment and experience greater progression of it in the later stages of the disease. MCI is a condition that often precedes dementia.

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No One Definitive Cause Of Parkinsons

There are no biomarkers or objective screening tests that indicate one has Parkinsons. That said, medical experts have shown that a constellation of factors are linked to it.

Parkinsons causes are likely a blend of genetics and environmental or other unknown factors. About 10 to 20 percent of Parkinsons disease cases are linked to a genetic cause, says Ted Dawson, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Institute for Cell Engineering at Johns Hopkins. The types are either autosomal dominant or autosomal recessive .

But that leaves the majority of Parkinsons cases as idiopathic, which means unknown. We think its probably a combination of environmental exposure to toxins or pesticides and your genetic makeup, says Dawson.

Age. The biggest risk factor for developing Parkinsons is advancing age. The average age of onset is 60.

Gender. Men are more likely to develop Parkinsons disease than women.

Genetics. Individuals with a parent or sibling who is affected have approximately two times the chance of developing Parkinsons. Theres been an enormous amount of new information about genetics and new genes identified over the past 10 or 15 years that have opened up a greater understanding of the disease, says Dawson.

Symptoms Of Parkinson’s Disease

These common symptoms of Parkinson’s disease often begin gradually and progress over time:

  • Shaking or tremor
  • Poor posture
  • Slowing of body movements

As the disease continues to progress, additional symptoms can occur such as slurred or soft speech, trouble chewing and/or swallowing, memory loss, constipation, trouble sleeping, loss of bladder control, anxiety, depression, inability to regulate body temperature, sexual dysfunction, decreased ability to smell, restless legs and muscle cramps.

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How Many People Does Parkinsons Disease Affect

Parkinsons disease affects 1 in every 500 people in Canada.; Over 100,000 Canadians are living with Parkinsons today and approximately 6,600 new cases of PD are diagnosed each year in Canada .; Most are diagnosed over the age of 60; however, at least 10% of the Parkinsons population develops symptoms before the age of 50.; Approximately four million people worldwide are living with the condition.

Sexual Dysfunction In Parkinsons Disease

Knowing about symptoms of Parkinson now is more important ...

People with PD may experience sexual dysfunction, including loss of desire, inability to orgasm, erectile dysfunction in men, decreased lubrication in women, or pain with intercourse in women. Some studies have found that sexual dysfunction may occur in 60-80% of men and women with PD. Older patients with PD have more sexual dysfunction than younger patients, although sexual dysfunction is also greater in older adults who do not have PD. In addition to age, conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and depression can factor into sexual dysfunction.3,4

There are several factors that can lead to sexual dysfunction in people with PD. In addition to the motor symptoms of PD, which may create practical barriers to engaging in sexual activity, non-motor symptoms like depression, anxiety, or sleep disturbances can also impact a persons sex drive. Many people with PD express dissatisfaction with their sexual life.3,5

Some people with PD who are treated with dopamine agonists develop impulse control disorders, like hypersexuality. Hypersexuality can lead to unusual or increased sexual behavior, which may have devastating effects on relationships. Changing medications or reducing the dose of medication can help, and people who experience any side effects such as impulse control disorders should bring it to the attention of their doctor.3

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General Approach To Management

The primary goal in the management of PD is to treat the symptomatic motor and nonmotor features of the disorder, with the objective of improving the patients overall quality of life. Appropriate management requires an initial evaluation and diagnosis by a multidisciplinary team consisting of neurologists, primary care practitioners, nurses, physical therapists, social workers, and pharmacists., It is also important that the patient and his or her family have input into management decisions.

Effective management should include a combination of nonpharmacological and pharmacological strategies to maximize clinical outcomes. To date, therapies that slow the progression of PD or provide a neuroprotective effect have not been identified., Current research has focused on identifying biomarkers that may be useful in the diagnosis of early disease and on developing future disease-modifying interventions.,

How Is Parkinsonism Diagnosed

You should be referred to a Parkinsons specialist for the diagnosis of any parkinsonism. They may wish to explore different things before giving you a diagnosis.

Your specialist will look at your medical history, ask you about your symptoms and do a medical examination.

Telling the difference between types of parkinsonism isnt always easy, for the following reasons:

  • The first symptoms of the different forms of parkinsonism are so similar.
  • In many cases, parkinsonism develops gradually. Symptoms that allow your doctor to make a specific diagnosis may only appear as your condition progresses.
  • Everyone with parkinsonism is different and has different symptoms.

Find out more: see our information on symptoms of Parkinsons, and diagnosing Parkinsons.

One of the most useful tests to find out what sort of parkinsonism you may have is to see how you respond to treatment.

If your specialist thinks you have idiopathic Parkinsons, theyll expect you to have a good response to Parkinsons drugs such as levodopa . A good response means that your symptoms will improve. Sometimes, it will only be clear that youve responded to medication when the drug is reduced or stopped, and your symptoms become more obvious again.

If you dont have any response to Parkinsons medication, your specialist will have to look again at your diagnosis.

Although not routinely available, your specialist may wish to carry out some of the tests below.

Current tests available include:

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What Was Your First Sign Of Parkinson’s

Symptoms start gradually, sometimes starting with a barely noticeable tremor in just one hand. Tremors are common, but the disorder also commonly causes stiffness or slowing of movement. In the early stages of Parkinson’s disease, your face may show little or no expression. Your arms may not swing when you walk.

Why Is Parkinsons Disease More Common In Men Than Women

Parkinson’s Disease – Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Researchers arent yet sure why there is a difference in the rate of PD between men and women. Some suggested explanations are the protective effect of estrogen in women, the higher rate of minor head trauma and exposure to occupational toxins in men, and genetic susceptibility genes on the sex chromosomes.1

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Why Parkinsons Disease Is Dreadful And What It Is Like Living With It

My husband is an officer, a very balanced person. He worked all his life, did not complain about anything, I never heard from him about fatigue. But about six years ago he became too quiet, did not talk much he just sat and looked at one point It didnt even occur to me that he was ill. On the contrary, she scolded that he had aged ahead of time. Around the same time, a cousin from England came to us she works in a hospital and immediately said that Rafiks everything is very bad, we need tomorrow take him to a doctor. Thats how we learned about Parkinsons disease, recalls Seda from Yerevan.

Scientists Review The Different Clinical Features Risk Factors Responses To Treatments And Mechanisms Underlying The Disease Pathophysiology Of Parkinsons Disease In Women And Men In Jpd

Amsterdam, NL There is growing evidence that Parkinson’s disease affects women and men differently. In this insightful review, published in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease, scientists present the most recent knowledge about these sex-related differences and highlight the significance of estrogens, which play an important role in the sex differences in PD.

PD is a slowly progressive disorder that affects movement, muscle control, and balance. It is the second most common age-related, neurodegenerative disorder, affecting about 3% of the population by the age of 65 and up to 5% of individuals over 85 years of age. The risk of developing PD is twice as high in men than women, but women experience a more rapid disease progression and a lower survival rate.

It is becoming increasingly evident that PD differs in women and men, explained lead author Fabio Blandini, MD, Scientific Director of the IRCCS Mondino Foundation, National Institute of Neurology, Pavia, Italy. Recent research findings suggest that biological sex also impacts on disease risk factors and, potentially, on molecular mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of PD.

This review meticulously examines the most recent knowledge concerning differences between women and men with PD including:

  • Motor and non-motor symptoms
  • Genetic and environmental risk factors
  • Pharmacological therapy of motor and non-motor symptoms
  • Surgical procedures
  • PD and steroids
  • Impact of biological sex on pathophysiology

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