A recent study (published in the upcoming issue of Movement Disorders; there is an online preview here, but payment is required to view the full article) looked at quality of life in people with Parkinson’s, with particular attention paid to the age of onset – so, they compared the quality of life of people with Young Onset Parkinson’s with that of people who developed Parkinson’s at a later stage.
From the abstract, the conclusions don’t look all that rosy for those of us with Young Onset Parkinson’s.
It seems that people with Young Onset Parkinson’s, in comparison to older patients:
- have a lower quality of life
- are at increased risk of “poor emotional well-being independent of depression status”
However, both groups (Young Onset and older Parkinsonians) are equally at risk of “depression and excessive daytime sleepiness.” I have, however, come across the suggestion elsewhere that younger people with Parkinson’s are more likely to suffer from depression than older patients.
Depression is a symptom of Parkinson’s, and is not merely associated with the dreadful prospect of knowing you have Parkinson’s. I am fortunate enough not to have encountered Parkinson’s-related depression, but I understand that depression is most likely to occur when you have higher expectations; younger people, who may be trying to juggle raising a family and holding down a job, will expect more from themselves than those whose families are grown and who are retired or approaching retirement.
The last sentence of the abstract emphasises the need for diagnosis and treatment of depression in Young Onset Parkinson’s.
Citation: Knipe, M. D. W., Wickremaratchi, M. M., Wyatt-Haines, E., Morris, H. R. and Ben-Shlomo, Y. (2011), Quality of life in young- compared with late-onset Parkinson’s disease. Movement Disorders, 26: n/a. doi: 10.1002/mds.23763