Blogging with Parkinson's

A personal perspective on Young Onset Parkinson's

Skittle Statistics


I was putting a short piece together to accompany the Parkinson’s UK collecting tin while it spends Parkinson’s Awareness Week at my workplace, and I thought I’d illustrate the statistics. The graphic didn’t seem very conducive to parting the unaware from their cash, so I left it out.

But I thought that it was worth posting it here.


The statistics are:

One person in every 500 has Parkinson’s. (That’s the coloured skitttle.)
Most are diagnosed over the age of 50, but one in 20 is under the age of 40. (That’s the pink bit.)

Basically, one person in every 2,500 gets diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson’s before they hit 40. (It’s still Young Onset below the age of 50, I believe, but I haven’t found what the statistics are for the extra ten years.)


6 thoughts on “Skittle Statistics

  1. It’s just been pointed out to me that the stats make it just one person in my village with Young Onset Parkinson’s (dx before 40). I was 39, so I guess that makes the rest of the younger villagers statistically safe.

  2. Forgive me for getting statistical, but it’s quite important with things like this. I think Parkinson’s UK are treating “lifetime risk” and “prevalence” as the same thing, when they’re very different. Your blog had the positive effect of leading to the Parkinson’s UK website and the awareness week media pack. Which, by the way, is really good apart from my possible quibble with the stats.

    It says that at present 127,000 people in the UK have it, which is a prevalence of about 1 in 500. But then it says “1 in 500 chance of developing Parkinson’s”. Now, if 1 in 500 people have it now, surely the chance of developing it at some point is quite a bit higher ? In other words, I’m one of the lucky 499 in 500 that don’t have it now, but of course some of the 499 will develop Parkinson’s as we go on through life.

    So they’ve got me a bit confused with the figures. Is the 127,000 an overestimate of the number of people now. Or is the 1 in 500 an underestimate of lifetime risk ?

    Of course it doesn’t make a difference to the need for awareness, research and changing attitudes. Good luck with the campaign and fundraising anyway !

  3. The statistic from what I recall is that one in one hundred adults over the age of 60 will develop Parkinson’s at some point. And with the population ageing, that is a concerning statistic indeed.

  4. A quick search online suggests that best estimates of lifetime risk is anything between 1 – 2%, but these figures are really hard to calculate accurately. Of course the world should do the right thing, regardless of how common or rare a condition is. Sometimes the competition between charitable organisations leaves me a little downhearted, to show which condition is the greatest cause for social alarm !

    The best bit of the Parkinsons UK pack that I linked to, is what people say would help most, when one is out and about in the world; and the individual stories from different people.

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