The number of people with Parkinson’s disease in the Netherlands increased alarmingly in the past decade. Ten years ago, there were fewer than 40,000 people with Parkinson’s or Parkinsonism (conditions similar to Parkinson’s) in the Netherlands. Now, there are 63,500, an increase of 30 percent, AD reports based on a study that will be published next week.
According to Parkison’s expert, Professor Bas Bloem of the Radboud University Medical Center in Nijmegen, the substantial increase is due to “exposure to rubbish in the environment,” like pesticides ingested through the air and food. The aging population may play a role, but not a decisive one, he thinks. “It is a misconception that it is a disease that only affects older people. One in three is under 65, and there are also quite a few people in their twenties and thirties who have it. The youngest patient is 13 years old: that is rare, but it does happen.”
There is currently no cure for Parkinson’s. Those who have it may experience uncontrollable shaking and tremors, incontinence, and sleep problems. Cognitive functions may also be affected, and it increases the risk of dementia.
The Parkinson’s Expertise Center at Radboudumc is conducting various studies into slowing down the disease. It is already clear that exercising intensively three times a week can stabilize the disease, Bloem told AD. And there are correlations between symptoms slowing down and reducing stress and drinking coffee, though those still need to be proven.
According to Bloem, early diagnosis is essential, as it gives more time and opportunity to slow down the development of symptoms through lifestyle changes. “According to the latest insights, people we diagnose have sometimes had Parkinson’s for 20 to 30 years.”
https://nltimes.nl/2023/09/15/netherlands-sees-30-increase-parkinsons-patients-10-years Netherlands sees 30% increase in Parkinson’s patients in 10 years