Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative condition after Alzheimer’s. Around 500,000 Americans have a confirmed PD diagnosis, but since many go undiagnosed, the actual number is likely much higher.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), some estimates for people with PD in the United States reach as high as 1 million.

The World Health Organization (WHO) also reports that globally, over 8.5 million individuals had PD in 2019. They go on to say that the prevalence of PD has doubled in the last 25 years.

This article looks at statistics for Parkinson’s disease, who is at risk of developing PD, and more.

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Some experts estimate as many as 1 million people in the U.S. live with PD. According to the Parkinson’s Foundation (PF), some expect this number to rise to 1.2 million by 2030.

Although numbers differ between sources, the PF estimates that around 90,000 people in the U.S. receive a PD diagnosis each year.

The risk of developing Parkinson’s increases with age. Despite this, younger people can also develop PD. According to the PF, around 4% of people with PD received a diagnosis before they were 50 years old.

Parkinson’s affects more males than females, with males being up to 1.5 times more likely to have the condition than females.

According to the WHO, several studies show that environmental factors, such as pesticides, air pollution, and industrial chemicals, could increase the risk of PD.

The exact cause of PD is unknown, but many researchers believe it results from a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Most people with Parkinson’s do not have a family history of the condition, but a few instances appear to be hereditary.

Genetics is a known cause in around 10–15% of all people with PD. These trace back to specific genetic variants.

Some ethnic groups are more likely to carry genes linked to PD, such as North African Arab Berbers and Ashkenazi Jews. Researchers do not yet fully understand this, though.

Parkinson’s disease is the fastest-growing neurological disorder worldwide. Global rates of people with PD more than doubled from around 2.5 million in 1990 to approximately 6.1 million in 2016.

This is likely due to the increasing numbers of older people globally. As people’s quality of life is generally increasing, they are living longer, and as such, they have more chance of developing PD.

However, environmental factors, such as increased environmental toxins and air pollution, may also play a role.

A 2018 study explains that areas that have seen rapid industrialization in the last few years have the largest increase in people with PD. For example, the number of people with PD in China increased more than in any other country between 1990 and 2016.

It is not possible to prevent Parkinson’s disease, but some lifestyle changes and precautions may help reduce the risk.

Some behaviors that may reduce the risk of Parkinson’s include:

  • Avoiding toxins: As environmental toxins play a role in Parkinson’s, avoiding toxin and chemical exposure, where possible, may reduce the risk. Avoiding using pesticides, herbicides, and other known toxins, where possible, and wearing protective gear when toxins are present is best.
  • Exercising: According to a 2018 review, regular physical activity can help prevent Parkinson’s by maintaining a person’s dopamine levels in their brain.
  • Following a specific diet: Some research shows a link between Parkinson’s and diet. For example, a 2019 study found that following a Mediterranean diet may reduce Parkinson’s risk.
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Learn more about Parkinson’s disease.

This section answers some frequently asked questions about Parkinson’s disease.

What country has the highest rate of Parkinson’s disease?

According to a 2021 review that examined 204 countries, high-income areas of North America had the highest increase in the prevalence of Parkinson’s from 1990 to 2019. The prevalence refers to the number of people living with PD in that specific period.

The same review states that East Asia had the highest increases in PD incidence in that period. Incidence refers to the number of people who receive a new Parkinson’s diagnosis.

The number of people with PD in China, in particular, increased more than in any other country between 1990 and 2019.

However, the study observed that trends of PD decreased in Mediterranean countries, including Italy and Spain. This may be due to the Mediterranean diet, which researchers link to a decreased risk for Parkinson’s.

What are the odds of getting Parkinson’s disease?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the prevalence of people with a Parkinson’s diagnosis is about 1% for people 60 years of age. This increases to around 4% by age 80.

However, certain factors, such as genetics and exposure to environmental toxins, can increase the risk of a person developing Parkinson’s.

There are things that a person can do that may reduce the risk of developing PD. These include making dietary changes, exercising regularly, and avoiding toxic chemicals.

Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative condition after Alzheimer’s. There are around 90,000 new cases of PD in the U.S. every year, and over 8.5 million people worldwide live with PD.

The risk of developing PD increases with age. Additionally, males are 1.5 times more likely to develop the condition than females.

PD rates have been increasing globally in recent years. This is partly due to an aging global population and an increase in industrial chemicals.

Although there is no guaranteed way to prevent Parkinson’s, there are ways that may reduce the risk of developing it. These include getting regular exercise, making dietary changes, and avoiding toxic chemicals.