New Research Suggests People Who Develop Anxiety After 50 Are Twice As Likely To Develop Parkinson’s Disease - - illustrative purposes only, not the actual person

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, an estimated 31.1% of U.S. adults experience some form of anxiety disorder at some point in their lives.

Now, a new University College London (UCL) study suggests individuals with anxiety are twice as likely to develop Parkinson’s disease (PD).

“The risk of developing PD was at least doubled in people with anxiety compared with those without,” the study’s authors concluded.

However, it’s crucial to note that this increased risk is specific to those who develop anxiety after the age of 50. These findings may also aid in improving the diagnosis and early treatment of Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that manifests through a variety of symptoms, such as involuntary movements, a distinctive tremor, balance issues, sleep disorders, loss of smell, and cognitive impairment. It is estimated that Parkinson’s impacts over 8.5 million people around the globe.

“Anxiety is known to be a feature of the early stages of Parkinson’s disease, but prior to our study, the prospective risk of Parkinson’s in those over the age of 50 with new-onset anxiety was unknown,” said Juan Bazo Avarez, the study’s co-lead author.

Primary care data from the U.K. spanning from 2008 to 2018 was analyzed for this study. The research team examined the frequency of Parkinson’s symptoms among 109,435 adult participants – all of whom developed anxiety after passing the age of 50. Afterward, the researchers compared this data against 878,256 matched control participants without anxiety.

The researchers also made sure to consider other potentially confounding factors, including gender, age, socioeconomic background, mental illness, lifestyle factors, dementia, and head trauma.

The findings ultimately showed that individuals who developed anxiety after 50 years old were twice as likely to develop Parkinson’s disease compared to individuals in the control group. – – illustrative purposes only, not the actual person

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