Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the second most common chronic progressive neurodegenerative disorder in the elderly after Alzheimer’s disease, affecting 1–2% of individuals ages 65 years and older worldwide. PD is usually associated with other diseases and conditions.
A study published in the Neurology journal in June 2018 reported the strong association between PD and type 2 diabetes. De Pablo-Fernandez and colleagues used the Hospital Episode Statistics in England and identified that the risk of PD was 32% higher in the population with type 2 diabetes. The risk was also strongest in younger people and in those with uncontrolled diabetes.
Cases of PD are increasing steadily and it is expected that greater numbers of people will suffer from PD in the future. GlobalData epidemiologists forecast that the diagnosed prevalent cases of PD in the seven major markets (7MM: US, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK, and Japan) will increase from 2,285,000 cases in 2016 to 2,860,000 cases by 2026, at an Annual Growth Rate (AGR) of 2.50%, as shown in Figure 1.
Although the exact relationship between type 2 diabetes and PD is not yet clearly understood, researchers have speculated that there may be a genetic link to both the conditions. It has also been suggested that consistently high sugar level and lack of sensitivity to insulin might affect the brain and cause PD.
This finding of a link between type 2 diabetes and PD is very important, as diabetes is widely prevalent in the population, which increases the risk of more PD cases. However, on a positive note, keeping type 2 diabetes under control might also reduce the risk of developing PD. This finding also raises the possibility of common drug therapy effective for both type 2 diabetes and PD.