Can you die from Parkinson's disease ?

Can you die from Parkinson's disease ?

Peut-on mourir de la maladie de Parkinson ?

Iconic voice of the “8 p.m. Games" on FR3 in the 70s and 80s, host Jean-Pierre Descombes died from Parkinson's disease. But can this neurodegenerative disease, in itself, cause the death of people affected by it ?

Parkinson's disease is a chronic neurodegenerative condition, which primarily affects motor functions. According to Inserm, 25,000 new cases are diagnosed each year.

The disease is based on the presence of three main symptoms:

tremors which affect 70% of patients. They occur at rest and mainly affect the upper limbs; akinesia: it is a slowness in the execution and coordination of movements. This symptom mainly affects walking; hypertonia which is characterized by strong rigidity of the limbs.

The disease progresses through several stages which reflect its severity. It progresses from a first level where the clinical signs do not interfere with daily life (this is stage I) to a final level where autonomy is lost and walking is impossible. (stage V).

A disabling illness

Contrary to what one might believe, we do not, strictly speaking, die from Parkinson's disease. As the Parkinson Canada Association explains, "the disease does not reduce life expectancy. However, as we age and the disease progresses, the risks increase. So, poor balance can lead to falls. And swallowing problems, if neglected, can degenerate into pneumonia."

This is what we call aspiration pneumonia. It is caused by the aspiration of food which descends into the respiratory tract, gets stuck there and causes infection.

This is why Parkinson's disease requires ongoing vigilance and management to maintain the best possible quality of life.

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