Risk of Parkinson’s Disease Reduced by Drinking Alcohol

The risk of Parkinson’s disease is reduced by drinking. This is the finding of an analysis of 32 studies. They involved 677,550 men and women.

The risk of Parkinson’s disease dropped, on average, five percent for every increment of one drink consumed each day.

What is Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s Disease is a serious, chronic, incurable disease of the central nervous system. Its symptoms are serious.

risk of Parkinson's

Dr. James Parkinson

  • Tremors
  • Slow movement
  • Difficulty balancing
  • Difficulty walking.
  • Stooped posture
  • Loss of motor skills
  • Changes in voice, speech, and hand writing.
  • Loss of expression on the face.
  • Memory loss.
  • Unconscious movements while talking. That is, such things as blinking, smiling, gesturing, and swinging arms.
  • Increasing difficulty swallowing.
  • Gradual, progressively worse, rigidity of muscles.

Parkinson’s disease tends to cause skin disease, depression, dementia and early death. There is no cure. However, medication and brain surgery can sometimes reduce symptoms.

Facts about Parkinson’s Disease

  • About 60,000 people in the US are diagnosed every year.
  • An estimated seven to 10 million people around the world have the disease.
  • The risk increases with age. Most are diagnosed after age  50.
  • Men are much more likely to have Parkinson’s than women.
  • The cause or causes are not yet known.

Here are ten early warning signs of Parkinson’s disease. If you have more than one sign, talk with your doctor.

  • A tremor or shaking of your thumb, finger, hand, lip, or chin.
  • Suddenly smaller handwriting.
  • Lack of ability to smell certain foods very well.
  • Sudden movements while sleeping. Perhaps falling out of bed.
  • Feeling stiff in your body, arms or legs that doesn’t go away as you move about.
  • Constipation
  • A change in voice, such as a soft, low, or hoarse voice.
  • Having a ‘masked face.’ A serious, depressed or angry look on your face. Or you stare or don’t blink your eyes very often.
  • Feeling dizzy when standing up.
  • Stooping, hunching over, or not standing as straight as in the past.

Reducing the risk of Parkinson’s disease could increase quality of life and longevity. It could also lower medical costs to individuals and society.

London physician James Parkinson identified the disease in 1817.

Reference: Zhang, D., et al. Alcohol intake and risk of Parkinson’s disease. A meta-analysis of observational studies. Move Dis, 2014, 29(6), 819-822.

Resources on the Risk of Parkinson’s Disease