Why is the Parkinson’s Foundation looking at the specific needs of women? Men and women experience Parkinson’s disease (PD) differently, as it relates to their symptoms, medications, medical care and support services.
Research shows differences and disparities including:
- Women have a lower risk of developing Parkinson’s.
- Estrogen may be protective against PD in the brain.
- There may be sex differences in PD symptoms, but the data are inconsistent.
- Women more often experience large swings in symptoms from even small changes in medications or schedules, with dyskinesias being the most frequently reported fluctuation.
- Despite greater reported improvements to quality of life than men, women are less likely to receive DBS.
- Women are less likely than men to be cared for by a PD specialist, neurologist or movement disorder specialist.
- Although on average, women typically see a physician more frequently than men, women with PD are accessing medical care for their Parkinson’s less than men.
After identifying significant gender differences in Parkinson’s treatment and care, as well as the lack of any coordinated effort to address them, in 2013, the Parkinson’s Foundation filled the gap with the creation of the Women and PD Initiative. We are shedding light on and finding solutions for women-specific issues to help improve the health and well-being of women with PD.
If you would like to learn more about this initiative, contact the Parkinson’s Foundation Helpline at 1-800-4PD-INFO (473-4636) or firstname.lastname@example.org.