Does heart attack have a connection to Parkinson’s disease? According to new research, people who have had a heart attack may be slightly less likely than people in the general population to develop Parkinson’s disease later in life.
he study was published in the ‘Journal of the American Heart Association’, an open access, peer-reviewed journal of the American Heart Association.
Parkinson’s disease is a brain disorder characterized by progressive loss of physical movement, including tremors, slow or slurred speech, and/or stiffness or limited range of motion for walking and other physical activities. There is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, and it is also associated with behavioural changes, depression, memory loss and fatigue. Secondary Parkinsonism, which has symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease, may be caused by stroke, psychiatric or cardiovascular medications, or other illnesses.”We have previously found that following a heart attack, the risk of neurovascular complications such as ischemic stroke [clot-caused stroke] or vascular dementia is markedly increased, so the finding of a lower risk of Parkinson’s disease was somewhat surprising,” said lead study author Jens Sundboll, M.D., PhD, from the departments of clinical epidemiology and cardiology at the Aarhus University Hospital in Aarhus, Denmark. “These findings indicate that the risk of Parkinson’s disease is at least not increased following a heart attack and should not be a worry for patients or a preventive focus for clinicians at follow-up.”
It is not known whether this inverse relationship with risk of Parkinson’s disease extends to people who have had a heart attack. Therefore, we examined the long-term risk of Parkinson’s disease and secondary parkinsonism among heart attack survivors,” Sundboll said.
The researchers examined health registries from the Danish National Health Service. They compared the risk of Parkinson’s disease and secondary parkinsonism among about 182,000 patients who had a first-time heart attack between 1995 and 2016 (average age 71 years old; 62 per cent male) and more than 909,000 controls matched for age, sex and year of heart attack diagnosis. The results were adjusted for a variety of factors known to influence the risk of either heart attack or Parkinson’s disease.