It is quite uncommon to come across an article that actually says smoking reduces the risk of any disease, well today is a day to remember. A recent study published in the American Academy of Neurology links smoking and Parkinson’s disease.
People who smoked for 40 or more years were 46 percent less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than people who never smoked. Those who smoked for 30 to 39 years were 35 percent less likely to have the disease than nonsmokers. In contrast, those who smoked for one to nine years were only eight percent less likely to get the disease.
What is Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s disease (PD) belongs to a group of conditions called motor system disorders, which are the result of the loss of dopamine-producing brain cells. The four primary symptoms of PD are tremor, or trembling in hands, arms, legs, jaw, and face; rigidity, or stiffness of the limbs and trunk; bradykinesia, or slowness of movement; and postural instability, or impaired balance and coordination. As these symptoms become more pronounced, patients may have difficulty walking, talking, or completing other simple tasks. PD usually affects people over the age of 50.
It is estimated that Parkinson’s affects over 500,000 people at any given time in the US with 50,000 new diagnosis’ a year. Looking at the results it appears that if you smoke for a significant amount of time you can lower the risk of getting a disease that affects less than 1 percent of the population. Let’s not forget how many people die each year from smoking related illnesses and the negative affects smoking has on a person.
Of course this isn’t a reason to start smoking or continue to smoke and it is highly unlikely anyone will say, “Hey, I am going to start smoking when I am 17 so I don’t get Parkinson’s.” I just thought this was an interesting finding, how they come up with this stuff I will never know.