Parkinson's disease and working capacity



The purpose of the present study was to establish how Parkinson's disease (PD) affects working capacity. Altogether, 937 (70%) of 1,343 working-aged members of the Finnish Parkinson Association participated in a questionnaire study. The ages of the subjects were between 29 and 65 years, median 59.0 years; 508 (54%) were men. The median (quartile range) duration of PD symptoms was 7.3 (4.3–11.3) years, and the median self-estimated severity of the disease on the Hoehn & Yahr scale was 2. Only 150 of 937 subjects (16%) were still working: 112 (12%) full-time and 38 (4%) part-time. Among those 343 (37%) who had retired purely because of PD at a median age of 53.4 years, the median working time was 1.7 years after established diagnosis. In part-time work, PD patients had been able to continue for a median of 4.3 years. PD often leads to early retirement; compared with the general Finnish population of similar age, PD patients had retired on the average 6 years earlier. Young age, mild symptoms, and short duration of the disease as well as adjustments enabling easier employment were associated with the possibility to continue longer in the work force. © 2006 Movement Disorder Society