Background: Adequate provision of appropriate healthcare resources for patients with chronic neurologic disorders such as Parkinson's disease (PD) requires knowledge of the impact of the illness on their life. Quality of life (QoL) instruments measure the impact of the disease on general well-being that cannot be fully appreciated by clinical rating scales and allow comparisons with other patient groups and the general population.
Objectives: To assess QoL in a population-based sample of patients with PD in different disease stages in comparison with the general population.
Methods: All 124 patients with PD seen in a population-based study on the prevalence of parkinsonism in the London area were asked to complete a QoL battery including the EuroQoL 5D (EQ-5D), the Medical Outcome Study Short Form (SF 36), and the 39-item Parkinson's Disease questionnaire (PDQ-39). An interview and complete neurologic examination, including the Hoehn and Yahr scale, were performed on the same day. The patients' QoL scores were compared with published QoL norms from the United Kingdom population.
Results: Quality of life, as measured by the PDQ-39, the EQ-5D, and the physical summary of the SF 36, deteriorated significantly with increasing disease severity. The greatest impairment was seen in the areas related to physical and social functioning, whereas reports of pain and poor emotional adjustment had similar prevalence in patients with PD and the general population. The impairment of QoL was seen in all age groups and was similar for men and women, but the differences between patients with PD and the general population were most marked in the younger patient groups.
Conclusions: Parkinson's disease interferes with various aspects of QoL, particularly those related to physical and social functioning. This information should be taken into account in the clinical management and planning and allocation of healthcare resources to this population.