Weight loss and impact on quality of life in Parkinson's disease

PLoS One. 2015 May 4;10(5):e0124541. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0124541. eCollection 2015.


Introduction: Weight loss is common in Parkinson's Disease (PD) and sometimes may precede the diagnosis. Weight loss is associated with multiple factors but its impact on health-related quality of life (HRQL) in PD remains unknown. We sought to investigate the factors associated with weight change and to quantify its effect on HRQL.

Methods: The National Parkinson Foundation Quality Improvement Initiative (NPF-QII) data was used to analyze PD patients longitudinally between two visits, separated by 12 ± 6 months. Multiple linear regression analyses were used to assess the associations between baseline covariates and body weight change per month, and to evaluate whether, and to what degree, Parkinson's Disease Questionnaire (PDQ-39) scores were affected.

Results: A higher Hoehn & Yahr stage, higher number of comorbidities, older age, lower MOCA estimate, and higher rate of levodopa usage were observed in patients who lost weight. Multivariate regression analysis indicated that age and levodopa usage were significantly associated with weight loss. Furthermore, monthly body weight loss was significantly associated with HRQL decline in PD patients. Loss of 1 lb (0.45 kg) per month was associated with a decline in QOL: an increase of 0.5% in PDQ-39 Summary Index score (p=0.004), and 1.1% and 1.5% increases in the mobility and ADL dimensions, respectively.

Conclusion: Weight loss in PD is common and seems to correlate with worsened HRQL. Awareness of factors associated with weight loss and its relation to HRQL may help practitioners improve patient management and expectations.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Demography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Weight Loss*

Grant support

The authors received no specific funding for this work.