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What Is The Prognosis For Progressive Supranuclear Palsy & Lifestyle Changes For It?

The principal areas of the brain affected in progressive supranuclear palsy are basal ganglia, particularly the subthalamic nucleus, substantia nigra, and globus pallidus.(1)

Researchers are working to develop medication to treat progressive supranuclear palsy, including therapies that may block the formation of tau.(2)

What Is The Prognosis For Progressive Supranuclear Palsy?

Progressive supranuclear palsy is a degenerative condition and belongs to a group of disorders characterized by the formation and deposition of abnormal or truncated protein chains which affects the various parts of the brain producing a variety of symptoms related to the nervous system. Conditions such as corticobasal degeneration, Lewy body dementia, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease all belong to this group of disorders. It is very important to know about the condition as well as its outcome to provide the patient with the best possible care.

According to the epidemiological data and surveys, progressive supranuclear palsy is a rare disease with a prevalence of about 1.39 per lakh persons. It also shows male preponderance with a prevalence of 1.53 per lakh males representing a greater prevalence than the overall number.

But if the denominator is changed from total population to population above 55 years of age then the prevalence shows a large increase and goes till 7 per lakh people.

Various cohort studies had been done and published which shows that this condition is almost fatal with a large number of people dying in initial years after progressive supranuclear palsy. Although the average was between 2 to 17 years median age was near 6 years. Pneumonia is the leading cause of death in most of the individuals because of the pseudobulbar palsy. It is very common to get misdiagnosed at the early stages because other degenerative conditions of the brain may mimic the symptoms, therefore, resulting in a delay of the diagnosis and treatment also.

Progressive supranuclear palsy also has a severe impact on the quality of life which can be judged by the fact that nearly 50% of the individuals suffering from this condition require aid for walking within 3 years once the symptom has begun to appear.

Lifestyle Changes For Progressive Supranuclear Palsy

Due to the risk of progressive supranuclear palsy’s potential complications, it is very important to maintain the diet of the individual. The patient must take a well-balanced diet because in the later phases he may suffer from dysphagia resulting causation of a lot of deficiency diseases.

When the dysphagia becomes so much that it is almost impossible for the person to eat then the gastric feeding tube or gastrostomy can be done to maintain the intake.

It also affects the gait of the patient leading to difficulty in walking which can be supported by the use of walking aid or it can be improved by passive modifications and physiotherapy. Eye movements and balancing therapy is taught to prevent the fixation of gaze and reduce the risk of falling.


In most of the cases of progressive supranuclear palsy, the prognosis is not a favorable one. It is associated with almost a hundred percent fatality because it goes on progressing and cannot be stopped. According to a study published in the US, the median age for death after the symptoms of progressive supranuclear palsy were first encountered was 9.3 years. The condition also shows male preponderance with the prognosis as more deadly in the favor of males. Lack of effective cure along with the potential complications such as upper respiratory tract infection is the major contributor to the fatality rate.

As the condition progresses, the patient requires newer changes in the lifestyle to cope with it and to maintain the quality of life. Usage of walking aid and physiotherapy is given to managing the gait disturbances. Alternative methods of feeding are employed in cases of dysphagia.


Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 1, 2020

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