Parkinsons Disease: Can It Be Prevented
Presented by Dr. Marc Davis, Wellness Expert
Dr. Marc Davis
Unless you live under a rock, youve probably heard a lot about Parkinsons disease lately.; In recent years, this formerly obscure disorder has captured the media spotlight.; Much of this attention is due to high-profile personalities with the disorder, including actor Michael J Fox, United States Attorney Genera Janet Reno and boxing legend Mohammed Ali.
Parkinsons disease involves the degeneration of nerve cells in the brain region that control muscle movement .; Destruction of these cells causes a drop in levels of dopamine, a brain chemical that transmits information between nerve cells.; Insufficient coordination problems, frozen facial expression, speech impediments and tremors.; Rigidity, memory loss and depression are also associated with this condition.
Although scientists have yet to discover the exact cause of PD two out of 1,000 people are afflicted with the disease genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors all appear to play a role.
Parkinsons, like many others, affects members of every race and walk of life.; Although PD is more common in people over the age of 50, its afflicting younger adults at a rapidly escalating rate .
What Is The Outlook For Persons With Parkinsons Disease
Although there is no cure or absolute evidence of ways to prevent Parkinsons disease, scientists are working hard to learn more about the disease and find innovative ways to better manage it, prevent it from progressing and ultimately curing it.
Currently, you and your healthcare teams efforts are focused on medical management of your symptoms along with general health and lifestyle improvement recommendations . By identifying individual symptoms and adjusting the course of action based on changes in symptoms, most people with Parkinsons disease can live fulfilling lives.
The future is hopeful. Some of the research underway includes:
- Using stem cells to produce new neurons, which would produce dopamine.
- Producing a dopamine-producing enzyme that is delivered to a gene in the brain that controls movement.
- Using a naturally occurring human protein glial cell-line derived neurotrophic factor, GDNF to protect dopamine-releasing nerve cells.
Many other investigations are underway too. Much has been learned, much progress has been made and additional discoveries are likely to come.
How Do You Prevent Parkinsons Disease
Parkinsons disease or PD is a type of progressive disease of nervous system. In this case, human brain of a person stops producing dopamine i.e. a neurotransmitter gradually. With less amount of dopamine, individuals fail to regulate their body movements and emotions.
This condition also involves degeneration of basal ganglia present in the human brain and alterations in its other parts and neurotransmitters. The progression of Parkinsons disease problem takes place slowly in human beings and symptoms require many years to develop. Because of this, most of the people may live for many years even by suffering from the problem.
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Genetics Coffee Consumption And Parkinson’s Disease
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Office of Public Health GenomicsCenters for Disease Control and Prevention
The 4 primary motor symptoms of Parkinsons disease are:
- Tremor of the hands, arms, legs, jaw, or face. Tremors caused by Parkinsons may be barely noticeable at first. They get worse over time. Tremors tend to get worse when the person is at rest and better when the person moves. The tremor may affect one side of the body more than the other.
- Slowed movements . Over time, a person who has Parkinsons may begin to move slowly and take a long time to perform simple tasks. This includes getting out of a chair, buttoning a shirt, or cutting food.
- Stiff muscles . Over time, muscles in the body may contract and become stiff, which makes it hard to move them. This can make it difficult for a person to do simple tasks, including feeding themselves, standing up, or walking.
- Posture and balance problems. Parkinsons disease can make it hard for a person to stand up or sit up straight. It can also cause balance problems when sitting, standing, or walking. This can lead to falls.
Other motor symptoms include:
- Feet feel like they are glued to the floor, and that it is impossible to step forward.
- Handwriting shrinkage. The slowed movements cause problems with repetitive actions. This can make handwriting get smaller over time.
- Mask-like expression. A persons face may look less expressive than normal.
- Quick movements. Some people with Parkinsons experience movements that are too quick instead of too slow.
- loss of smell
- vision or dental problems
- fatigue or loss of energy
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Why Exercise Can Help Delay The Onset Of Parkinsons Disease
Parkinsons disease affects more than a million people in the United States alone, and it is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder in the country. It is also the most common of movement disorders, which also include neurological disorders like Dystonia, Huntingtons disease, Tourettes syndrome, and others. In fact, there are 60,000 new patients diagnosed with PD each year, and men are one and a half times more likely to develop the disease than women.
PD affects both motor and non-motor related faculties and could include symptoms such as tremors, limb rigidity, gait and balance difficulties, slowness of movement, depression, constipation, sleep issues, and cognitive impairment. Though these symptoms may not be readily apparent, they develop and progress as the disease spreads.
Experts remain unsure exactly what causes Parkinsons a combination of environmental and genetic factors seems to be at play but the good news is that there are ways to slow its onset and protect against its development. One helpful method is to maintain good health through a balanced diet high in fiber and antioxidant-rich foods . Other preventative measures include getting proper sleep, minimizing stress, limiting exposure to toxins, and avoiding head injuries.
Research shows that something else is also promising in preventing and delaying the onset of PD: regular exercise.
Living With Parkinsons Disease
Living with a chronic illness can be frustrating and discouraging. Parkinsons will gradually get worse. You will eventually have trouble with simple tasks. These include walking, talking, and eating, among many others. It is common for people with Parkinsons to develop depression. Antidepressant medicines are available and can help with your depression symptoms. If youve been feeling persistently sad or hopeless, call your doctor. There is help available.
Joining a support group can be particularly helpful for Parkinsons patients. It is helpful to have people around you who know exactly what youre going through. It is also a good idea to eat a healthy diet, exercise, and stay as active as you can.
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Eat Fermented Foods For Probiotics
Our lack of gut health or any digestive disorders are usually starts from having;a severely imbalanced gut flora.
Many people underestimate the importance of gut health and often disregard the;care of a healthy gut, and;eating foods that undermine gut health.
Fermented foods are some;of the best foods for replenishing your gut with beneficial bacteria to;strengthen gut health and the immune system.
Some of the fermented foods you could add to your diet include kefir, kombucha tea, sauerkraut, kimchi and tempeh .
What Causes Parkinsons Disease
Parkinsons disease occurs when nerve cells in an area of the brain called the substantia nigra become impaired or die. These cells normally produce dopamine, a chemical that helps the cells of the brain communicate . When these nerve cells become impaired or die, they produce less dopamine. Dopamine is especially important for the operation of another area of the brain called the basal ganglia. This area of the brain is responsible for organizing the brains commands for body movement. The loss of dopamine causes the movement symptoms seen in people with Parkinsons disease.
People with Parkinsons disease also lose another neurotransmitter called norepinephrine. This chemical is needed for proper functioning of the sympathetic nervous system. This system controls some of the bodys autonomic functions such as digestion, heart rate, blood pressure and breathing. Loss of norepinephrine causes some of the non-movement-related symptoms of Parkinsons disease.
Scientists arent sure what causes the neurons that produce these neurotransmitter chemicals to die.
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Theories About What Causes Parkinsons
The cause of Parkinsons disease is still unknown, although there is some evidence for the role of genetics, environmental factors, or a combination of both. It is also possible that there may be more than one cause of the disease. Scientists generally believe that both genetics and environment interact to cause Parkinsons disease in most people who have it.
Currently, there is an enormous amount of research directed at producing more answers about what causes Parkinsons disease and how it might be prevented or cured. When physicians diagnose Parkinsons, they often describe it as idiopathic . This simply means that the cause of the;disease is not known.
There Is No Cure Or Single Way To Stop Pd Psychosis From Occurring But There Are Good Treatments Available To Help
ABout 20% to 40% of people who develop Parkinson’s disease will go on to have psychosis as well. There is no known way to prevent this from happening, says Andrew S. Feigin, M.D., director of the Fresco Institute for Parkinsons & Movement Disorders at NYU Langone Health, but there are ways you can spot it early and treat it.
I think an open discussion with your physician can be helpful in that many times people are embarrassed about admitting that they’re seeing things that are not really there and they may not say anything, and the doctor may therefore not be aware of it and therefore can’t adjust medications to improve it. I think being honest with your doctor, honest with your family members that you’re seeing things.
This is subjective sensation. Sometimes it could be hard to tell if somebody’s sitting in a chair and seeing animals running across the floor. Other people may not know that unless the person tells them that they’re seeing something. I think being open about it and telling family members, caregivers, and your doctor about it early on can help find a plan for alleviating the symptoms.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Parkinsons Disease
Symptoms of Parkinsons disease and the rate of decline vary widely from person to person. The most common symptoms include:
Other symptoms include:
- Speech/vocal changes: Speech may be quick, become slurred or be soft in tone. You may hesitate before speaking. The pitch of your voice may become unchanged .
- Handwriting changes: You handwriting may become smaller and more difficult to read.
- Depression and anxiety.
- Sleeping disturbances including disrupted sleep, acting out your dreams, and restless leg syndrome.
- Pain, lack of interest , fatigue, change in weight, vision changes.
- Low blood pressure.
Other Ways To Protect Against Parkinsons
If you dont practice detoxification regularly, I urge you to review my;earlier newsletter on the topic; flushing chemicals and other toxins from your body could shield you from Parkinsons and a host of other ailments. In addition, here are some additional steps you can take to minimize your risk of developing this devastating disease.
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Adopt A Regular Sleep Rhythm
Optimizing your circadian rhythm and improving your sleep promotes brain health and may reduce your risk of developing Parkinsons disease. To optimize your rhythm, create a regular sleepwake schedule and sleep in a room that is completely dark and free of light pollution from electronic devices. Avoid using blue light-emitting devices, such as computers and cell phones, several hours before bed. If you must use these devices, wear a pair of blue light-blocking glasses while doing so; the glasses prevent blue light from disrupting your sleep rhythm.
What Causes Parkinson Disease
Parkinson disease arises from decreased dopamine production in the brain. The absence of dopamine makes it hard for the brain to coordinate muscle movements. Low dopamine also contributes to mood and cognitive problems later in the course of the disease. Experts don’t know what triggers the development of Parkinson disease most of the time. Early onset Parkinson disease is often inherited and is the result of certain gene defects.
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Falls And Common Household Hazards
If you or a loved one has Parkinson’s disease, here are tips for preventing falls around the home:
- Floors. Remove all loose wires, cords, and throw rugs. Minimize clutter. Make sure rugs are anchored and smooth. Keep furniture in its accustomed place.
- Bathroom. Install grab bars and nonskid tape in the tub or shower. Use nonskid bath mats on the floor or install wall-to-wall carpeting.
- Lighting. Make sure halls, stairways, and entrances are well lit. Install a night light in your bathroom or hallway. Make sure there is a light switch at the top and bottom of the staircase. Turn lights on if you get up in the middle of the night. Make sure lamps or light switches are within reach of the bed if you have to get up during the night.
- Kitchen. Install nonskid rubber mats near the sink and stove. Clean up spills immediately.
- Stairs. Make sure treads, rails, and rugs are secure. Install a rail on both sides of the stairs. If stairs are a threat, it may be helpful to arrange most of your activities on the lower level to reduce the number of times stairs must be climbed.
- Entrances and doorways. Install metal handles on the walls adjacent to doorknobs of all doors to make it more secure as you travel through the doorway.
Eat Wisely And Choose Whole Foods
A diet based on whole, nutrient-dense foods is an excellent first step for reducing your risk of Parkinsons disease. A high intake of fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, fish, olive oil, coconut oil, fresh herbs, and spices is associated with a reduced risk of PD development and slower disease progression. Eating plenty of vegetables and fiber boosts levels of an anti-inflammatory group of gut bacteria that are inversely associated with Parkinsons disease and may play a protective role against neurodegenerative processes in the brain.
Choose organic foods over conventionally grown foods as much as possible. Eating organic reduces your exposure to neurotoxic pesticides and herbicides. If you cant buy all organic food, refer to the Environmental Working Groups Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists to determine which types of conventional produce are lowest in pesticide residues and are safe to buy non-organic.
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Tips To Slow Or Stop Progression
Some suggest that you may be able to delay some of the effects of Parkinsons disease through regular physical activity. Ideally this would include a combination of exercise that includes:
- aerobic activity
- balance training
- functional activities
The NINDS has funded a number of studies to learn more about the impact of exercise, including whether exercise might help people delay the need for medication.
Multiple Physical Activities Can Improve Motor And Nonmotor Symptoms Of Parkinson’s Disease
Mehrholz et al. and Herman et al.’s study found that running can improve gait and physical fitness and better safety . Aguiar et al. indicated that regular dancing has the benefit of balance and mobility in PD patients . The rhythmic music used in dancing could activate neurons that are conducive to motor control, accompanied by increasing blood flow in the hippocampus, frontal, temporal, and parietal cortex. This promotion of neural plasticity improves movement, balance, and cognition of the body . Also, Tai Chi and Qigong could upgrade the motor function and balance ability of patients with mild to moderate PD . Yoga provides modest improvements in motor functions, mobility, balance, flexibility, and strength in upper and lower limbs, while helps reduce the fear of falls in Parkinson’s patients .
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Important Supplements That May Help
Once you;stop putting toxins;into your body and eat clean, the trillions of cells in your body will be;able to start living normally again. Eating the right foods and taking the necessary supplements will now begin to boost your brain health and healing.
Here are some supplements;that will speed up the reversal of PD symptoms:
- Magnesium:; First and foremost on the list is magnesium. Low intake of this mineral magnesium, enables;the deposition of excess calcium, heavy metals and toxins in the brain that leads to Parkinsons and Alzheimers diseases. When there is adequate presence;of magnesium, heavy metals cannot be absorbed in the small intestines. Magnesium plays a vital role in protecting neurons from the lethal effects of aluminium and mercury poisoning.
- B vitamins:; A deficiency in;vitamins B9 and B12 can cause brain problems that will initially manifest as depression, anxiety or even psychosis. The other B vitamins are useful for protecting against age-related brain wasting, and possibly prevent memory loss.
- Glutathione: ;Glutathione is the mother of all antioxidants;and is powerful in neutralizing free radicals damage and greatly reduce oxidative stress that destroy neurons.
- Grape seed extract: ;Has;super antioxidant effect that reduces DNA fragmentation in the brain. It is able to cross into the brain to protect brain cells from free radical damage.