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What Helps With Parkinson’s Disease

Is Medical Marijuana An Option For Me

Boxing to help fight Parkinson’s disease

What’s next for a person with PD who wants to know if medical marijuana is an option? “Marijuana should never be thought of as a replacement for dopaminergic and other approved therapies for PD,” said Dr. Michael S. Okun, the Parkinson’s Foundation National Medical Advisor.

Research is still needed to determine how medical marijuana should be administered and how its long-term use can affect symptoms of PD. To keep patients safe, states that legalize medical marijuana will eventually need to develop training programs for doctors and medical teams that prescribe medical marijuana. Consult your doctor to see if medical marijuana is an option for you.

The Parkinsons Foundation is designed to help guide the PD community in making informed decisions about using cannabis for Parkinsons. The statement is based on the input from 46 experts who attended the Foundations first-ever medical marijuana convening. Read it now. 

Page reviewed by Dr. Bhavana Patel, Movement Disorders Fellow at the University of Florida, a Parkinsons Foundation Center of Excellence.

Possible Side Effects Of Cbd Oil

Most studies have concluded that CBD is a safe and well-tolerated substance. The WHO issued a complete report on the safety and efficacy of cannabidiol, supporting the earlier findings. CBD rarely causes any side effects, and if they do happen, they tend to be mild.

The side effects of CBD oil include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea

CBD can also interact with prescription and non-prescription medications, so make sure to always consult your doctor before taking CBD, especially if youre on medications that are metabolized by the Cytochrome P450 system. If your doctor tells you not to eat grapefruit along with your meds, the same rule applies to CBD because they use an identical mechanism, blocking the p450 system from metabolizing the active ingredients in those medications.

Can You Use Cbd Oil As A Prevention For Parkinsons

Studies have suggested that CBD may be able to help prevent Parkinsons disease, but the current data comes only from animal models.

The research also suggests that CBD can do nothing to help treat PD after its onset. Based on this, it may only be useful as a preventive supplement.

However, most clinical trials only use CBD after a person is diagnosed with Parkinsons disease. This is important because about 60 percent of the dopamine-receptive neurons in the brain are already destroyed by the time a person begins showing the symptoms of their condition.

Its also difficult to predict who will develop Parkinsons and who will be more resistant to this disease. There are only a few preventive strategies, and thus far, we dont know if CBD can help everyone.

How Is Parkinsons Diagnosed

Doctors use your medical history and physical examination to diagnose Parkinson’s disease . No blood test, brain scan or other test can be used to make a definitive diagnosis of PD.

Researchers believe that in most people, Parkinson’s is caused by a combination of environmental and genetic factors. Certain environmental exposures, such as pesticides and head injury, are associated with an increased risk of PD. Still, most people have no clear exposure that doctors can point to as a straightforward cause. The same goes for genetics. Certain genetic mutations are linked to an increased risk of PD. But in the vast majority of people, Parkinsons is not directly related to a single genetic mutation. Learning more about the genetics of Parkinsons is one of our best chances to understand more about the disease and discover how to slow or stop its progression.

Aging is the greatest risk factor for Parkinsons, and the average age at diagnosis is 60. Still, some people get PD at 40 or younger.

Men are diagnosed with Parkinsons at a higher rate than women and whites more than other races. Researchers are studying these disparities to understand more about the disease and health care access and to improve inclusivity across care and research. 

Aging is the greatest risk factor for Parkinsons, and the average age at diagnosis is 60. Still, some people get PD at 40 or younger.

The Michael J. Fox Foundation has made finding a test for Parkinsons disease one of our top priorities.

Risk Factors And Causes

There isnt one single cause of Parkinsons that has been proven at this time. Researchers believe a loss of the neurotransmitter dopamine, neurological damage, inflammation and brain cell deterioration are among the primary factors that trigger Parkinsons development. But why exactly patients develop these problems is a complex issue that remains up for debate.

What is known is that certain risk factors can make someone more susceptible to developing Parkinsons disease, which can include: 

  • Being a man, especially during older age. Research suggests that men in their 50s and 60s are most likely to develop Parkinsons.
  • Genetic susceptibility: Studies have now identified several gene mutations that can put someone at a greater risk. Parkinsons has also been found to run in families, and having a sibling or parent increases someones risk.
  • Damage to the area of the brain called the substantia nigra, which produces brain cells that are responsible for making dopamine.
  • Toxicity and exposure to chemicals, including pesticides present on produce from non-organic farming. Living in a rural area and drinking well-water that might contain chemicals is another environmental risk factor.
  • Poor diet, nutrient deficiencies, food allergies and an unhealthy lifestyle.
  • Hormonal imbalances and other medical conditions that affect cognitive health and increase inflammation.

Can Parkinsons Disease Be Prevented

Unfortunately, no. Parkinsons disease is long-term disease that worsens over time. Although there is no way to prevent or cure the disease , medications may significantly relieve your symptoms. In some patients especially those with later-stage disease, surgery to improve symptoms may be an option.

Add Medication For A Winning Combo

Diet and exercise are important for managing PD, but dont forget about medications. Take them regularly and exactly as your doctor prescribes.

If you tend to forget your medication, set an alarm to remind you. You can also use a pillbox thats labeled with days and times of day. Take your meds on a set schedule, dont skip doses and dont double dose, says Dr. Gostkowski. When youre diligent about taking your medications and following a healthy lifestyle, youll feel your best.

Eat More Fermented Foods As Probiotics

Beneficial bacteria are important to increase the level of gut flora that is often less fermented diets cause in our gut. Healthy gums highly important to prevent a host of diseases and disorders. Replenish your gut with beneficial bacteria and see the difference it makes in your overall health. This kind of bacteria can be attained from kombucha tea, kefir, kimchi, fermented soy , and sauerkraut. These edibles help the body detoxify heavy metals from it and break down environmental toxins in an efficient manner.

How Can People Cope With Parkinson’s Disease

Regular Exercise Can Help Control Parkinson’s Disease, Research Shows

While PD usually progresses slowly, eventually daily routines may be affectedfrom socializing with friends to earning a living and taking care of a home. These changes can be difficult to accept. Support groups can help people cope with the diseases emotional impact. These groups also can provide valuable information, advice, and experience to help people with PD, their families, and their caregivers deal with a wide range of issues, including locating doctors familiar with the disease and coping with physical limitations. A list of national organizations that can help people locate support groups in their communities appears at the end of this information. Individual or family counseling may also help people find ways to cope with PD.

People with PD may also benefit from being proactive and finding out as much as possible about the disease in order to alleviate fear of the unknown and to take a positive role in maintaining their health. Many people with PD continue to work either full- or part-time, although they may need to adjust their schedule and working environment to accommodate their symptoms.

How To Administer Cbd For Parkinsons Disease

If youre about to use CBD for the first time, you may be wondering how to take it the right way to maximize the benefits for Parkinsons disease.

You can buy CBD in various forms, including:

  • CBD oil . CBD can be swallowed or absorbed sublingually . This is a good option if you dont like to take capsules and want to precisely measure out your dose. The calming effects of CBD usually take hold around 15-30 minutes after ingestion and may last for up to 6 hours.
  • Capsules. This form of CBD is a good option if youre looking for a premeasured dose of CBD in your supplement. You just take as many capsules as recommended by your physician. The downside of taking CBD capsules is their delayed onset and lower bioavailability since they have to pass through the digestive system before reaching the bloodstream.
  • Edibles.CBD-infused is becoming more popular these days. Gummies are by far the most common option. They work in a similar manner to capsules. They usually kick in after 40120 minutes and last for up to 10 hours. Edibles are a discreet way to deliver a dose of CBD.
  • Topicals. Products like lotions and creams may be effective for localized problems because they deliver the CBD to the cannabinoid receptors located in the deeper layer of the skin. From there, CBD can produce its soothing effects on the body, reducing inflammation, stiffness, and pain.

What Is Parkinsons Disease Dementia

Parkinsons disease dementia is a brain disorder that occurs in somebut not allpeople living with Parkinsons disease. The brain cell damage caused by the disease can lead to a loss of memory and other cognitive functions such as problem solving and speed of thinking. These changes in thinking and behavior can impact your daily living, independence, and relationships.

In those who do develop Parkinsons disease dementia, there is at least one yearand usually 10 to 15 yearsbetween the Parkinsons diagnosis and the onset of dementia. According to estimates by the Alzheimers Association, 50% or more of people with Parkinsons disease eventually experience dementia, although there are a number of risk factors that impact the likelihood of developing symptoms:

  • Parkinsons patients who experience hallucinations, excessive daytime sleepiness, and more severe motor control problems are at higher risk for dementia.
  • Dementia is more common in people who are older at onset of Parkinsons.
  • Dementia is a bigger risk factor in non-tremor predominant Parkinsons.
  • Overwhelming stress, cardiovascular disease, and adverse reactions to the Parkinsons disease drug levodopa can also indicate an increased risk for developing dementia.
  • Dementia is relatively rare in people who develop Parkinsons before age 50, no matter how long they have had the disease.

Volunteer To Help Out

Everyday responsibilities like shopping, cooking, and cleaning become much more difficult when you have a movement disorder. Sometimes people with Parkinsons need help with these and other tasks, but they may be too proud or embarrassed to ask for it. Step in and offer to run errands, prepare meals, drive to medical appointments, pick up medications at the drug store, and help with any other day-to-day tasks they have difficulty with on their own.

What Does The Fda Say About Using Cbd Oil For Parkinsons

CBD oil hasnt been approved by the FDA as a treatment for Parkinsons disease. In fact, there are no FDA-approved cannabis treatments for this condition as of today. However, the FDA did acknowledge a CBD-based medication, Epidiolex, to treat two types of drug-resistant epilepsy.

Researchers from the University of Colorado are using Epidiolex to analyze its benefits on people with Parkinsons-triggered tremor. The study is currently in its second stage.

Support For People With Parkinsons Disease

Early access to a multidisciplinary support team is important. These teams may include doctors, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, dietitians, social workers and specialist nurses. Members of the team assess the person with Parkinsons disease and identify potential difficulties and possible solutions.There are a limited number of multidisciplinary teams in Victoria that specialise in Parkinsons disease management. But generalist teams are becoming more aware of how to help people with Parkinsons disease.  

Eat Plenty Of Protein But Not With Levodopa Medications

If youre taking a levodopa medication, your doctor may tell you to avoid protein when taking your meds. Both animal and plant protein can interfere with the absorption of levodopa medications.

But you should still eat plenty of protein. Just be strategic with the timing. Dont take levodopa medications with meals, Dr. Gostkowski says. Its best to take it on an empty stomach either 30 minutes before your meal or an hour after eating.

If you get nauseous from the medication, eat a small amount of starchy food with it, such as crackers. Make sure whatever you eat with your medicine doesnt have protein. Its a misunderstanding that people with Parkinsons should avoid protein, Dr. Gostkowski says. You definitely need protein in your diet. Just dont eat it when youre taking your levodopa medication.

What Genes Are Linked To Parkinsons Disease

Several genes have been definitively linked to PD:

  • SNCA. This gene, which makes the protein alpha-synuclein, was the first gene identified to be associated with Parkinsons. Research findings by the National Institutes of Health and other institutions prompted studies of the role of alpha-synuclein in PD, which led to the discovery that Lewy bodies seen in all cases of PD contain clumps of alpha-synuclein. This discovery revealed the link between hereditary and sporadic forms of the disease.
  • LRRK2. Mutations in LRRK2 were originally identified in several English and Basque families as a cause of a late-onset PD. Subsequent studies have identified mutations of this gene in other families with PD as well as in a small percentage of people with apparently sporadic PD. LRRK2 mutations are a major cause of PD in North Africa and the Middle East.
  • DJ-1. This gene normally helps regulate gene activity and protect cells from oxidative stress and can cause rare, early forms of PD.
  • PRKN . The parkin gene is translated into a protein that normally helps cells break down and recycle proteins.
  • PINK1. PINK1 codes for a protein active in mitochondria. Mutations in this gene appear to increase susceptibility to cellular stress. PINK1 has been linked to early forms of PD.
  • GBA . Mutations in GBA cause Gaucher disease , but different changes in this gene are associated with an increased risk for Parkinsons disease as well.

Avoid Food Fads Added Sugar And Alcohol

Positively Jax Winner Helps Those with Parkinson’s Disease

It is very important for those affected by the disease to avoid popular fad diets and eat foods from all food groups to maintain proper nutrition. Limiting added sugar and alcohol intake is also advised. Consuming lots of sugar doesnt offer many nutrients and can lead to tooth decay. Alcohol contains a lot of empty calories and can increase the chance of falls.

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:

  • Decreased facial expressions: You may not smile or blink as often as the disease worsens; your face lacks expression.
  • 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.

Does Having Rls Increase The Risk Of Developing Pd

Since RLS affects as much as 4-10% of the US adult population, it is clear that the vast majority of those with RLS do not ever develop PD.

Despite this, it still might be the case that RLS increases the risk of subsequently developing PD. There have been many studies trying to figure this out with conflicting results. Some studies show that there is no increased risk and others show that having RLS confers about a two-fold increased risk of developing PD over the general population.

Parkinsons & Restless Leg Syndrome: Using Dopaminergic Medication

Because RLS is well-treated by medications that also treat PD, it is likely that some aspect of brain dopamine function is altered in RLS. However, unlike in PD, in which the deficit in substantia nigra dopamine-producing cells can be proven in many ways, no such abnormality has been shown in RLS. For example, studies show that DaTscan results are not abnormal in RLS.

Using dopaminergic medications to treat RLS however can be tricky. In some people they can lead to a phenomenon known as augmentation, in which long term use of dopaminergic medications can worsen the symptoms making them appear earlier in the day or migrating to the upper body in addition to the legs.

Learn Everything You Can About The Disease

Parkinsons disease is a movement disorder. If youre a caregiver for someone living with Parkinsons, youre likely familiar with some of the symptoms of the disease. But do you know what causes its symptoms, how the condition progresses, or what treatments can help manage it? Also, Parkinsons doesnt manifest the same way in everyone.

To be the best ally for your loved one, learn as much as you can about Parkinsons disease. Do research on reputable websites like the Parkinsons Foundation, or read books about the condition. Tag along for medical appointments and ask the doctor questions. If youre well informed, youll have a better idea of what to expect and how to be the most help.

Managing The Side Effects Of Medications

Hallucinations and involuntary movements are some of the side effects that patients may experience after a long period of drug treatment. While they can be distressing, the good news is that they can be treated by adjusting medication doses and making other adjustments.

  • The aforementioned Gocavri helps with dyskinesias.

Surgery And Deep Brain Stimulation

Deep brain stimulation is a treatment for Parkinsonâs disease that uses an implantable pacemaker-like device to deliver electrical pulses to parts of the brain involved in movement. The DBS system consists of leads precisely inserted into a specific brain target, the neurostimulator implanted in the chest, and extension wires that connect the leads to the neurostimulator. Though implantation of the system requires a neurosurgical procedure, the treatment itself consists of long-term electrical stimulation. Advantages of DBS include its ability to reduce the high doses of medications , its adjustability , and its reversibility DBS was approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a treatment for PD in 2002 and according to Medtronic , more than 80,000 patients have undergone DBS surgery worldwide.

Typical candidates are those who have motor fluctuations or periods of âoffâ time with troublesome symptoms alternating with periods of âonâ time with good symptom control, and also with possible periods of excessive movement .

Not all patients with Parkinsonâs disease are good candidates for treatment with DBS. Approximately 10â20% of patients considered for possible treatment with DBS include those:

What Diseases And Conditions Resemble Parkinsons Disease

PD is the most common form of parkinsonism, in which disorders of other causes produce features and symptoms that closely resemble Parkinsons disease. Many disorders can cause symptoms similar to those of PD, including:

Several diseases, including MSA, CBD, and PSP, are sometimes referred to as Parkinsons-plus diseases because they have the symptoms of PD plus additional features.

In very rare cases, parkinsonian symptoms may appear in people before the age of 20. This condition is called juvenile parkinsonism. It often begins with dystonia and bradykinesia, and the symptoms often improve with levodopa medication.

Increase The Intake Of Omega

Boxing helps Parkinson’s patients fight disease effects

Omega-3s are highly important in enhancing the levels of dopamine and decreasing the level of inflammation in the brain. Wild seafood is the best source of omega¬-3, and it must be consumed at least thrice a week, so that marked decrease in the symptoms of Parkinsons disease is possible. Nuts and seeds are other rich sources of omega-3, and they also reduce the symptoms of PD to a great level.

Symptoms Of Parkinsons Disease

Parkinson’s disease has four main symptoms:

  • Tremor in hands, arms, legs, jaw, or head
  • Stiffness of the limbs and trunk
  • Slowness of movement
  • Impaired balance and coordination, sometimes leading to falls

Other symptoms may include depression and other emotional changes; difficulty swallowing, chewing, and speaking; urinary problems or constipation; skin problems; and sleep disruptions.

Symptoms of Parkinsons and the rate of progression differ among individuals. Sometimes people dismiss early symptoms of Parkinson’s as the effects of normal aging. In most cases, there are no medical tests to definitively detect the disease, so it can be difficult to diagnose accurately.

Early symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are subtle and occur gradually. For example, affected people may feel mild tremors or have difficulty getting out of a chair. They may notice that they speak too softly, or that their handwriting is slow and looks cramped or small. Friends or family members may be the first to notice changes in someone with early Parkinson’s. They may see that the person’s face lacks expression and animation, or that the person does not move an arm or leg normally.

People with Parkinson’s often develop a parkinsonian gait that includes a tendency to lean forward, small quick steps as if hurrying forward, and reduced swinging of the arms. They also may have trouble initiating or continuing movement.

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.

Help Them Feel Normal

A disease like Parkinsons can interfere with the normalcy of someones life. Because people may focus so much on the disease and its symptoms, your loved one may start to lose their sense of self. When you talk to your loved one, dont constantly remind them that they have a chronic disease. Talk about other things like their favorite new movie or book.

Complementary And Supportive Therapies

A wide variety of complementary and supportive therapies may be used for PD, including:

A healthy diet. At this time there are no specific vitamins, minerals, or other nutrients that have any proven therapeutic value in PD. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and other components of the National Institutes of Health are funding research to determine if caffeine, antioxidants, and other dietary factors may be beneficial for preventing or treating PD. A normal, healthy diet can promote overall well-being for people with PD just as it would for anyone else. Eating a fiber-rich diet and drinking plenty of fluids also can help alleviate constipation. A high protein diet, however, may limit levodopas absorption.

Exercise. Exercise can help people with PD improve their mobility, flexibility, and body strength. It also can improve well-being, balance, minimize gait problems, and strengthen certain muscles so that people can speak and swallow better. General physical activity, such as walking, gardening, swimming, calisthenics, and using exercise machines, can have other benefit. People with PD should always check with their doctors before beginning a new exercise program.

Alternative approaches that are used by some individuals with PD include:

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