How Environmental Factors Could Cause Parkinsons Disease
Scientists differ about the extent that brain cells are impacted by environmental factors. However, the statistics associated with the disease show that the environment can play a very large role in whether parkinsons disease develops.
Most often, it is exposure to toxic chemicals that could play a role in the development of Parkinsons disease. Usually, these combine with genetic factors to produce the conditions that cause Parkinsons.
Increasing scientific evidence suggests that Parkinsons may be caused by environmental factors such as exposure to herbicides such as Paraquat.
How Is Parkinson’s Disease Diagnosed
Diagnosis is difficult at every stage of the disease, but particularly in the early stages. No single test can provide a diagnosis. A diagnosis will likely involve physical and neurological examinations, conducted over time to assess changes in reflexes, coordination, muscle strength, and mental function. Your doctor might also see how you respond to medicine.
You may need to have brain imaging tests to rule out other conditions that might be causing your symptoms. Such tests could include MRI and CT scans and possibly some other types of scans. Blood tests may also be done to exclude other illnesses.
Causes Of Parkinson’s Disease
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Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system. Most people with PD have idiopathic Parkinson’s disease . A small proportion of cases, however, can be attributed to known genetic factors. Other factors such as environmental toxins, herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides, have been associated with the risk of developing PD, but no causal relationships have been proven.
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What Are The Symptoms
Symptoms of PD vary from person to person, as does the rate of progression. A person who has Parkinson’s may experience some of these more common “hallmark” symptoms:
- Bradykinesia – slowness of movement, impaired dexterity, decreased blinking, drooling, expressionless face.
- Tremor at rest – involuntary shaking that decreases with purposeful movement. Typically starts on one side of the body, usually the hand.
- Rigidity – stiffness caused by involuntary increase in muscle tone.
- Postural instability – sense of imbalance. Patients often compensate by lowering their center of gravity, which results in a stooped posture.
Other symptoms that may or may not occur:
Freezing or being stuck in place Shuffling gait or dragging of one foot Stooped posture Cognitive impairment
What Treatments Are Available
Many Parkinson’s patients enjoy an active lifestyle and a normal life expectancy. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle by eating a balanced diet and staying physically active contributes to overall health and well-being. Parkinson’s disease can be managed with self-care, medication, and surgery.
Self careExercise is as important as medication in the treatment of PD. It helps maintain flexibility and improves balance and range of motion. Patients may want to join a support group and continue enjoyable activities to improve their quality of life. Equally important is the health and well being of the family and caregivers who are also coping with PD. For additional pointers, see Coping With Parkinsons Disease.
These are some practical tips patients can use:
Medications There are several types of medications used to manage Parkinson’s. These medications may be used alone or in combination with each other, depending if your symptoms are mild or advanced.
After a time on medication, patients may notice that each dose wears off before the next dose can be taken or erratic fluctuations in dose effect . Anti-Parkinsons drugs can cause dyskinesia, which are involuntary jerking or swaying movements that typically occur at peak dosage and are caused by an overload of dopamine medication. Sometimes dyskinesia can be more troublesome than the Parkinsons symptoms.
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Toxic Substances That Have Been Linked To Parkinsons Disease
There are numerous environmental toxins that researchers have tied to the neurological disorders known as parkinson disease. Here are some that have been linked:
- Agent Orange This was a chemical defoliant used in Vietnam that is already tied to cancer. While there is no definitive link with Parkinsons, the VA at least believes that there is a possibility that the two are tied.
- Solvents Some studies have shown a link between Trichloroethylene, a substance contained in many solvents, and Parkinsons.
- PCBs polychlorinated biphenyls were extensively used in the 1970s. They have been often found in the brains of people who have suffered from Parkinsons.
- Pesticides and herbicides -substances such as insecticides, pesticides and herbicides contain chemicals that researchers have strongly linked with higher incidences of Parkinsons. One of the leading contributors is considered to be Paraquat. For information on Paraquat Parkinsons lawsuits, look here.
How Can Parkinsons Disease Affect Mobility And Sense Of Balance
The neurophysiology of Parkinsons Disease proves that it affects balance, gait, movement and can actually cause constraints on mobility. But what do we mean by mobility?
Mobility is a persons ability to move safely in a variety of environments in order to accomplish functional tasks.
Functional tasks like drinking a glass of water or eating can become a problem. And if we think about it, mobility is something we take for granted most of the time. We dont expect to lose it, and we dont expect to get a degenerative disease, such as Parkinsons. Therefore, being able to maintain good mobility is something of utmost importance as we age, and we must take preventive measures to delay mobility impairment as much as possible.
Mobility;requires dynamic neural control, a sense of balance, and enough agility to be able to adapt to postural transitions as quickly as possible. What also concerns us today is the several types of mobility deficits caused by the progression of Parkinsons Disease. We need to understand what preventive exercises and preventative measures can be taken to minimize the risk of falls and injury.
Parkinsons Disease and fall prevention
While Parkinsons is not life-threatening, people may experience life-threatening complications, such as choking on food or falling over. We must help our elderly loved ones prevent falls at any cost so that suggested exercise programs can work effectively in combatting the effects of Parkinsons Disease.
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Have You Ever Thought How Challenging Drinking A Glass Of Water Can Be For Someone Suffering From Parkinsons Disease
On World Health Day, youll likely read about how healthy habits like exercising or drinking more water, can improve your health. While these are helpful tips and important topics to cover, we decided to take things a step further. What if you couldnt drink that glass of water by yourself? It can be daunting to consider, but this scenario can become all-too-real for a person suffering from Parkinsons disease. There are 10 million people in the world suffering from this disorder; which is why, today, we decided to share with you how Parkinsons Disease can affect mobility and balance, and what can be done when the disorder is detected in its early stages. That is why raising awareness for this degenerative disease is important, and, while there is still much research to be done, we have high hopes that researchers will find a way to reduce the symptoms of Parkinsons disease, and eventually find a cure. This is becoming more and more urgent, given the fact that life expectancy is rising and the number of individuals with Parkinsons disease will only increase in the future. But is there another solution in sight?
What Is The Number One Risk Factor For Parkinson’s
Age is the greatest risk factor. About 1% of those over 60 and 5% of those over 85 are diagnosed with it. The increased risk is due to decreasing levels of dopamine metabolism and other changes that make the neurons vulnerable.
Reeve A, Simcox E, Turnbull D. Ageing and Parkinsons disease: Why is advancing age the biggest risk factor?Ageing Research Reviews. 2014;14:19-30. doi:10.1016%2Fj.arr.2014.01.004
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Diagnosis Of Parkinsons Disease
A number of disorders can cause symptoms similar to those of Parkinson’s disease. People with Parkinson’s-like symptoms that result from other causes are sometimes said to have parkinsonism. While these disorders initially may be misdiagnosed as Parkinson’s, certain medical tests, as well as response to drug treatment, may help to distinguish them from Parkinson’s. Since many other diseases have similar features but require different treatments, it is important to make an exact diagnosis as soon as possible.
There are currently no blood or laboratory tests to diagnose nongenetic cases of Parkinson’s disease. Diagnosis is based on a person’s medical history and a neurological examination. Improvement after initiating medication is another important hallmark of Parkinson’s disease.
What Are The Causes Of Parkinsons Disease All You Need To Know
Parkinsons disease , or Shaking Palsy, is a chronic neurodegenerative disorder, affecting almost 500.000 people in the United States at a rate of 60.000 cases yearly. Although PD is not a fatal disease, its daily symptoms can be very stressful for the patient, most prominently imbalance, walking problems, and tremors. Note that the symptoms develop and become more severe whenever the brain damage increases.
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Polymorphism Of Cyp2d6 Gene And Pesticide Exposure
The CYP2D6 gene is primarily expressed in the liver and is responsible for the enzyme cytochrome P450 2D6. A study showed that those who had a mutation of this gene and were exposed to pesticides were twice as likely to develop Parkinson’s Disease; those that had the mutation and were not exposed to pesticides were not found to be at an increased risk of developing PD; the pesticides only had a “modest effect” for those without the mutation of the gene.
Scientifically Backed Ways To Prevent Parkinsons Disease
Dopamine plays a major role in a variety of mental and physical functions, including:
- Voluntary movement
- General behavior
Parkinsons now afflicts roughly 1.5 million people in the United States alone, with primary symptoms being body tremors, slow movement, rigid limbs, reduced memory, a shuffling gait and speech impairment. So we have to ask:
1.) What causes it?
2.) How do we prevent it?
Currently there isnt a known cure, and its not fully understood what causes the dip in dopamine; however, we know that aging is the single most important risk factor for PD, with inflammation and stress contributing to cell damage. And we now know enough about the disease to understand the preventative measures that counter the aging;and death of the neurons under attack.
Because there is no known cure, its critical that we prevent the disease before symptoms arise. Granted, thanks to recent advancements in modern surgical procedures, there are some safe surgeries that can mitigate some of the more severe symptoms associated with PD. The most common one now is deep brain stimulation, in which they implant an electrode into the brain that can stop some of the more severe symptoms of Parkinsons.
But this article will try to keep it from getting to that point. The less drugs and surgery we can have in our lives, the better.
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Eat Fresh Raw Vegetables
If you needed more reasons to eat your vegetables, this should be the clincher. Studies show that increased amounts of the B vitamin folic acid, found primarily in vegetables, can significantly reduce the risk of Parkinsons.
The best sources of folic acid are simultaneously some of the healthiest foods on the planet, namely dark green vegetables like broccoli, spinach, collard greens, brussels sprouts, asparagus and okra all of which can be grown in your backyard! This B vitamin can also be found in avocado, legumes and lentils.
What Causes Off Episodes
More research is needed to understand the cause of OFF episodes. Experts believe that fluctuations in dopamine levels play a role.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that carries signals between nerve cells. Low levels of dopamine contribute to symptoms of PD.
When you take levodopa, your body converts it into dopamine. This reduces symptoms of PD. As your body uses up each dose of levodopa, your dopamine levels begin to fall. This drop in dopamine may cause an OFF episode.
Many people with PD also have gastrointestinal complications that interfere with their ability to absorb oral medications If you take oral levodopa, it may take some time for your body to absorb the medication. This may lead to a delayed ON episode.
Medications For People With Parkinsons Disease
Symptoms of Parkinsons disease result from the progressive degeneration of nerve cells in the brain and other organs such as the gut, which produce a neurotransmitter called dopamine. This causes a deficiency in the availability of dopamine, which is necessary for smooth and controlled movements.;Medication therapy focuses on maximising the availability of dopamine in the brain. Medication regimes are individually tailored to your specific need. Parkinsons medications fit into one of the following broad categories:;
- levodopa dopamine replacement therapy
- dopamine agonists mimic the action of dopamine
- COMT inhibitors used along with levodopa. This medication blocks an enzyme known as COMT to prevent levodopa breaking down in the intestine, allowing more of it to reach the brain
- anticholinergics block the effect of another brain chemical to rebalance its levels with dopamine
- amantadine has anticholinergic properties and improves dopamine transmission
- MAO type B inhibitors prevent the metabolism of dopamine within the brain.
Decreased Appetite In Pd Can Have Many Causes:
- Apathy or the state of emotional indifference, is a common non-motor symptom in PD. With a decreased interest in activities in general, there may be a decreased interest in meal preparation and meals, leading to decreased food intake.
- Depression is also a common non-motor symptom of PD which can manifest as decreased appetite and food intake.
- Nausea can be a side effect of PD medications. It can also be caused by gastroparesis or slow emptying of the stomach, a common problem in PD. Either way, the presence of nausea can have a significant impact on appetite.
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What Role Do Genes Play
Your genes are like your body’s instruction book. So if you get a change in one of them, it can make your body work in a slightly different way. Sometimes, that means you’re more likely to get a certain disease.
There are several genetic mutations that can raise your risk for Parkinson’s, each by a little bit. They have a part in about 1 in 10 cases.
If you have one or more of these changes, it doesn’t mean you’ll get Parkinson’s. Some people will, but many won’t, and doctors don’t know why. It may have to do with other genes or something in your environment.
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.
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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.
Why Worry About Weight Loss Associated With Pd
Weight loss has been linked to a poorer quality of life and more rapid progression of PD. The reasons for this are two-fold. On the one hand, as outlined in the list above, weight loss can be a hallmark of advancing disease as it could be a consequence of more swallowing difficulties, worsened mobility, more impaired gut function etc.
On the other hand, having weight loss can further lead to poorer health.; ;Inadequate food intake can contribute to malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies. Malnutrition can subsequently be the cause of increased susceptibility to infection, increased fatigue and increased frailty. The situation can spiral with more fatigue and frailty causing a further decrease in activity and function.
Osteoporosis, or porous and fragile bones, is more common in under-weight people since bone structure is dependent on weight-bearing. Since osteoporotic bones are more prone to fracture during a fall, this too can be a contributor to more disability and frailty. Bottom line is that it is important for your health to maintain a healthy weight.
What Is Parkinsons Disease Symptoms Causes Diagnosis Treatment And Prevention
The causes and symptoms of Parkinsons disease can vary from person to person. While there is no cure, there are medications and treatments to help manage the condition.
Parkinsons disease is a movement disorder that happens when nerve cells in a certain part of the brain are no longer making the chemical;dopamine.
The condition is also sometimes known as paralysis agitans or shaking palsy.
The Parkinsons Foundation estimates that 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinsons every year. However, the true number of people who develop the disease may be much higher.