Parkinson’s Disease is a neurological condition that typically affects people in their mid-50s and early 60s, and requires advanced medical care as it progresses. Getting a thorough consultation and proper treatment can keep the symptoms under control and significantly improve the patient’s quality of life. Here’s a guide to the essential facts you need to know about Parkinson’s Disease, its causes and symptoms, as well as the answers to questions like ‘can Parkinson’s Disease be prevented’.
What is Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s Disease is one of the most common neurodegenerative conditions in the world. It primarily damages the dopamine-producing neurons in a specific area of the brain called substantia nigra. The signs and symptoms of Parkinson’s include tremors in the limbs or jaw, slowing down of body movements (bradykinesia), muscle stiffness and rigidity, painful muscle cramps (dystonia), unsteady gait, slurred or indistinct speech, and memory problems. The symptoms are usually manageable at first and then become progressively worse, with most patients having to rely on professional caregivers in the later stages of the disease.
Treatment for Parkinson’s Disease may include Regenerative Rehabilitation Therapy and Stem Cell Therapy, as well as Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, and Speech and Language Therapy to manage the day-to-day symptoms.
What causes Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s Disease is caused by the death of nerve cells in a part of the brain called the substantia nigra, leading to reduced production of the hormone dopamine. Dopamine is essential for the basal ganglia to work, which is the part of the brain that controls movement. When dopamine levels go down, it leads to tremors and stiff movements that are characteristic of Parkinson’s patients.
Scientists have also discovered that certain gene mutations can affect the way nerve cells release dopamine, leading over time to nerve cell death. Another potential reason for Parkinson’s is exposure to certain environmental triggers and toxins.
Complications of Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s can be a hard disease to live with, which is why there is so much interest in ways to prevent Parkinson’s Disease. As the disease progresses, it can affect the patient’s mental and emotional health in addition to the physical symptoms. Some of the common complications of Parkinson’s Disease include:
- Disturbed sleep: Patients with Parkinson’s Disease often have trouble sleeping and may act out their dreams in their sleep.
- Hallucinations and delusions: One of the commonly observed Parkinson’s Disease symptoms at later stages is the occurrence of hallucinations, which involve seeing or hearing things that aren’t there, as well as delusions, which involve fixed beliefs about things that are not true. This can lead to paranoia, panic attacks, and potentially harmful behavior towards themselves or their loved ones.
- Depression and anger problems: Depression, anxiety, and anger can occur as symptoms of disease progression, side effects of medication, and general frustration about being sick and dependent on others.
How can I prevent Parkinson’s Disease?
Over the years, many researchers have been conducting tests to find some of the preventive measures for Parkinson’s Disease. Given that no one knows exactly what causes Parkinson’s Disease, it is difficult to give a clear answer to ‘how to prevent Parkinson’s Disease’. Many are curious about whether there are foods to prevent Parkinson’s Disease, and certain studies have even demonstrated the efficacy of various food groups and nutrients in reducing one’s risk.
Here are some dietary and lifestyle changes that can help you prevent Parkinson’s Disease naturally.
- Go organic: Several studies have linked the herbicides and pesticides used in crop cultivation to a higher incidence of Parkinson’s Disease. It is ideal, therefore, to shop for organic produce and to go with local farmers whom you can ask about the kinds of pesticides they use. You can also consider growing your produce in your garden.
- Eat fresh raw vegetables: If you’re looking for simple ways to prevent Parkinson’s Disease, you can’t do much better than to eat plenty of fresh leafy vegetables. These are rich in folic acid, which has been linked to much lower incidences of Parkinson’s Disease. Spinach, asparagus, okra, collard greens, broccoli, and brussels sprouts are all good sources of folic acid.
- Get Omega-3 fatty acids: Given that Parkinson’s Disease is inflammatory, the anti-inflammatory properties of Omega-3 fatty acids make it a valuable nutrient for Parkinson’s Disease prevention. You can consume foods like walnuts, pastured eggs, and wild-caught fish like mackerel or salmon to boost your intake of Omega-3 fatty acids.
- Get more CoQ10: This is a coenzyme that occurs naturally in our bodies and provides the energy needed for cell growth and maintenance. Research has shown that CoQ10 can prevent dopamine loss and slow down disease progression. To boost your body’s level of this coenzyme, add organ meats like kidneys and liver to your list of healthy foods for Parkinson’s Disease.
- Get more Vitamin D3: This is one of the most effective vitamins to prevent Parkinson’s Disease. Research has shown that about 70% of early-stage Parkinson’s Disease patients have low levels of Vitamin D. The main source for it is sunlight, although you can also consume grass-fed animal meat. Vitamin D also improves bone health and enhances overall immunity.
- Drink green tea: Green tea is another potential answer to how to prevent Parkinson’s Disease naturally. It contains antioxidants, has anti-inflammatory properties, and enhances brain function. Some studies have also shown that green tea can maintain dopamine levels in affected brain tissue, making it a powerful way to reduce symptoms in Parkinson’s Disease patients. If you’re looking to incorporate more foods that prevent Parkinson’s Disease, you can’t do much better than green tea.
- Exercise: Regular activity under the guidance of a physiotherapist is one of the best home remedies for Parkinson’s. Studies have shown that about 2.5 hours of weekly exercise, can improve brain function, reduce inflammation, and boost the size of the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain associated with memory and learning. The best exercise to prevent Parkinson’s Disease is aerobic exercise, as it enhances lung capacity and improves the body’s overall longevity.
You should also ask your healthcare team about which foods to avoid with Parkinson’s Disease, as certain food groups might trigger inflammation or prevent the proper assimilation of nutrients.
In conclusion, although there is no proven way to avoid Parkinson’s Disease yet, there are several lifestyle changes you can make as home remedies for Parkinson’s. With a balanced and nutritious diet, regular exercise and an eagle eye for Parkinson’s Disease symptoms, you are well on your way to nailing how to prevent Parkinson’s Disease naturally.