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What is Parkinson's Disease. How to Treat it and Prevent It.

Updated on June 10, 2015

Barnie Day, Suffering from Parkinson Disease and Living Well

Source
Jack, the dog greets Barnie Day on his farm. Barnie is suffering well with Parkinson's Disease.
Jack, the dog greets Barnie Day on his farm. Barnie is suffering well with Parkinson's Disease. | Source

How It Got It's Name

Parkinson's Disease got it's name from the English Physician, James Parkinson who in 1870 documented the odd symptoms of 6 elderly patients. Today there is still not definitive way to diagnose and there is still no cure.

More than one million American's have Parkinson's disease and the number is rising. You will not know if you have it until 80% of the dopamine producing cells in your brain have stopped functioning. (Special Thanks to Barnie Day and The Roanoke Times)


Michael J. Fox Foundation

Heather Locklear, Michael J Fox, Tracy Pollan (Fox), Jack Wagner
Heather Locklear, Michael J Fox, Tracy Pollan (Fox), Jack Wagner | Source

Causes of Parkinson's


Parkinson's Disease is caused by a decrease in the brain's ability to produce adequate amounts of dopamine, one of the major neurotransmitter's of the brain. It is needed by the brain to send signals to control motor functions such as walking, arm movements and speech. The part of the brain that actually is affected by Parkinson's is the substantial nigra which lies in the midbrain. Parkinson's can't be diagnosed by blood tests or scan's. A doctor must look at your symptoms and history. Sometimes he might give you a medication containing dopamine to see if you improve.

What causes the part of the brain that makes dopamine to stop functioning is unclear although much research is being done. Some of the possibilities suggested are hereditary, exposure to heavy metals, and free radicals such as pesticides and herbicides and in the case of Mohammed Ali, head trauma may be a contributing factor. {Source: National Parkinson Foundation}


Free Radicals can Damage our Bodies in Many Ways

Herbicides and pesticides may contribute to development of parkinson's
Herbicides and pesticides may contribute to development of parkinson's | Source
The substantial nigra
The substantial nigra | Source

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The Disease

People with parkinson's can live many years with few symptoms. It usually presents between the ages of 50 to 60 often with no more than a small twitch in an extremity. These movements are most often seen when resting.

Progression is usually slowed or stopped by medication, nutrition, rest and exercise.

Signs and Symptoms

Sign and symptoms often seen in parkinson patients
Sign and symptoms often seen in parkinson patients | Source

Sign and Symptom's

Symptoms of Parkinson's vary according to the stage and/or degree of the disease They might include:

Trembling

jerking moments

difficulty walking

drooling

slowed, low or monotone speech

aches and pains

difficulty walking

stooped and/or shuffling gate

disorientation

inability to control motor skills

depression

mask like facial expression

(Source: Living Healthy Now)

Treatments

Many new drugs have been developed for Parkinson's. The most used thus far is levodopa and carbidopa but these drugs when used long term can also cause motor function problems an are thus saved for later stages of the disease when a more dramatic treatment is needed.

Dopamine agonists are used in the early stages such as pramipexole and ropinirole. These drugs have many side effects.

There is some controversy over whether to just start with levodopa as most people have the same motor skill difficulties no matter when they are started on it.

More importantly are the myriad of activities a patient can do on his own including improving nutrition with the addition of antioxidants to help decrease free radicals, exercise [bicycling is particularly helpful partially because of it's repetitive motion}, and getting plenty of adequate rest.

New research is being done successfully daily on ways to control and maybe one day cure this disease. The Michael J Fox Foundation has contributed huge funding and research into the disease.

antioxidants

Amazing Grass Green Superfood Organic Powder with Wheat Grass and Greens, Flavor: Original, 30 Servings
Amazing Grass Green Superfood Organic Powder with Wheat Grass and Greens, Flavor: Original, 30 Servings

This is a great fighter of free radical. My daughter and I have tried all three. The taste is awesome with added fruit.

 

Sources of antioxidants

Fruits and Vegetables to stop Free Radical Damage
Fruits and Vegetables to stop Free Radical Damage | Source
Walnuts, berries, almonds, and dark chocolate are all sources of antioxidants.
Walnuts, berries, almonds, and dark chocolate are all sources of antioxidants. | Source
Salmon eaten at least three times a week is a strong start in the fight against disease.
Salmon eaten at least three times a week is a strong start in the fight against disease. | Source
Watch how lemon juice on this apple acts as an antioxidant and stops free radical damage
Watch how lemon juice on this apple acts as an antioxidant and stops free radical damage | Source

Free Radical Damage

I think it is on the rise for many reasons, increased stress in our lives, more exposure to pollutants, specially heavy metals and the lack of anti-oxidants in our body causing an increase in damage from free radicals.

Free radicals are ions with an unpaired electron. They can be negative, positive l and are highly reactive because of their makeup. They are most often caused by a tremendous amount of energy. The most obvious free radical is nitric oxide which is a primary component of smog.{Source: Wikipedia}

Our bodies can fight the effects of these free radicals through antioxidants. Our bodies naturally produce these and they are found in beta-carotene, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and A and the minerals Zinc and Selenium.

Antioxidants neutralize free radicals by binding to their free electron.

Free radicals can cause oxidative damage to our bodies when present for even one second. They attack the nerve cells (parkinson's disease), the heart muscle and/of the immune sensor cells. (Source: Astro Nutriton)

Free Radicals can be a major cause of all disease processes including Parkinson's, heart disease, cancer and even early aging.,We prevent free radicals by limiting exposure to pollutants especially cigarette smoke and smog.

Taking massive amounts of vitamins can be very harmful especially the non-soluble one's such as Vitamin A which can build up to toxic amounts in your body. {Source: Web MD }

Do not take extra amounts of vitamins without a doctors watchful eye. Increasing the quality of your nutrition with healthy vegetable, fruits and carbohydrates is one of the surest ways to help fight free radicals. Doctor's often monitor our levels of certain vitamins such as D.

Some of the best foods to eat to fight free radical damage include spinach, wheat grass, nuts, flax seed, fish with healthy fats such as salmon and krill and probiotics found in yogurt.

Life Goes On, How to Live Well When Life Throws You a Curve Ball?

You can live well with most chronic illnesses.The initial shock of a diagnoses is difficult but once we understand the disease and learn how to live with it, life can go on at a usually fairly normal state.

Learn all you can so you can do as much as you can on your own. Learn to be your own patient advocate. Try to change things in your life to help you live well with the disease such as learning quick and easy healthy meals. Set up a regular exercise routine hopefully doing something you really enjoy so you keep it up. Remember life is a journey for all of us and we must learn to slow down and appreciate the joys of life and the God given gifts and talents we all have been endowed with.

Sited Sources

EverydayHealth

LivingHealthyNow

DiscoveryHealth.com

PubMed Health#mce_temp_url#

Web MD

Comments

Submit a Comment

  • conradofontanilla profile image

    conradofontanilla 

    5 years ago from Philippines

    Voted useful and interesting. I agree with you on free radicals. In fact, Dr. Morton Walker, MPD lists Parkinson's disease as a degenerative disease (caused by free radicals) in his book "The Miracle Healing Power of Chelation Therapy" Chelation therapy can treat PD. Vitamin A does not build up to overdose if taken through the precursors beta-carotene like carrots. Smoke contains polonium 210 and lead 210, radioactive materials, that emit x-rays as they decay into lead 206 which is stable. Decay also generates free radicals. I have several Hubs on free radicals.

  • nancynurse profile imageAUTHOR

    Nancy McClintock 

    6 years ago from Southeast USA

    Thank you so much. Having a family member with the disease I have a very personal interest in it.

  • kat11 profile image

    kat11 

    6 years ago from Illinois

    Very well written and informative. The photos are great and really enjoyed the article. Voted up

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