“There are currently around a million people in the United States with Parkinson’s disease…However, it is also estimated that 1.10% of the U. S. population, or 1 in 90 people, have the disease and do not yet know it.” (source)
What is Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s disease is a motor system disorder resulting from a lack of or loss of dopamine producing brain cells. The disease usually occurs in people over the age of fifty and onset is gradual. Symptoms may begin to develop slowly and then over time the sufferer can no longer deny the existence of the now more severe symptoms.
Many of you may have first become aware of Parkinson’s disease when esteemed actor Michael J. Fox was diagnosed with it and then went public with this fight against this debilitating disease with no pinpointed cause nor a cure.
Although the disease can be difficult to diagnose, particularly in its earliest stages, it is usually done through a medical history evaluation, neurological testing, and in some cases brain scans or laboratory tests.
4 Main Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease
- Postural instability
Each of these symptoms can show differently in different Parkinson’s sufferers. The degree to which a Parkinson sufferer has each symptom can vary greatly too. At first many of these symptoms may be barely noticeable but as the disease progresses so do the symptoms.
Tremors show in shaking hands, legs, arms, jaw and face areas. The second symptom, rigidity, shows itself in stiffness of the body’s core (trunk area) as well as arms and legs. Bradykinesia is when there is slowness of movement that the sufferer seems unable to control or speed up. Finally, postural instability shows as problems with balance and coordination.
At first these symptoms may barely be noticeable by others or even the Parkinson sufferer, however with progression of the disease the person may struggle to walk, talk, or complete simple daily tasks.
The tremors and shaking are the most noticeable Parkinson’s symptoms and impact the majority of Parkinson sufferers. There are other, less common symptoms of Parkinson’s too.
Less Common Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease
- Emotional changes
- Urinary issues
- Challenges in speaking, chewing, swallowing
- Skin problems
- Sleep issues
Understanding the Theorized Causes of Parkinson’s Disease
Although the cause or causes of Parkinson’s disease has yet to be determined, there are a few theories that studies shows have strong validity.
One of the most recent studies out of the United States show a link between pesticide and insecticides as a cause of Parkinson’s disease. According to Yahoo News, people who used two types of commonly used pesticides showed a 2.5 times greater chance of developing Parkinson’s disease. These two common pesticides?
2 Pesticides Linked to Increase in Parkinson’s Disease
Have you ever used or been exposed to these dangerous pesticides? Neither are approved for home or garden use yet they are turning up in the bodies of thousands of Americans everywhere.
The problem with rotenone is that is compromises the function of the mitochondria. The mitochondria are responsible for energy production in the cells. Paraquat promoted Parkinson’s in lab animals and according to Yahoo News and study results, “increases production of certain oxygen derivatives that may harm cellular structures.”
Current Medical Treatments for Parkinson’s Disease
The conventional treatment options for Parkinson’s disease usually involve taking pharmaceuticals such as levodopa with carbidopa. The two together increase the production of dopamine in the brain of Parkinson sufferers. Nerve cells in the brain use levodopa to make dopamine and carbidopa delays the creation of levodopa to dopamine until the chemical reaches the brain.
Other conventional pharmaceuticals such as bromocriptie, pramipexol, and ropinirole are used to mimic the production of dopamine in the brain. Recently a therapy called deep brain stimulation or DBS, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treatment of Parkinson’s disease. In this treatment electrodes are implanted in the brain then stimulated by an external program.
Alternative Treatments for Parkinson’s Disease
Studies have shown that omega 3’s are helpful in treating Parkinson’s symptoms. You know how vital omega 3’s are for the health of the brain, this is another example of the potential side effects of a long term diet low in essential omega 3’s and the benefits of eating a diet with the proper balance of omega 3’s and 6’s.
One of the most recent studies, show that the omega 3’s protect the dying cells in the brain and help to revive them. In addition, the study revealed that omega 3’s actually stop the misfolding of a protein that results from a gene mutation common in neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s.
If you are worried about Parkinson’s disease or other neurological diseases, it’s vital to follow a healthy living plan that includes the following:
6 Ways to Prevent Chronic Diseases
- Get regular exercise
- Avoid pesticides
- Avoid processed foods
- Eat raw foods
- Keep stress levels low
Are you concerned about Parkinson’s disease for you or someone you love? Learn about what the most recent studies on Parkinson’s disease say about consuming pasteurized milk and pesticides today and avoid Parkinson’s and other chronic diseases in the future.