Characteristics of parkinson’s disease

PARKINSON’S DISEASE CHARACTERISTICS

What is Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive degenerative disease characterized mainly by the lack or difficulty of movement, because of muscle rigidity, the presence of tremors and a poor coordination.

It is the most common disease of the nervous system in elderly.

It was named Parkinson’s disease because it was discovered in the eighteenth century by an English physician named James Parkinson. It is a degenerative disease that gets worse as time passes.

Why does Parkinson’s disease take place?

Old man walking in the street

Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease that has no cure, but through healthy eating and lifestyle can improve the health prognosis of affected people.

It is caused by degeneration of brain neurons in the area that controls the movement, known as the substantia nigra.

The cells in the substantia nigra are the main ones that produce dopamine, a nerve transmitter that is necessary for normal functioning of central nervous system, by being responsible for the transmission of nerve impulses.

The degeneration of neurons in the substantia nigra implies a lack of dopamine and the appearance of numerous anomalies in the person suffering from this disease.

Whom does Parkinson’s disease mainly affect?

Parkinson’s disease affects both men and women, but it is more common in men.

It appears anywhere in the world and is most common after age 60, but may also occur in young people, especially after 35 years.

How is Parkinson’s disease manifested?

Due to the decrease of dopamine in the ganglia of the brain, muscle stiffness occurs, slow movements and tremors, which are the most characteristic signs of this disease. It is a degenerative disease that gets worse as time goes by.

Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease

The main symptoms of Parkinson’s diseases are:

  • Muscular stiffness: The patient’s muscles are so stiff and muscle coordination is so flawed that the sick person can not move smoothly but in a kind of jerks. The affected patient presents difficulties when it comes to bending the legs or arms.This rigidity is a problem when performing tasks with one’s hands, since there is a loss of manual dexterity. All this conveys a clear patient difficulty to perform daily routine activities such as writing or simply picking up objects from the floor.The stiffness in the muscles of the mouth may be causing the symptom of drooling. In more advanced stages, this disease may progress to muscle degeneration which may cause muscle atrophies.
  • Tremors: Tremors may occur at a rate of 3 or 4 times per second. These usually start in the hands but then can appear in any member. It is very typical the socalled “pill movement”, which is that the patient rubs his index finger with the other fingers, as if a pill were between them.The movements tend to be more pronounced when the person rests. Tremors delay or prevent the implementation of many of the regular activities of the patient.
  • Difficulty in walking: The sick person finds it very difficult to start walking. Head and neck muscles are shortened, which tends to bend the patient’s body forward and it is very hard to keep the body balanced. To balance it, the foot tends to move faster than normal in short steps and in a dragging manner.Sometimes it takes a lot to stop and when this is achieved, it is difficult to start again. It is not strange that the affected person may fall down from time to time.
  • Changes of expression: The gaze of the patient sometimes becomes fixed, expressionless, with eyes open, almost without blinking. It seems as if his face was a mask that expresses nothing.
  • Difficulty with memory and concentration: The trouble in remembering things and the inability to concentrate can be common.
  • Slurred speech: speech often has a slow, low volume or the patient just has difficulty in speaking.
  • Behavioral and personality disorders may occur: other behavioral or personal disorders appear and the patient may show symptoms of depression, anxiety, insomnia, irritability or even dementia.
  • Difficulty to control urination and problems of constipation: Involuntary urination and constipation are two symptoms that can appear in many patients with Parkinson’s disease.

Causes of Parkinson’s disease

medication used for Parkinson's

The medication used for Parkinson’s is effective, but it produces a small side effect that is the depletion of B12 and folic acid levels and increases homocysteine levels.

It has been much discussion about the real causes that produce cell degeneration in the substantia nigra of the brain. Among them, the main ones are:

  • Poisoning by drugs or chemicals: Although it has not been proved, there is a theory that states that certain toxic substances found in nature may be responsible for the degradation of neurons. Among them, for example, some medicines, as those supplied in psychotic processes, such as haloperidol, or ingestion of minerals, such as aluminum, or pesticides in the food chain.
  • Viral diseases: It is suspected that some viruses causing diseases can damage the brain cells.
  • Hepatic insufficiency: Related to the above theory, another theory that makes the liver failure as the root cause of the occurrence of this disease. A diseased liver or a defective one would be unable to eliminate toxins, which, eventually, would trigger the disease.
  • Nourishing deficiencies or food poisoning: It is believed that the lack of intake of antioxidant nutrients would be responsible for the appearance of numerous free radicals that contribute to the onset of Parkinson’s disease. So. For example, a deficiency of vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant, may help trigger the disease. By contrast, a prolonged diet rich in antioxidant nutrients, encourages the elimination of toxins and protect us against this disease. Studies in the Netherlands demonstrated the importance of this vitamin in the prevention of this disease.Other times, it is assumed that some foods can help ease its presence. For example, the inhabitants of Guam, the largest island of the Marianas in the Western Pacific, generally include in their diet the seeds of sago palm (Cycas Circinallis). Parkinson rates among the inhabitants of this island are very high, so it is suspected that this might be due to the fact they include the seeds of this plant very regularly in your meals.It has been found, for example, that people who usually have drunk water from wells have a greater chance of developing this disease.
  • Genetic predisposition: There are suspicions that people with relatives who suffer or have suffered from this disease are more likely to develop it. It seems that there are people who, from birth, have less substantia nigra neurons, so as they become older, they have more options to experience it.
  • As for the race, it has been stated that there is a higher percentage of Parkinson’s disease in Europe and America than in Asia. In Africa the percentage is much lower than in Asia, so one might think at first that black people are less susceptible to this disease. However, studies in USA show that the percentage of patients in this country between blacks and whites is the same, which clearly implies that it is not a race issue, but rather some external factor that triggers this disease.
  • Neuronal aging: Some researchers suggest that this disease could be caused by neuronal aging that, without apparent cause, is more accelerated in some people than in others leading to associated diseases such as Parkinson’s and premature aging.
  • Multiple causes: The current trend is in the direction of believing that natural degeneration, caused by aging along with the combination of more than one of the previous causes or even the sum of all them, could produce the appearance of Parkinson’s disease.

Food deficiency or food poisoning and Parkinson’s

It is believed that the lack of ingestion of antioxidant foods would be responsible for the appearance of numerous free radicals that would contribute to the onset of Parkinson’s disease. Thus, for example, a deficiency of vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant, could help trigger the disease. On the contrary, a prolonged diet, rich in antioxidant foods, would favor the elimination of toxins and protect us against this disease. Studies conducted in the Netherlands demonstrated the importance of this vitamin in the prevention of the disease.

Other times, it is assumed that some foods can help favor their appearance. Thus, for example, the inhabitants of Guam, the largest island of the Marianas in the Western Pacific, include in their diet the seeds of a plant, called queen sagoCycas circinalis. The rates of Parkinson’s among the inhabitants of this island are very high, reason why it is suspected that they could be due to the fact of including the seeds of this plant very habitually in their meals.

It has been proven, for example, that people who have habitually drunk water from wells are more likely to develop this disease.

Genetic predisposition and Parkinson’s

There are suspicions that people with relatives who suffer or have suffered from this disease are more likely to develop it. It seems that there are people who, from birth, have less neuronal wealth in the substantia nigra and who, with the normal wear and tear produced by age, have greater options to suffer it.

As for race, it has been found that there is a higher percentage of people with Parkinson’s in Europe and the United States than in Asia. In Africa, the percentage is much lower than in Asia, so one might think at first that the black race is less susceptible to this disease. However, studies conducted in the United States show that the percentage of patients in this country between blacks and whites is the same, which goes to show that it is not a matter of race, but rather of some external factor that triggers the illness.

Diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease

Before the onset of symptoms which can make us think the possible existence of this disease a visit to the doctor is necessary. Proper diagnose is done by physical and neurological examinations.

Treatment of Parkinson’s

Parkinson’s disease can not be cured. The medicine has the ability to manage a variety of medications that are intended to increase dopamine levels in the body (medication levodopa). Others provide treatment to the disease-related symptoms.

You need proper medical treatment to prevent the maximum physical and mental deterioration of the sick person. The use of medicines may delay or reduce the symptoms of this disease, especially when adequate treatment is applied in the initial stages of the disease.

Among the treatments being tested we can consider the possible introduction of brain cells from pigs in the human brain as a method to produce more dopamine.

Experiments are underway on the possibility of using electrical stimulation of dopamine-producing cells.

Natural treatment of Parkinson’s disease

The natural treatment of Parkinson’s disease involves the use of a number of resources to complement the conventional treatment.

punto rojo More information on Parkinson’s disease.

Editorial
Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

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