Understanding Parkinson’s Disease (Part 2)
As mentioned in part 1 of this article, Parkinson’s disease does not have any cure. But there are things you can have or do to better the condition. In this second part, the discussion will focus on the PD Treatments and Risk factors for PD to help you avoid it as much as possible.
There’s no cure for PD, but there are medications that address the issue of dopamine deficiency in the brain. Recommended drugs either help to replenish dopamine or they mimic dopamine’s mode of action.
Taking drugs in the early stages of Parkinson’s Disease can help reduce muscle stiffness and tremors as well as improve movement coordination and speed. As the condition progresses, it may require higher dosages for the medication to take effect, but at the expense of having other side effects.
According to studies, exercise can improve the brain’s efficiency in utilizing dopamine, which is very important especially when dopamine is diminishing. High intensity exercises appear to be more effective compared to low intensity exercises and stretching in improving the use of dopamine. Examples of these exercises include running on a treadmill or using an elliptical machine.
PD patients also need the help of a speech therapist when they have issues like slurred speech or swallowing difficulties. Such people can assist with the use of speech and language.
Other PD patients suffering from motor complications may need Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) surgery. In this surgery, the doctor inserts electrodes in to a specific part of the brain. Next, an impulse generator is implanted in the abdomen or under the collarbone. A controller helps to turn the device on to send an electrical impulse to the particular part of the brain responsible for the motor function.
Risk Factors of PD
Although, there’s no sure way to tell if a person will have PD or not, it helps to know the risk factors for PD to lower the probability of having this condition.
Reduce your exposure to toxins and heavy metals because PD is strongly correlated to these elements. Here are a few tips that can help:
- Buy organic produce including fruits, vegetables and meat. Buy wild caught fish instead of farmed fish.
- Drink filtered water to be sure there are no heavy metals.
- Use glass, ceramic or stainless steel cookware instead of aluminum or Teflon pots and pans.
Many PD patients have vitamin D deficiency. To help fight the disease, it is essential to maintain a vitamin D level of 70 – 100 ng/ml. This may be obtained from regular exposure to the sun or by taking vitamin D supplement, preferably vitamin D3.
DHA deficiency is a risk factor for Parkinson’s disease. Get enough omega-3 fats through eating fatty fish and grass-fed beef. With enough DHA, you protect your brain against inflammation; reduce death of brain cells, stimulate nerve cells growth and increase glutathione activity.
Studies show that Small Intestinal Bacteria Overgrowth (SIBO) causes the motor function of PD patients to worsen. Hence, getting rid of SIBO helps to improve PD patient’s motor function.
Too much iron can be deadly. Dopamine binds with excess iron to create a toxic compound that damages the nerve cells. Iron levels in the blood increase with age, so it may be recommended to donate blood if it’s necessary to reduce your iron levels.
Photo credit: Matthew Anderson via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0