In Summary Reduce Your Stress
The most important thing we can do for our long-term health, both physical and cognitive, is to reduce the stress in our bodies. All stress physical, emotional and chemical causes inflammation and long-term damage throughout the body.
Whether youre seeking Parkinsons prevention techniques or ways to alleviate symptoms, any of the above dietary and lifestyle practices can have long-term health benefits. Drinking green tea, eating organic, local vegetables, and regular aerobic exercise all significantly reduce the long-term cumulative damage done by stress.
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What Can You Do If You Have Pd
- Work with your doctor to create a plan to stay healthy. This might include the following:
- A referral to a neurologist, a doctor who specializes in the brain
- Care from an occupational therapist, physical therapist or speech therapist
- Meeting with a medical social worker to talk about how Parkinsons will affect your life
For more information, visit our Treatment page.
Page reviewed by Dr. Chauncey Spears, Movement Disorders Fellow at the University of Florida, a Parkinsons Foundation Center of Excellence.
How Do You Prevent Parkinsons Disease
Parkinsons disease or PD is a type of progressive disease of nervous system. In this case, human brain of a person stops producing dopamine i.e. a neurotransmitter gradually. With less amount of dopamine, individuals fail to regulate their body movements and emotions.
This condition also involves degeneration of basal ganglia present in the human brain and alterations in its other parts and neurotransmitters. The progression of Parkinsons disease problem takes place slowly in human beings and symptoms require many years to develop. Because of this, most of the people may live for many years even by suffering from the problem.
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Try The Ketogenic Diet
The ketogenic diet is characterized by a high fat intaketypically 80 to 90 percent of total caloriesmoderate protein intake, and a very low carbohydrate intake. Originally developed as a treatment for refractory epilepsy in children, the ketogenic diet has exploded in popularity in recent years.
A growing body of clinical research shows the health benefits of the ketogenic diet, including weight loss and improvements in cardiovascular disease risk factors. However, some of the most exciting findings related to the ketogenic diet deals with its impact on neurological diseases like Parkinsons. In animal models of PD, the ketogenic diet reduces mitochondrial damage and improves motor function. In humans, the diet improves both motor and non-motor symptoms of PD. There are two primary ways the ketogenic diet alleviates symptoms of PD:
- Ketones are an alternative fuel source for the brain. The human brain typically relies on glucose for energy. In PD, part of the process required to produce energy from glucose is impaired, making glucose an inefficient fuel source. Ketones bypass that process and are readily taken up by the brain, so they serve as an efficient alternative energy source for neurons.
- Ketone metabolism decreases oxidative stress in the brain and reduces neuroinflammation, thus alleviating two of the underlying causes of PD.
Surgery And Deep Brain Stimulation
Deep brain stimulation is a treatment for Parkinsonâs disease that uses an implantable pacemaker-like device to deliver electrical pulses to parts of the brain involved in movement. The DBS system consists of leads precisely inserted into a specific brain target, the neurostimulator implanted in the chest, and extension wires that connect the leads to the neurostimulator. Though implantation of the system requires a neurosurgical procedure, the treatment itself consists of long-term electrical stimulation. Advantages of DBS include its ability to reduce the high doses of medications , its adjustability , and its reversibility DBS was approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a treatment for PD in 2002 and according to Medtronic , more than 80,000 patients have undergone DBS surgery worldwide.
Typical candidates are those who have motor fluctuations or periods of âoffâ time with troublesome symptoms alternating with periods of âonâ time with good symptom control, and also with possible periods of excessive movement .
Not all patients with Parkinsonâs disease are good candidates for treatment with DBS. Approximately 10â20% of patients considered for possible treatment with DBS include those:
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Diet And Exercise May Play Key Roles
Parkinson’s disease results from the death of dopamine-producing nerve cells within an area of the brain called the substantia nigra.
Since dopamine regulates movement, depletion of it results in motor symptoms like shaking, stiffness, and walking problems. Non-motor symptoms, like depression, sleep problems, and loss of smell, also commonly occur.
While there is no definitive way yet to prevent Parkinson’s disease, eating a “brain-healthy” diet and incorporating physical activity into your daily routine might help reduce the risk or delay symptom onset. This article reviews the potential roles of diet and exercise in PD prevention.
Eat Fresh Raw Vegetables
If you needed more reasons to eat your vegetables, this should be the clincher. Studies show that increased amounts of the B vitamin folic acid, found primarily in vegetables, can significantly reduce the risk of Parkinsons.
The best sources of folic acid are simultaneously some of the healthiest foods on the planet, namely dark green vegetables like broccoli, spinach, collard greens, brussels sprouts, asparagus and okra all of which can be grown in your backyard! This B vitamin can also be found in avocado, legumes and lentils.
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So What Does Nutrition Have To Do With Parkinsons
1. The neurotransmitter dopamine is made in the body from amino acids which are the building blocks of protein. Every time we eat a protein rich food we take in protein, which the body breaks down into its component amino acids. Two amino acids are converted in the body into L-Dopa, which is then converted into dopamine in the brain.
2. Nutrient co-factors are required for each stage of this conversion process, so deficiencies of these may reduce dopamine production.
3. L-dopa medication competes for absorption with dietary amino acids, therefore the timing of taking L-dopa and the eating of protein needs to be managed for optimal absorption and effectiveness of the drug and the reduction of side-effects.
Therefore, the nutritional therapy approach to Parkinsons includes:
1. Supporting dopamine production by ensuring adequate precursors and co-factors
2. Considering drug-nutrient interactions to enhance effectiveness and reduce side-effects
3. Optimising nutritional status and addressing co-morbidities . These co-morbidities include constipation, depression, fatigue, and insomnia.
Tips For Daily Living
If you are already living with Parkinsons disease, here are some tips to manage it:
- Exercise your brain. Read, work on crossword puzzle, do Sudoku, or engage in other activities that use your brain.
- Get moving. If you feel comfortable walking, swimming, or riding an exercise bike, go for itand try to do it on a regular basis.
- Try tai chi. We think of as a mind-body exercise, and it is, but it also has roots as a martial art in China. A 2012 study found that practicing tai chi helped people with moderate Parkinsons disease maintain stability and balance. And a 2014 study found that tai chi can help people reduce their risk of falling. It incorporates a flowing series of coordinated movements to help you maintain flexibility, strength and balance, and it can be easily adapted to meet your abilities.
- Practice yoga. You dont have to perform headstands or other physically challenging poses to get significant benefits from . You can improve your balance, mobility, flexibility, and strength with a form thats adapted for you.
- Find a support group. Whether you prefer an online support group or a group that meets in person, a can be an invaluable resource for helping you live with Parkinsons disease.
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Scientifically Backed Ways To Prevent Parkinsons Disease
Dopamine plays a major role in a variety of mental and physical functions, including:
- Voluntary movement
- General behavior
Parkinsons now afflicts roughly 1.5 million people in the United States alone, with primary symptoms being body tremors, slow movement, rigid limbs, reduced memory, a shuffling gait and speech impairment. So we have to ask:
1.) What causes it?
2.) How do we prevent it?
Currently there isnt a known cure, and its not fully understood what causes the dip in dopamine however, we know that aging is the single most important risk factor for PD, with inflammation and stress contributing to cell damage. And we now know enough about the disease to understand the preventative measures that counter the aging and death of the neurons under attack.
Because there is no known cure, its critical that we prevent the disease before symptoms arise. Granted, thanks to recent advancements in modern surgical procedures, there are some safe surgeries that can mitigate some of the more severe symptoms associated with PD. The most common one now is deep brain stimulation, in which they implant an electrode into the brain that can stop some of the more severe symptoms of Parkinsons.
But this article will try to keep it from getting to that point. The less drugs and surgery we can have in our lives, the better.
Trouble Moving Or Walking
Do you feel stiff in your body, arms or legs? Have others noticed that your arms dont swing like they used to when you walk? Sometimes stiffness goes away as you move. If it does not, it can be a sign of Parkinsons disease. An early sign might be stiffness or pain in your shoulder or hips. People sometimes say their feet seem stuck to the floor.
What is normal?If you have injured your arm or shoulder, you may not be able to use it as well until it is healed, or another illness like arthritis might cause the same symptom.
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Causes Of Parkinsons Disease
As identified by specialists, the main cause of PD is the brains inability to produce dopamine. But, what makes the brain not able to produce dopamine? Your health is in your hands. Be educated and take charge.
Here are some of the reasons that contribute to the deterioration of not only PD but also neurological health:
- Various nutrient deficiencies
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Physical Exercise Can Reduce Inflammation And Oxidative Stress
Accumulation of the -syn protein in neurons leads to inflammation in the brain . Aggregation of -Syn induced the production of proinflammatory cytokines, which are toxic and thus cause cell death of dopaminergic neurons . Therefore, reducing the inflammatory response may be an effective way to deal with PD. Several studies found that physical exercise can improve the oxidative metabolism and the expression of antioxidant enzymes in the brain of mice . Tuon et al. indicated that physical exercise was beneficial in reducing the production of proinflammatory proteins and inflammation in the brain of PD mice . This result is consistent with previous studies by Sung et al. and Al-Jarrah et al., which suggested that physical exercise could decrease the level of proinflammatory proteins in the striatum and hippocampus in the PD experimental model through reducing the activity of microglia .
Based on the above studies, we speculate that multiple pathways are involved in the regulation of physical exercise in PD animal experiments, such as alleviate the production of proinflammatory factors in the musculoskeletal muscle, reduce the expression of inflammatory factors in the brain, reduce the inflammatory response, and regulate oxidative stress .
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How Do We Maintain Our Balance
When the joints in your legs move, the nerves in your legs send signals to the spinal cord, from where they go to the Brain.
If this system is working, then the Brain knows *exactly* where your legs are, even when your eyes are closed!
This ability is called Joint Position Sense.
A second device is important as well:
Our inner ears contain tiny circular canals filled with fluid.
When your head moves, the liquid inside these canals moves, and the ears immediately send signals to the brain, informing it of this movement.
Finally, your eyes.
This one is obvious.
When you tend to fall, you can see that you are falling.
The eyes almost instantaneously send this information to the Brain, so that corrective action can be taken.
The Brain is supposed to act immediately when it gets signals from any of these organs that you are going to fall down.
These reflex movements are called Postural reflexes.
With this understanding, let us see now why we fall.
How Can I Better Cope With Having Parkinson’s Disease
The most important step you can take is to seek help as soon as you feel less able to cope with Parkinson’s disease. Taking action early will enable you to understand and deal with the many effects of your condition. A mental health care provider can design a treatment plan to meet your specific needs. Strategies can be designed to help you regain a sense of control over your life and improve your quality of life.
Other steps you can take include the following.
- Find out as much as you can about the illness.
- Talk to your friends and family about it. Don’t isolate them. They will want to be involved in helping you.
- Do things you enjoy.
- Do not be afraid to ask your doctor, nurse, or other health care provider to repeat any instructions or medical terms that you don’t understand or remember. They should always be available to answer your questions and address your concerns.
- Make use of resources and support services offered by your hospital and in your community.
- Learn to manage stress. This will help you to maintain a positive physical, emotional, and spiritual outlook on life. Being stressed out will only make the situation worse. You should try to organize a daily routine that will reduce stress, with down time for both you and your family members.
- If you are depressed — and this is more than just feeling sad occasionally — antidepressants can be prescribed to help lift your mood.
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Basic Concepts Of The Mediterranean Diet
The components of a Mediterranean diet include:
- Eat mainlyplant-based foods, such as a variety of fruits and vegetables, along with whole grains, nuts, and legumes, including lentils, chickpeas, beans, and peas.
- Consume a small amount of low-fat protein, either chicken or fatty fish, such as salmon, albacore tuna, or mackerel, a few times per week.
- Limit red meat to a few times a month.
- Avoid salt and instead flavor your meals with spices and herbs.
- Drink red wine in moderation .
- Replace butter with a healthier fat like extra virgin olive oil.
- Limit dairy, including cream, milk, and ice cream.
Eat Plenty Of Protein But Not With Levodopa Medications
If youre taking a levodopa medication, your doctor may tell you to avoid protein when taking your meds. Both animal and plant protein can interfere with the absorption of levodopa medications.
But you should still eat plenty of protein. Just be strategic with the timing. Dont take levodopa medications with meals, Dr. Gostkowski says. Its best to take it on an empty stomach either 30 minutes before your meal or an hour after eating.
If you get nauseous from the medication, eat a small amount of starchy food with it, such as crackers. Make sure whatever you eat with your medicine doesnt have protein. Its a misunderstanding that people with Parkinsons should avoid protein, Dr. Gostkowski says. You definitely need protein in your diet. Just dont eat it when youre taking your levodopa medication.
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Switch To A New Drug Delivery Method
Another way to keep your dopamine levels steady is to try a long-acting form of levodopa that delivers a steady dose of the medicine. These include:
- A patch that you wear on your skin
- A capsule that slowly releases the drug into your body over several hours
Or you could take levodopa gel, which goes straight into your intestine through a needle and a tube called duopa. It works faster than a pill because your stomach doesn’t have to break down the medicine first.
A new powder form of levodopa that you breathe into your lungs and helps relieve motor fluctuations faster than a pill has also been approved.
Adequate Treatment Of Freezing
You can fall down if you have sudden freezing while walking. You can also fall if your bodys corrective movements occur too late or too slowly to prevent a fall.
Therefore, adequate treatment of your movements so that slowness and freezing while walking are treated is absolutely essential in preventing falls.
Medications used to treat movement problems are described in a different set of articles. It is important to select these judiciously. In most cases, the best medication happens to be levodopa.
Once it enters the Brain, Levodopa is converted into Dopamine.
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Combine Exercise With Diet
Dr. Gostkowski says if you want to feel your best, combine a healthy diet with exercise. Research has shown that regular exercise can improve PD symptoms.
Do exercise that raises your heart rate, Dr. Gostkowski says. Aim for about 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Dont worry about specific exercises. Do an activity you enjoy, as long as it gets your heart rate up. Try brisk walking or biking or more advanced exercise for veteran athletes. I recommend seeing an occupational therapist. They can tailor an exercise program to your needs.
Eat Fermented Foods For Probiotics
Our lack of gut health or any digestive disorders are usually starts from having a severely imbalanced gut flora.
Many people underestimate the importance of gut health and often disregard the care of a healthy gut, and eating foods that undermine gut health.
Fermented foods are some of the best foods for replenishing your gut with beneficial bacteria to strengthen gut health and the immune system.
Some of the fermented foods you could add to your diet include kefir, kombucha tea, sauerkraut, kimchi and tempeh .
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