What Are Home Remedies For Parkinson’s Disease
Treatment for Parkinson’s disease may include medications, surgery, gene therapy, other therapies, or a combination of these.
The decision to care for a family member with Parkinson’s disease is very complex.
Some patients’ treatment will include or begin with medications to “protect” the neurons that make dopamine. Although “neuroprotective agents” protect cells in tissue cultures, it is not clear if they have the same effect on patients’ neurons. These medications are monoamine oxidase B inhibitors .
Occasionally, some doctors may prescribe amantadine for short-term treatment of early Parkinson’s disease symptoms or use the medication in conjunction with carbidopa-levodopa treatment.
Patients usually will be given medications at the lowest effective dose. Over time, the various medication effects often diminish. To minimize medication side effects, the doctor may slowly increase dosages. Side effects involving problems with thinking are relatively common in older patients.
What Are The Causes And Symptoms Of Parkinsons Disease
As a neurodegenerative disorder, Parkinsons Disease leads to the progressive deterioration of motor function due to loss of dopamine-producing brain cells. While the cause of Parkinsons Disease is unknown, researchers speculate that both genetic and environmental factors are involved. Studies also show that men are 50% more likely to develop the disorder than women.
Primary symptoms of Parkinsons Disease:
Constipation And Digestive Issues
As Parkinsons disease progresses, your digestive tract will slow down and function less efficiently. This lack of movement may lead to increased bowel irritability and constipation.
In addition, certain medications often prescribed for Parkinsons disease, such as anticholinergics, can cause constipation. Eating a balanced diet with plenty of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains is a good first step remedy.
Fresh produce and whole grains also contain a great deal of fiber, which can help prevent constipation. Fiber supplements and powders are also an option for those with Parkinsons.
Be sure to ask your doctor how to gradually add fiber powder to your diet. This will ensure you dont have too much too quickly and make constipation worse.
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Other Causes Of Parkinsonism
“Parkinsonism” is the umbrella term used to describe the symptoms of tremors, muscle rigidity and slowness of movement.
Parkinson’s disease is the most common type of parkinsonism, but there are also some rarer types where a specific cause can be identified.
These include parkinsonism caused by:
- medication where symptoms develop after taking certain medications, such as some types of antipsychotic medication, and usually improve once the medication is stopped
- other progressive brain conditions such as progressive supranuclear palsy, multiple systems atrophy and corticobasal degeneration
- cerebrovascular disease where a series of small strokes cause several parts of the brain to die
You can read more about parkinsonism on the Parkinson’s UK website.
Page last reviewed: 30 April 2019 Next review due: 30 April 2022
What Surgeries And Therapies Can Treat Parkinson’s Disease
In addition to drug treatment, specific surgical options are available that may be used in patients that have severe symptoms of the disease or when medication is no longer able to give symptomatic relief. Early surgical treatments involved removal or destruction of the thalamus to reduce tremors but had little or no effect on symptoms of bradykinesia or rigidity. Pallidotomy and subthalamotomy, two surgical operations that remove parts of the brain have shown improvements in many of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. However, these techniques often do not reduce all of the symptoms which may continue to progress and may have many different complications when the brain tissue is destroyed in some patients, the outcomes versus the risks of these surgeries is still considered.
Parkinson’s Disease Gene Therapy
Parkinson’s Disease Other Therapies
Some studies claim that eating velvet or fava beans help with symptoms , but these studies were not deemed conclusive. Vitamin E and coenzyme Q have been claimed by some to be neuroprotective but are not a currently recommended treatment. A high fiber diet has been recommended to reduce the constipation that usually is seen in many Parkinson’s disease patients. Exercise has been suggested to help Parkinson’s disease patients studies suggest that many Parkinson’s disease patients benefit from exercises that stress flexibility, leg strength, and cardiovascular conditioning.
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How Is Parkinsons Disease Diagnosed
Diagnosing Parkinsons disease is sometimes difficult, since early symptoms can mimic other disorders and there are no specific blood or other laboratory tests to diagnose the disease. Imaging tests, such as CT or MRI scans, may be used to rule out other disorders that cause similar symptoms.
To diagnose Parkinsons disease, you will be asked about your medical history and family history of neurologic disorders as well as your current symptoms, medications and possible exposure to toxins. Your doctor will look for signs of tremor and muscle rigidity, watch you walk, check your posture and coordination and look for slowness of movement.
If you think you may have Parkinsons disease, you should probably see a neurologist, preferably a movement disorders-trained neurologist. The treatment decisions made early in the illness can affect the long-term success of the treatment.
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What Does Parkinson’s Do To The Brain
Deep down in your brain, there’s an area called the substantia nigra, which is in the basal ganglia. Some of its cells make dopamine, a chemical that carries messages around your brain. When you need to scratch an itch or kick a ball, dopamine quickly carries a message to the nerve cell that controls that movement.
When that system is working well, your body moves smoothly and evenly. But when you have Parkinson’s, the cells of your substantia nigra start to die. There’s no replacing them, so your dopamine levels drop and you can’t fire off as many messages to control smooth body movements.
Early on, you won’t notice anything different. But as more and more cells die, you reach a tipping point where you start to have symptoms.
That may not be until 80% of the cells are gone, which is why you can have Parkinson’s for quite a while before you realize it.
Causes Of Parkinsons Disease
At present, we do not know the cause of Parkinsons disease. In most people there is no family history of Parkinsons Researchers worldwide are investigating possible causes, including:
- environmental triggers, pesticides, toxins, chemicals
- genetic factors
- combinations of environment and genetic factors
- head trauma.
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The Heart Of The Matter: Cardiovascular Effects Of Parkinsons Disease
It has long been understood that Parkinsons disease does not just cause movement symptoms, but also causes a litany of non-motor symptoms with effects throughout the body. One of the organ systems that is affected is the cardiac system, encompassing the heart, as well as the major and minor blood vessels. I received this topic as a suggestion from a blog reader and we will be discussing this important issue today. Please feel free to suggest your own blog topic.
What Are The Symptoms Of Parkinsons Disease Anxiety
Depression and anxiety with or without Parkinson’s disease can be debilitating. You may suffer from a “loop” of anxious thoughts about your illness or the future, or you may find yourself experiencing panic attacks or feeling afraid to go outside. You may also have a negative view of the world and your place in it.
While it’s normal to feel some degree of worry when you are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, persistent anxiety that doesn’t go away when you relax may require treatment. Here are some of the most common Parkinson’s disease and anxiety symptoms:
- Constant feelings of worry or dread
- Panic attacks characterized by heart palpitations, sweating, nausea and lightheadedness
- Feeling out of control or helpless
- Long, intense periods of unease
- Feeling unsafe for in normal situations
- Wanting to isolate yourself or being afraid to leave the house
- Avoiding certain situations because they trigger anxiety
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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:
How Does Parkinsons Disease Progress
The Parkinsons Foundation states there are typical patterns of progression of Parkinsons disease that can be defined in 5 stages:
With proper treatment, most individuals with Parkinsons disease can lead long, productive lives for many years after diagnosis. In fact, life expectancy for those affected by Parkinsons is about the same as for people without the disease. Its the quality of life of those affected by Parkinsons disease that suffers, so how can we tackle all the challenges the disease poses to ones quality of life?
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Who Gets Parkinsons Disease
Parkinsonâs disease, documented in 1817 by physician James Parkinson, is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimerâs disease. Estimates regarding the number of people in the United States with Parkinsonâs range from 500,000 to 1,500,000, with 50,000 to 60,000 new cases reported annually. No objective test for Parkinsonâs disease exists, so the misdiagnosis rate can be high, especially when a professional who doesnât regularly work with the disease makes the diagnosis.
What Are The Symptoms Of Parkinsons Disease
Symptoms of Parkinsons disease and the rate of decline vary widely from person to person. The most common symptoms include:
Other symptoms include:
- Speech/vocal changes: Speech may be quick, become slurred or be soft in tone. You may hesitate before speaking. The pitch of your voice may become unchanged .
- Handwriting changes: You handwriting may become smaller and more difficult to read.
- Depression and anxiety.
- Sleeping disturbances including disrupted sleep, acting out your dreams, and restless leg syndrome.
- Pain, lack of interest , fatigue, change in weight, vision changes.
- Low blood pressure.
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What Is The Treatment For Parkinson’s Disease
There is currently no treatment to cure Parkinson’s disease. Several therapies are available to delay the onset of motor symptoms and to ameliorate motor symptoms. All of these therapies are designed to increase the amount of dopamine in the brain either by replacing dopamine, mimicking dopamine, or prolonging the effect of dopamine by inhibiting its breakdown. Studies have shown that early therapy in the non-motor stage can delay the onset of motor symptoms, thereby extending quality of life.
The most effective therapy for Parkinson’s disease is levodopa , which is converted to dopamine in the brain. However, because long-term treatment with levodopa can lead to unpleasant side effects , its use is often delayed until motor impairment is more severe. Levodopa is frequently prescribed together with carbidopa , which prevents levodopa from being broken down before it reaches the brain. Co-treatment with carbidopa allows for a lower levodopa dose, thereby reducing side effects.
In earlier stages of Parkinson’s disease, substances that mimic the action of dopamine , and substances that reduce the breakdown of dopamine inhibitors) can be very efficacious in relieving motor symptoms. Unpleasant side effects of these preparations are quite common, including swelling caused by fluid accumulation in body tissues, drowsiness, constipation, dizziness, hallucinations, and nausea.
How Can We Reduce Mobility Constraints In People With Parkinsons Disease
Over the last few decades, neuroscience has been providing us with exciting new findings regarding the effects of physical exercise on neuroplasticity , neuroprotection and slowing of neural degeneration. In fact, it has been proven that physical exercise can improve brain function in people with neurological disorders.
Aerobic exercise, such as treadmill training and walking programs, have been tested on individuals with Parkinsons Disease and has been shown to improve gait and quality of life in general. However, the type of exercise chosen should take into account a specific program provided by a specialist. The exercise shouldnt, by any means, put the patients physical integrity at risk, especially if the patient is a senior. In order to address complex mobility issues in people with Parkinsons Disease, a therapist could incorporate tasks such as balance training into the patients rehabilitation. These are exercises that challenge sensorimotor control of dynamic balance and gait to improve mobility.
According to a study by Dr. Ergun Y. Uc, of the University of Iowa, the results suggest that
walking may provide a safe and easily accessible way of improving the symptoms of Parkinsons disease and quality of life.
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Research Is Underway To Further Understand The Cardiac Effects Of Parkinsons
It is possible to image the sympathetic nervous system of the human heart by injecting a radioactive tracer, meta-iodo-benzyl-guanidine, . Development of this technique, known as MIBG cardiac imaging, holds much promise as a test to confirm the diagnosis of PD , to identify those who are at risk of developing PD in the future, and to distinguish PD from related disorders. MIBG cardiac imaging is still considered an experimental procedure for detection of PD and is not yet in use as a clinical tool for this purpose.
A recent research study was conducted in monkeys in which the destruction of the sympathetic nerves of the heart was chemically induced to mimic the changes that are seen in PD. The cardiac system was then imaged using a number of new-generation radioactive tracers, which bind to markers of inflammation and oxidative stress. This model system may help to shed light on the molecular changes that accompany the loss of the sympathetic nerves of the heart and can also be used to track the response of the cardiac system to therapeutic agents.
Lewy Bodies And Alpha
In addition to the dopamine deficiency and neuronal loss, PD is also associated with a buildup of intracellular inclusions inside the neurons, called Lewy bodies. Studies have shown that the Lewy bodies are made mainly of a protein called alpha-synuclein.
They are not seen in brain imaging studies but have been detected in research studies that examine the brains of people who had PD and donated their own brains to science for the purpose of research. There is no known treatment or method of removing the Lewy bodies at this time.
In PD, Lewy bodies are found in the substantia nigra as well as other areas, including the amygdala and locus coeruleus , the raphe nucleus , and the olfactory nerve . The functions controlled by these regions can be impaired in PD, although the symptoms arent as noticeable as the tremors and muscle stiffness.
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Drugs And Medication Used To Treat Parkinsons Disease
A number of different drugs can be used to treat Parkinsons.
Levodopa is the most common treatment for Parkinsons. It helps to replenish dopamine.
About 75 percent of cases respond to levodopa, but not all symptoms are improved. Levodopa is generally given with carbidopa.
Carbidopa delays the breakdown of levodopa which in turn increases the availability of levodopa at the blood-brain barrier.
Dopamine agonists can imitate the action of dopamine in the brain. Theyre less effective than levodopa, but they can be useful as bridge medications when levodopa is less effective.
Drugs in this class include bromocriptine, pramipexole, and ropinirole.
Anticholinergics are used to block the parasympathetic nervous system. They can help with rigidity.
Benztropine and trihexyphenidyl are anticholinergics used to treat Parkinsons.
Amantadine can be used along with carbidopa-levodopa. Its a glutamate-blocking drug . It offers short-term relief for the involuntary movements that can be a side effect of levodopa.
Catechol O-methyltransferase inhibitors prolong the effect of levodopa. Entacapone and tolcapone are examples of COMT inhibitors.
Tolcapone can cause liver damage. Its usually saved for people who do not respond to other therapies.
Ectacapone does not cause liver damage.
Stalevo is a drug that combines ectacapone and carbidopa-levodopa in one pill.