Monday, April 15, 2024

Parkinson’s Disease And Walking

Have You Ever Thought How Challenging Drinking A Glass Of Water Can Be For Someone Suffering From Parkinsons Disease

Walking with Parkinson’s

On World Health Day, youll likely read about how healthy habits like exercising or drinking more water, can improve your health. While these are helpful tips and important topics to cover, we decided to take things a step further. What if you couldnt drink that glass of water by yourself? It can be daunting to consider, but this scenario can become all-too-real for a person suffering from Parkinsons disease. There are 10 million people in the world suffering from this disorder which is why, today, we decided to share with you how Parkinsons Disease can affect mobility and balance, and what can be done when the disorder is detected in its early stages. That is why raising awareness for this degenerative disease is important, and, while there is still much research to be done, we have high hopes that researchers will find a way to reduce the symptoms of Parkinsons disease, and eventually find a cure. This is becoming more and more urgent, given the fact that life expectancy is rising and the number of individuals with Parkinsons disease will only increase in the future. But is there another solution in sight?

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What Causes Parkinsons Disease

Parkinsons disease occurs when nerve cells in an area of the brain called the substantia nigra become impaired or die. These cells normally produce dopamine, a chemical that helps the cells of the brain communicate . When these nerve cells become impaired or die, they produce less dopamine. Dopamine is especially important for the operation of another area of the brain called the basal ganglia. This area of the brain is responsible for organizing the brains commands for body movement. The loss of dopamine causes the movement symptoms seen in people with Parkinsons disease.

People with Parkinsons disease also lose another neurotransmitter called norepinephrine. This chemical is needed for proper functioning of the sympathetic nervous system. This system controls some of the bodys autonomic functions such as digestion, heart rate, blood pressure and breathing. Loss of norepinephrine causes some of the non-movement-related symptoms of Parkinsons disease.

Scientists arent sure what causes the neurons that produce these neurotransmitter chemicals to die.

What Does It Look Like

Parkinsonian gait is one of several motor symptoms that are the hallmarks of Parkinsons disease, including slowness of movement and tremors. Motor symptoms in Parkinsons disease come from a lack of control over movements and difficulty initiating muscle movements.

The exact features of Parkinsonian gait can differ from person to person, but there are some very common features that most people have. These include:

  • taking small, shuffling steps
  • moving more slowly than expected for your age
  • festinating, or when your strides become quicker and shorter than normal, which can make it look like youre hurrying
  • taking jerky steps
  • moving your arms less when walking
  • falling frequently
  • freezing of gait

People with Parkinsons disease can sometimes lose the ability to pick up their feet, which makes them stuck in place. Freezing of gait can be triggered by environmental factors, such as walking through a narrow doorway, changing directions, or walking through a crowd. It can also be triggered by emotions, especially anxiety or feeling rushed.

Freezing of gait can happen anytime. However, it often occurs when you stand up. You might find that youre unable to pick up your feet and start moving.

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Improving Flexibility And Range Of Motion

Improving your flexibility can help you improve your balance and gait, as well as reduce rigidity. Try these exercises:

  • Sit in a chair and bend your upper body at the waist to your right and left.
  • Get on all fours and turn your upper body to the right and left. Lift your arm on the side youre turning to as you turn.

Also work on lower-body strength training. Strength training can help you improve your balance, walk further distances, and potentially increase your walking speed. Some exercises to try include:

  • Leg presses. While sitting down, push a weight away from your body using your legs.
  • Squats. Start in an upright position with your legs slightly wider than hip distance. Bend your knees while pushing your glute muscles back, so that your knees dont come over your toes. You can hold onto something if necessary. You dont have to go down more than a few inches.
  • Exercise bike. If you have access to a recumbent exercise bike , using the bike can help strengthen your legs.
  • Repeatedly sit in and rise out of a chair. Repeating the motions of sitting down and rising helps strengthen your leg and core muscles. It also helps you practice a functional activity.

Production Of Dopamine Neurons From Stem Cells: Could We Be One Step Closer To The Cure


As the disease progresses, people may experience reduced quality of life, if normal functions such as swallowing, start to be affected. Currently, there is no known cure for Parkinsons disease. Once Parkinsons is diagnosed, the symptoms can often be treated with medications and therapies, especially in the early stages. However, the scientific community is making every effort to find a way to cure or at the very least find more effective ways to lessen the symptoms of this physically impairing disease.

As we mentioned before, the disease primarily affects dopamine-producing brain cells or neurons. The good news is, scientists in Sweden have identified some insights and a set of markers that should help control the quality of stem cells engineered for clinical use to treat Parkinsons disease. As the disease progresses and dopamine-producing brain cells malfunction and die, it leads to lower levels of dopamine, which is a chemical messenger essential for controlling movement. These findings should help fine-tune stem cell engineering to produce pure populations of high-quality dopamine neurons. Then, a pool of progenitor cells can be transplanted into the brains of patients, so they can make new supplies of dopamine cells.

But while this exciting new research is still in the lab, what else can we hope for to delay the symptoms of Parkinsons and improve the quality of life of those suffering from the disease?

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Medicines For Parkinson’s Disease

Medicines prescribed for Parkinson’s include:

  • Drugs that increase the level of dopamine in the brain
  • Drugs that affect other brain chemicals in the body
  • Drugs that help control nonmotor symptoms

The main therapy for Parkinson’s is levodopa, also called L-dopa. Nerve cells use levodopa to make dopamine to replenish the brain’s dwindling supply. Usually, people take levodopa along with another medication called carbidopa. Carbidopa prevents or reduces some of the side effects of levodopa therapysuch as nausea, vomiting, low blood pressure, and restlessnessand reduces the amount of levodopa needed to improve symptoms.

People with Parkinson’s should never stop taking levodopa without telling their doctor. Suddenly stopping the drug may have serious side effects, such as being unable to move or having difficulty breathing.

Other medicines used to treat Parkinsons symptoms include:

  • Dopamine agonists to mimic the role of dopamine in the brain
  • MAO-B inhibitors to slow down an enzyme that breaks down dopamine in the brain
  • COMT inhibitors to help break down dopamine
  • Amantadine, an old antiviral drug, to reduce involuntary movements
  • Anticholinergic drugs to reduce tremors and muscle rigidity

Limitations Of Reviewed Studies

A small selection of superficial lower limb muscles was assessed during walking in individuals with PD with certain muscle groups studied less. Information about the contribution of muscles to movement is necessary for understanding compensatory mechanisms resulting in impaired gait and dynamic postural control and for developing interventions. Only one study recorded the hip adductors, a muscle group with a cross-sectional area , which relates to muscle force, comparable to the CSA of the quadriceps group, and almost three times greater than the CSA of the hamstrings. This creates a vacuum in our knowledge of motor activity during walking in PD particularly given that mediolateral sway and instability are greater in individuals with PD. The reviewed studies reported group differences in a wide range of EMG parameters including temporal information , amplitude , coactivation indices, synergies, symmetry/variability indices and nonlinear indices. However, spectral characteristics of the EMG signals and intermuscular coherence, which may provide information about motor unit recruitment and neuronal networks controlling muscle activity, were not analysed.

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The Route To Better Walking

The good news for people with PD is that with exercise and physical therapy it is possible to cope better with freezing, turn and walk more normally and improve balance. Through practice and sessions, a physical therapist can help people with PD avoid tripping by helping them learn to take larger steps. Additionally, joining an exercise class tailored to people with PD can help. If you take levodopa, be sure to exercise while it is working the drug helps your body learn and remember motor skills.

Tricks that can help overcome freezing:

  • Walk to a regular beat to help prevent freezing. Try a metronome.
  • Take large, voluntary marching steps.
  • Step over an imaginary line or laser pointer.
  • Work with a therapist to find the solution that works best for you.

People respond differently to audio, visual or sensory cues. Dr. Horak and her team are testing a device that provides sensory feedback vibration on the foot to stimulate automatic stepping.

Another consideration for people who have freezing is anxiety, a common PD symptom. People who have anxiety experience freezing more often. It is a vicious circle being anxious about freezing can trigger it. Treating anxiety may help freezing.

How Does It Help

Parkinson’s walking tips

Walking in itself is great for your overall health, improving your bodys use of the heart and lungs, lowering cholesterol and blood pressure and helping blood sugar regulation. Nordic walking in particular can help you maintain a better posture and keep you more upright. At the same time, taking longer strides can gently stretch your limbs and keep your body rotated, which can help you loosen up and improve your coordination. If you feel that you tend to walk slower and take smaller steps, Nordic walking creates a steady beat to improve your pace. It can also make exercise fun and social when done in a group.

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Availability Of Data And Materials

The data used in this study contains sensitive information about the study participants and they did not provide consent for public data sharing. The current ethical approvals by the Regional Ethical Review Board in Lund, Sweden do not include data sharing. A minimal data set could be shared by request from a qualified academic investigator for the sole purpose of replicating the present study, provided the data transfer is in agreement with EU legislation on the general data protection regulation and approval by the Swedish Ethical Review Authority.

Contact information: Department of Health Sciences, Lund University Box 157, 221 00 Lund, Sweden Principal investigator: Swedish Ethical Review Authority, Box 2110, 75 002 Uppsala, Sweden. Phone: +46 10 475 08 00.

If You Notice This When You Walk It Could Be An Early Sign Of Parkinson’s

The next time you go on a walk, you may want to look out for these subtle symptoms.

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that can take a devastating toll over the years. But Parkinson’s often begins as barely detectable: a minor tremor, slight rigidity, or slow changes in your coordination may be the only sign that something is amiss.

However, an early diagnosis and interventionwhich may include an exercise regimen, medication, and lifestyle changesare key to managing Parkinson’s symptoms. That’s why medical experts say to look out for subtle signs that could point to the disease, including minor changes in how you walk. There are four walking-related symptoms in particular that may suggest a Parkinson’s diagnosis, and you should talk to your doctor immediately if you notice any of them. Read on to find out what to look out for on your next walk.

Read the original article on Best Life.

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Study: Parkinsons Disease And Walking

The study from the University of Iowa and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center of Iowa City found that for Parkinsons patients who were still mobile, walking three times a week showed a marked improvement in symptoms, with less depression and fatigue. Best of all, this is an affordable treatment.

Parkinsons causes a loss of brain cells that produce the neurotransmitter that is important for movement. Symptoms are usually barely perceptible at first, like a minor tremor in the limbs, but this will progress to difficulty walking and talking over time. This loss of mobility often leads to depression in many patients. Sadly, there is no cure for Parkinsons disease.

But as this study shows, we can slow its progression.

Let me explain this study in a little more detail.

To begin, researchers at the University of Iowa recruited a group of 60 Parkinsons patients with mild to moderate symptoms and ran a variety of tests to ensure that they were walking at a moderate paceenough to raise their heart rates, but not by too much. The participants walked for 25 minutes at an average speed of 2.9 miles an hour. This pace raised their heart rates to an average of 47% of its maximum capacity. They repeated this exercise regularly over the course of six monthsbut there were some minor differences that took place during this time.

The study was divided into two stages.

The researchers hope that there will be a third stage to the study since the results were encouraging.

Walking For Parkinson’s Disease

Yoga for Parkinson


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Although its great to get to the gym, dance class, zumba class or Pilates studio, simply going for a walk is always a valid and valuable form of exercise. In particular, walking for Parkinsons Disease management.

Walking improves circulation, supports the joints, raises the heart rate and improves cardiovascular fitness. Not to mention the mental health benefits and the Vitamin D exposure if youre lucky enough to be in a warmer climate.

For people with Parkinsons Disease, some of the most common symptoms occur during gait . These can include freezing, shuffling, reduced stride length and reduced arm swing. Because of this, walking as exercise is a great way for people with PD to apply specificity to their training.

*Specificity when an exercise programme is relevant to the goal/desired outcome

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How Can Parkinsons Disease Affect Mobility And Sense Of Balance

The neurophysiology of Parkinsons Disease proves that it affects balance, gait, movement and can actually cause constraints on mobility. But what do we mean by mobility?

Mobility is a persons ability to move safely in a variety of environments in order to accomplish functional tasks.

Functional tasks like drinking a glass of water or eating can become a problem. And if we think about it, mobility is something we take for granted most of the time. We dont expect to lose it, and we dont expect to get a degenerative disease, such as Parkinsons. Therefore, being able to maintain good mobility is something of utmost importance as we age, and we must take preventive measures to delay mobility impairment as much as possible.

Mobility requires dynamic neural control, a sense of balance, and enough agility to be able to adapt to postural transitions as quickly as possible. What also concerns us today is the several types of mobility deficits caused by the progression of Parkinsons Disease. We need to understand what preventive exercises and preventative measures can be taken to minimize the risk of falls and injury.

Parkinsons Disease and fall prevention

While Parkinsons is not life-threatening, people may experience life-threatening complications, such as choking on food or falling over. We must help our elderly loved ones prevent falls at any cost so that suggested exercise programs can work effectively in combatting the effects of Parkinsons Disease.

Received: 2020 June 1st Accepted For Publication: 2020 June 18

150 Effects of group physical therapy on the walking speed

151 Viorela Mihaela Ciortea et al.

Table II Differences in gait speed within groups before and after treatment. Groups Group therapy Individual therapy 10-meter walk test 10-meter walk test 10-meter walk test 10-meter walk test Test 6-minute walk test 6-minute walk test normal speed maximum speed normal speed maximum speed Gait speed -0.17 ± 0.08 -0.16 ± 0.1 -0.16 ± 0.11 -0.11 ± 0.11 -0.13 ± 0.15 -0.06 ± 0.19mean ± SD p-value < 0.05 < 0.05 < 0.05 < 0.05 < 0.05 0.07

152 Effects of group physical therapy on the walking speed

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Walking: Possible Preventative Treatment

While the study prescribes walking as an effective, but supplemental treatment to what a patients doctor prescribes, I would also recommend this form of exercise as a possible preventative treatment. Sure, walking hasnt been proven to prevent Parkinsonsjust slow its progressionbut it doesnt hurt to make it part of your daily routine, especially when it is known to help prevent so many other diseases. So why not start today with a couple laps around the neighborhood or a walk to the corner store for milk instead of driving. Taking these little steps could prove to be a big step in keeping your good health.

Brisk Walking May Help Curb Parkinsons Symptoms, MedlinePlus web site, July 2, 2014 Doyle, K., Walking may ease Parkinsons symptoms study suggests, Reuters, July 2, 2014 Fox, M., Walking works more magic This time in Parkinsons, Today Health web site, July 2, 2014

Brisk Walking May Improve Symptoms Of Parkinsons

Walking Poles and Parkinson Disease

The American Academy of Neurology is the world’s largest association of neurologists and neuroscience professionals, with 36,000 members. The AAN is dedicated to promoting the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, migraine, multiple sclerosis, concussion, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy.

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