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Understanding

Parkinson’s

What is parkinson’s disease?

Parkinson’s is a chronic, long-term progressive neurological condition. Symptoms generally wossen over time, that affects movement. A loss of nerve cells in the part of the brain, (the substantia nigra) that is responsible for controlling voluntary movements.

The substanita nigra is a small cluster of cells deep in the centre of the brain within an area called the basal ganglia. This is where dopamine is produced a chemical hormone that helps transmit messages fro the brain to the rest of the body via the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). As these cells are lost a person with Parkinson’s disease experience a loss of dopamine as well which in turn stops messages tat control movement from being transmitted effectively. 

Parkinson’s disease affects approxiamately 1% of individuals over 60. 

causes

As with most disease science does not know the exact cause but below are some of the theories. 

  1.  It could be genetic, so take a look at your family tree to see if anyone else in your family has had this condition. But remember your genes load the gun but its your lifestyle that pulls the trigger. 
  2.  Decades of constipation and a diet low in polyunsaturated fats like nuts, seeds, Flax seed and flax oil, safflower oil and fish (warning: fish are contaminated with PCB’s heavy metals and antibiotics all harmful to health, fish oils are rancid after a few hours of harvesting)
  3. Toxic environment exposure some examples are exposure to pesticides, herbicides, carbon monoxide, environmental toxins, chemicals, and so on. 
  4.  If you have been exposed to encephalitis (inflammation of brain tissue from a viral, bacterial or fungal infection), then you chance of developing Parkinson’s disease increases
  5. Mitochondrial dysfunction – like oxidative stress. Not being able to balance the free radicals with antioxidants. Low vegetable intake and low fruit intake. Your mitochondria are the power houses of each of your cells. Some cells have hundreds of mitochondria. Mitochondria burn your food in an effective way to produce the chemical energy called oxidative phosphorylation. Just as a fire goes out without oxygen, if mitochondria lack oxygen they stop working which leads to no energy and no life. In context, if the mitochondria do not get the oxygen they need  then the brain does not get these too, as well as the heart, and damage occurs and cell death.  If the oxygen does return the cells get overwhelmed and produce a lot of free radicals. Which cause additional damage. For the full article on mitochondria read here.

signs and symptoms

Later Stages

  • Short shuffling steps known as bradykinesia
  • Resting tremor known as pill rolling
  • Flexed posture. Stopping
  • Swinging arms with lack of normal subconscious movements 
  • Muscle stiffness and rigidity
  • Mask like face
  • Low voice

2 major neuropathological findings in the medical model 

1. Degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra, which is in your midbrain. This causes dopamine to reduce leaving those with Parkinson’s less able to direct or control their movement

2. There is also an accumulation of proteins that are abnormal (known as Lewy bodies) within the neurons. Neurons are the specialised cells that transmit nerve impulses.

diagnosis 

If first symptoms are noticed and developing you will visit your doctor who will refer you to a neurologies or other specialist. You will not likely be diagnosed after one visit as a series of tests will be carried out.  

what your doctor will offer you

1. Your doctor will check your medical history and should ask a thorough list of questions.

2. You may be offered a physical examination to see your ability to perform tasks with your hands, arms, and legs. With observation of walking, talking and sitting and getting up from a chair. You may be asked to give a sample of your handwriting too. Your reflexes may be tested, as well as for your strength in pushing and pulling etc.

3. You may be offered a Computerised Tomography scan (CT scan) or a Magnetic Resonance Imaging scan (MRI). These tests use magnetic fields and radio waves to form images of the brain.  These scans may not confirm Parkinson’s disease but will help the doctor to to rule out other conditions.

4. You may be offered a Positron Emission Tomogrpbay scan (PET)  or Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography scan (SPECT) which can be used to confirm a diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease. Check to see if this is available in your hospital as the machines are not widely available yet.

5. Treatments are limited as long term there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease.

6. You may be offered different types of drugs as the disease progresses these will change and need to be monitored regularly. 

  • Levodopa is the most common drug to replace dopamine (however it does not cross the blood brain barrier very well so hight doses are needed and there are side effects which can lead to abnormal movements)
  • Dopamine agonists, mimic the role of dopamine
  • Acetylcholine inhibiting drugs which stops the overactive chemical acetylcholine due to the lack of dopamine and causes the tremor.
  • There are drugs that prevent the breakdown of dopamine and 
  • Others can be given for anti-sickness from the side effects of the above medications

Take time to research all drugs offered to you to ensure that you know the side effects of all of them, this puts you in control of what is being administered. 

7. Surgery may be offered such as deep brain stimulation where electrical impulses are sent to specific areas of the brain. Ask your doctor for further details about this. 

8. You may be offered a physiotherapist to help with mobility problems

9. Occupational therapist can help with day to day functioning like washing and cooking.

10. Speech and language therapists can help with communication

11. Dieticians can give advice on a balanced diet, but usually this is following government guidelines which may not be you ultimate best for your overall health.

12. Your doctor may talk with you about the long term support that is on offer.

Get educated!

Getting educated about Parkinson’s will help if you are diagnosed but is also essential at a younger age for prevention of the disease. Get to know the risks so that you can help yourself to continue to make the right healthy choices for now, for life.

Key areas to help yourself with are to:-

  1.  Detoxification protocol
  2.  Anti-inflammatory diet
  3. Anti-oxidant rich foods
  4. Mitochondrial support 
  5. Nutritional supplements 
  6. Herbs
  7. Good Multi B vitamin
  8. Exercise 30-45 minutes 3-5 times a week 
  9. Dietary protein monitor to prevent competitive uptake between amino acids and L-dopa medications (seek a nutritionist) 

A big part of why the body is here in the first place could be due to many reasons. So you may want to consider a Reboot and look to give your body a break. Regular breaks so that you give your body the best chance to heal.

Take the next step to prevent illnesses & health issues,

Join Ultimate Health, Your Journey Starts Here!

At Ultimate Health we look for prevention and treating the cause. We always start by wiping the slate clean with a Reboot and then looking to help support your body to heal using natural proven principles. Naturopathic solutions and a protocol that supports your body and every system that it runs. We help you to manage the many multifunctional influences that can cause conditions like this in the first place. Detoxification is key, as well as reducing internal inflammation, getting conscious about your health and finding out what is actually healthy for you.  If you need a map we have the One Clear Path to support your entire journey to your Ultimate Health.

Here are the Pathways we use to support you:

  1. Detoxification
  2. Group Support
  3. One to One consultations
  4. Whole-Food Plant-Based Diet
  5. Meal Plans that are done for you
  6. Education on the Real Truth about What is Actually Healthy, not just what the media tells you is “Healthy“.

credits

1. Main picture – Pexels.com 

resources

1. Support and information on Parkinson’s disease – [email protected]ns.org.uk

2. Parkinson’s disease main site for information www.parkinsons.org.uk

References

1. Mitochondrial Biology Unit –  http://www.mrc-mbu.cam.ac.uk/what-are-mitochondria

2. Biomedicine training at the College of Naturopatic Medicine

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