WHAT IS PARKINSON'S DISEASE?
Parkinson's disease is a progressive neurological disorder that results from degeneration of neurons in a region of the brain that controls movement. This degeneration creates a shortage of the brain signaling chemical (neurotransmitter) known as dopamine, causing the movement impairments that characterize the disease. Parkinson's disease was first formally described in "An Essay on the Shaking Palsy," published in 1817 by a London physician named James Parkinson, but it has probably existed for many thousands of years. Its symptoms and potential therapies were mentioned in the Ayurveda, the system of medicine practiced in India as early as 5000 BC, and in the first Chinese medical text, Nei Jing, which appeared 2500 years ago.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF PARKINSON'S DISEASE?
Often, the first symptom of Parkinson's disease is tremor (trembling or shaking) of a limb, especially when the body is at rest. The tremor often begins on one side of the body, frequently in one hand. Other common symptoms include slow movement (bradykinesia), an inability to move (akinesia), rigid limbs, a shuffling gait, and a stooped posture. People with Parkinson's disease often show reduced facial expressions and speak in a soft voice. Occasionally, the disease also causes depression, personality changes, dementia, sleep disturbances, speech impairments, or sexual difficulties. The severity of Parkinson's symptoms tends to worsen over time.
HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE AFFECTED?
In the United States, at least 500,000 people are believed to suffer from Parkinson's disease, and about 50,000 new cases are reported annually. These figures are expected to increase as the average age of the population increases. The disorder appears to be slightly more common in men than women. The average age of onset is about 60. Both prevalence and incidence increase with advancing age; the rates are very low in people under 40 and rise among people in their 70s and 80s. Parkinson's disease is found all over the world. The rates vary from country to country, but it is not clear whether this reflects true ethnic and/or geographic differences or discrepancies in data collection.
WHAT CAUSES PARKINSON'S DISEASE?
Although there are many theories about the cause of Parkinson's disease, none has ever been proved. Researchers have reported families with apparently inherited Parkinson's for more than a century. However, until recently, the prevailing theory held that one or more environmental factors caused the disease. Severe Parkinson's-like symptoms have been described in people who took an illegal drug contaminated with the chemical MPTP (1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine) and in people who contracted a particularly severe form of influenza during an epidemic in the early 1900s. Recent studies of twins and families with Parkinson's have suggested that some people have an inherited susceptibility to the disease that may be influenced by environmental factors. The strong familial inheritance of the chromosome 4 gene is the first evidence that a gene alteration alone may lead to Parkinson's disease in some people.
HOW IS PARKINSON'S DISEASE DIAGNOSED?
Parkinson's disease is usually diagnosed by a neurologist who can evaluate symptoms and their severity. There is no test that can clearly identify the disease. Sometimes people with suspected Parkinson's disease are given anti-Parkinson's drugs to see if they respond. Other tests, such as brain scans, can help doctors decide if a patient has true Parkinson's disease or some other disorder that resembles it. Microscopic brain structures called Lewy bodies, which can be seen only during an autopsy, are regarded as a hallmark of classical Parkinson's. Autopsies have uncovered Lewy bodies in a surprising number of older persons without diagnosed Parkinson's -- 8% of people over 50, almost 13% of people over 70, and almost 16% of those over 80, according to one study. As a result, some experts believe Parkinson's disease is something of an "iceberg; phenomenon," lurking undetected in as many as 20 people for each known Parkinson's patient. A few researchers contend that almost everyone would develop Parkinson's eventually if they lived long enough.
WHAT TREATMENTS ARE AVAILABLE?
There is no cure for Parkinson's disease. Many patients are only mildly affected and need no treatment for several years after the initial diagnosis. When symptoms grow severe, doctors usually prescribe levodopa (L-dopa), which helps replace the brain's dopamine. Sometimes doctors prescribe other drugs that affect dopamine levels in the brain. In patients who are very severely affected, a kind of brain surgery known as pallidotomy has reportedly been effective in reducing symptoms. Another kind of brain surgery, in which healthy dopamine-producing tissue is transplanted into the brain, is also being tested. Finally, researchers are trying to identify substances that will prevent dopamine-producing brain cells from dying.
Drugs, not vitamins and minerals, are the mainstay of treatment for Parkinson's disease. Doctors who also offer nutritional guidance are most likely to make these recommendations.
|Nutrient / Supplement||Importance
( 1 - 10 )
|Calcium||10||this mineral is needed for nerve impulse transmissions and it works well with magnesium.|
|Magnesium||10||this mineral works with calcium to
help transmitting nerve impulses in the brain thus aiding with the
problems associated with parkinson's disease.
|Potassium||10||helps nerve impulse transmission|
|Multi-vitamin and Mineral supplement||10||contains calcium, magnesium, manganese, selenium, vitamin E, vitamin B , vitamin C, zinc , and other nutrients which all are helpful in both the treatment and prevention of Parkinson's and daily nutritional supplements are also required for good health and well being.|
|Selenium||10||powerful anti-oxidant useful with vitamin C and vitamin E these all may help to slow the progression of Parkinson's disease and may delay or eliminate the need for drug therapy.|
|Thiamin||10||essential for the normal functioning of the nervous system|
|Liquid Co-Q10||9||There is currently an exciting
study underway with coQ10 in patients with early Parkinson's disease.
Parkinson's disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder in
this country (after Alzheimer's), aff! ecting about 1% of all people over
the age of 50. Parkinson's is caused by the death of brain cells that
control movement. It is a double-blinded, prospective, randomized study
using doses of CoQ10 of 300 mg, 600 mg and 1200 mg daily.
The study will be completed later this year and it may turn out that high dose co-enzyme Q10 may slow the progression of Parkinson's disease. There is strong evidence in the medical literature indicating CoQ10 is a powerful antioxidant and may protect the neurons (brain cells) from dying.
|Glutathione||9||often is depleted in people with Parkinson's disease|
|Red Clover||9||herb that cleanse, helps to detoxify the liver|
|Dandelion||9||herb that works to detoxify and cleanse|
|Licorice||9||Herb that cleanse the blood|
|Ginkgo biloba||9||herb that helps to improve memory and brain function|
|Riboflavin||9||vitamin B2 aids with depression, nerve damage, and neurotransmitter levels|
|Niacin||9||vitamin B3 helps immune system, depression, and irritability|
|Pyridoxine||9||vitamin B6 dopamine production requires proper levels of this vitamin|
|vitamin C||9||antioxidants may slow the progression of the disease and delay need for drug therapy|
|Bioflavonoids||9||work with vitamin C|
|vitamin E||8||helps with healing and is a powerful antioxidant|
|Grape seed extract||8||strong bioflavonoids and free radical eliminators|
|Lecithin||8||aids with choline and transmission of nerve impul|
Disclaimer: This information is intended as a guide only. This information is offered to you with the understanding that it not be interpreted as medical or professional advice. All medical information needs to be carefully reviewed with your health care provider.
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