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Parkinson's Disease



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What Is Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson's Disease is a neurodegenerative (problem with nerve cells in the brain) brain disorder that progresses slowly and affects that way you move, speak, or write.  About one million American adults suffer from Parkinson's Disease, but they figure may be hire as there are cases that go undetected.  Parkinson's Disease, while not fatal, is incurable, but there are steps that can help reduce the severity of symptoms. 

Signs Of Parkinson's Disease

Symptoms of Parkinson's Disease can often go unnoticed in the early stages of the condition.  The most common symptom is when one side of the body, usually the hand or arm, experiences tremors or shaking.  Symptoms can stay on one side of the body or can progress and both sides.  Symptoms are as follows:

  • Tremors (shaking usually begins in hands or fingers)
  • Slowed Movement (over time)
  • Muscle Stiffness
  • Loss of Automatic Movements (sometimes having a decreased ability to sway arms while walking, to blink, or or smile)
  • Speech Changes (you may start to slur words or speak softly)
  • Impaired Posture of Balance
  • Difficulty Writing
What Causes Parkinson's Disease

The nerve cells in the brain produce a chemical called dopamine, which sends signals to the section of the brain that controls movement.  This creates smooth movement and doesn't impair one's mobility.  In a person with Parkinson's, these nerve cells in the brain break down or slowly die, ultimately inhibiting optimum dopamine production.  Then there is no longer enough dopamine available to move the way you want your body to move.  Causes are below.

  • Low Dopamine Levels
  • Genetics (genetic mutations can be the cause of the disease)
  • Environmental Factors (exposure to toxins or parasites)
  • Presense of Lewy Bodies (clumps certain microscopic substances within brain cells that cause Parkinson's)

Dherbs Approach...adjusting your diet is always key!

Natural Remedies
  • Stress can be a major factor in people with Parkinson's, so it's best to practice stress-relieving activities or therapies.  Exercising is a natural way to decrease stress and increase endorphin production.  Running or lifting weights may be difficult, but relaxing exercises like yoga or Tai Chi may help bring down stress levels.
  • Meditation may also help decrease stress levels.  Find a quiet, calm place where you can sit and just focus on your breath.  If meditating in silence proves difficult, there are many guided meditation options that are free and available online.  A guided meditation can help the individual remain calm and keep his or her thoughts from wandering. 
  • Acupuncture can be a beneficial treatment for people with Parkinson's Disease because it helps impove circulation and reallign the body's energy.  It can also help to relax muscles, which is beneficial because Parkinson's often causes muscle stiffness.  An additional treatment to help relieve muscles stiffness is massage therapy.  Getting massages can help relax the body, decrease stress levels, and provide a little relief from muscle stiffness. 
  • The foods you put in your body have a direct link to how you feel.  It is best to avoid cured or fermented foods, meat, dairy products, soy products like tofu, alcohol, and iron supplements.  Switching to a more plant-based diet, which is rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, can help to protect nerve function and keep Parkinson's symptoms under control.  Getting healthy doses of fresh fruits and vegetables provides the body with essential nutrients and fiber, which aids bowel movements and can help with muscle relaxation. 
  • People with Parkinson's can try gait training to help improve balance, if balancing proves to be difficult.  This training involves new ways to stand, walk, or turn.  Take large steps while walking forwards and focus on heel-to-toe action.  Walk to a steady rhythm.  You can practice walking to a metronome, a tool musician's use to keep time, to help with even walking. 
  • It's best to avoid caffeine, smoking, or any stimulants that increase adrenaline because this can worsen the tremors associated with Parkinson's.  
  • Sometimes pelvic muscles can become weakened in those with Parkinson's Disease.  This can make it difficult to control the bladder.  You can help improve bladder control by scheduling trips to the bathroom at specific times, practicing Kegel exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor, or you can keep a bladder journal to note how many times you are going to the bathroom. 
  • Keep a positive outlook on life.  While a positive attitude will not cure Parkinson's, it can help decrease stress levels and keep the person optimistic about life. 
Things you should eat
  • Dark Leafy Greens (kale, spinach, & chard)
  • Okra
  • Artichokes
  • Bell Peppers
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Kidney Beans
  • Edamame
  • Lentils
  • Pears
  • Berries (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries)
  • Apples
  • Grapes
  • Raw Walnuts, Hazelnuts, & Pecans
  • Bananas
  • Avocados
  • Pine Nuts
  • Flax, Sesame, & Pumpkin Seeds
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