10 Facts About Parkinson's Disease
by Dr. Dean P. Sutherland
- It has been said that accurate genetic diagnosis and treatment will occur along with increased knowledge of the genetic code. Many of you want to know the probability of passing PD along to your children and grandchildren. The vast majority of people with Parkinson’s do not have mutated genes and therefore do not pass them along.
- Evidence suggests that exposure to some pesticides and solvents, farming, rural living and well water is linked to Parkinson’s disease.
- The ingestion of cocoanut oil, cinnamon, Omega-3 fish oil,pure oxygen, Vitamin C and E, Glutathione, CoQ-10, nicotinamide, riboflavin, acetlyl carnitine, lipoic acid, St. John’s Wort, Ginko Biloba, creatine, and Alkaline water, have not yet been shown in scientific, peer-reviewed studies to be beneficial to Parkinson’s patients.
- Don’t be vulnerable to clinics claiming to provide stem cell-based cures. This therapy is still years away. Again, participate in trials when they become available.
- The largest clinical trial of the three types of Parkinson drugs, studying 1,620 patients, finds Levodopa therapy is the most effective initial treatment.
- The use of a placebo in a clinical trial can affect how the participant perceives the trial drug’s effectiveness.Called the “lessebo” effect, patients who perceive the likelihood of receiving a placebo as less than average judge the effects of the trial drug to be more effective (and vice versa). This supports the idea that, in the early stages of Parkinson’s, the more a patient believes a therapy will work the more he or she will perceive that it is working. Maybe that’s why people use glutathione regardless of evidence to the contrary?
- Cardiovascular problems may play a role in increasing the rate of motor disability in people with Parkinson’s. The negative effects of elevated blood pressure on neurodegeneration, for instance, are well documented in dementia and the same may prove true in PD. Improving your cardio risk factors could be a unique approach to modifying PD and reducing gait and balance difficulties, researchers say. Cardio problems often go hand in hand with PD and a cardiologist should be consulted when necessary.
- Depression is very much a part of the disease process of Parkinson’s and is not to be taken lightly by either the caregiver or the patient. Sometimes it is a precursor to other symptoms but it can appear at any time. In fact, more than half of people with Parkinson’s are thought to experience depression at some point. Depression is characterized by a change in the way you interact with friends and relatives, a disinterest in things you once enjoyed, a feeling of hopelessness, fatigue, losing or gaining weight, sleep changes, anger, self loathing and reckless behavior. You may have only one or two of these symptoms and if you do, I can assure you there is no shame.It’s not your fault and it isn’t indicative of some personal failing. Talk to your doctor immediately because he or she can prescribe a number of medications and treatments that will provide relief. A neuropsychiatric specialist can also be consulted.
- Anxiety is characterized by feelings of panic, fear or uneasiness, problems sleeping, cold or sweaty or numb/tingling hands or feet, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, an inability to be still or calm, or dry mouth. Again, your doctor can help you manage your anxiety.
- In a 2007 study published in Movement Disorders, researchers found that pulmonary dysfunction occurred in patients with PD, even in early stages. Women with rigidity were particularly susceptible. Upper airway obstruction may be significant in PD and can worsen during sleep resulting in sleep apnea. Tests that measure how well your lungs are functioning, breathing exercises and regular chest physiotherapy is recommended for all in people with Parkinson’s. Levadopa is likely to reduce breathing difficulties in some but not all patients. A pulmonologist can be consulted if necessary.