Parkinson's Disease

This disease is characterised by a premature ageing of certain brain cells which are responsible for our movement. It mostly affects the elderly.

What to look for

the disease takes hold slowly, beginning with a sense of weakness and a slight tremor of the head or hands, then gradually progressing to more generalised symptoms. These can include:

  • slow, jerky movements; a shuffling gait; and stooped posture.

  • unsteady balance.

  • continuous movement of the thumb and forefinger as if the person was rolling something between the thumb and fingers.

  • obscure speech.

  • swallowing problems.

  • in severe cases, rigid trunk and limbs; fixed facial expression and unblinking, staring eyes.

Parkinson's disease mostly affects older people. The first signs are likely to be barely noticeable, a weak or stiff limb, perhaps, or a fine trembling of one hand when it is at rest. Usually this worsens over time. Depression and other mental or emotional problems are common.

Usually the disorder begins between the ages of 50 and 65. Medication is often helpful in treating the symptoms and the condition is not life threatening usually.

Causes

In most instances, Parkinson’s disease is caused by untimely ageing of brain cells. These cells normally coordinate the muscle activity which allows us to perform specific types of movement. This allows us to do such things as swing our arms when we walk, move our facial muscles and in the positioning of limbs before we stand up or walk. Problems happen when the brain cells that allow the body to perform these tasks die off prematurely.

Traditional Treatment

Most treatments aim at restoring the proper balance of the brain cells affected by this disorder. Drugs are the standard way of doing this, but neurosurgeons have had some success with experiments involving operative procedures.

Symptoms can be effectively controlled for years with medication.

Some treatments focus on the effects of the disorder rather than the causes. Physiotherapists may be able to help with muscle strength and body alignment.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Conventional medicines are widely acknowledged as the best treatments for Parkinson's disease. However, many of the alternative therapies mentioned below can be very helpful for relieving symptoms or easing tight muscles. Always talk to your doctor first.

Body Work -  Massage has had good results with Parkinson’s patients.

Yoga is an ideal form of exercise for Parkinson's patients because of its slow movements.

Chinese Herbs -  Taken several times a day, combinations that include rhubarb (Rheum palmatum), peony (Paeonia officinalis), liquorice (Glycyrrhiza uralensis), and magnolia bark (Magnolia officinalis) are said to stop tremors and relax stiff muscles. Because using Chinese herbs is complicated, You will need professional advice for correct dosages. Taken several times a day, combinations that include rhubarb (Rheum palmatum), peony (Paeonia officinalis), liquorice (Glycyrrhiza uralensis), and magnolia bark (Magnolia officinalis) are said to stop tremors and relax stiff muscles. Because using Chinese herbs is complicated, You will need professional advice for correct dosages.

Herbal Therapies - Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) has been shown to reduce tremor when taken in combination with levodopa. Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) has been shown to reduce tremor when taken in combination with levodopa.

Daily doses of evening primrose oil (Oenothera biennis) may reduce tremors.

Homoeopathy - A trained homoeopath might prescribe a single remedy, a series, or a combination of remedies for the many different symptoms of Parkinson's. A trained homoeopath might prescribe a single remedy, a series, or a combination of remedies for the many different symptoms of Parkinson's.

Dietary Considerations

See your doctor who will be able to speak with you about an appropriate diet. Also supplements such as B complex, E, Choline, Inositol, Magnesium, Calcium, Potassium and Ginseng.  See Our Viatmins and Herbs Page

Avoid spicy foods.

Personal Care

Look at appropriate furniture and fittings that will make it easier for the Parkinson’s patient to move around.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you suspect either yourself or a friend or family member has the disease.