Parkinson’s disease is a movement disorder. It affects the nervous system, and symptoms become worse over time. Other movement disorders include cerebral palsy, ataxia, and Tourette syndrome. They happen when a change in the nervous system affects a person’s ability to move or stay still.
What is Parkinson's disease?
The symptoms of Parkinson's disease develop gradually. They often start with a slight tremor in one hand and a feeling of stiffness in the body. Over time, other symptoms develop, and some people will have dementia. Most of the symptoms result from a fall in dopamine levels in the brain. One study, based in France, found in 2015 that men are 50 percent more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than women overall, but the risk for women appears to increase with age. In most people, symptoms appear at the age of 60 years or over. However in 5-10% of cases they appear earlier. When Parkinson’s disease develops before the age of 50 years, this is called “early-onset” Parkinson’s disease.
Early signs: Here are some early signs of Parkinson’s disease:
Other common symptoms include:
Many people think that the early signs of Parkinson’s are normal signs of aging. For this reason, they may not seek help. However, treatment is more likely to be effective if a person takes it early in the development of Parkinson’s disease. For this reason, it is important to get an early diagnosis if possible. If treatment does not start until the person has clear symptoms, it will not be as effective. Moreover, a number of other conditions can have similar symptoms. These include:
The similarity to other conditions can make it hard for doctors to diagnose Parkinson’s disease in the early stages. Movement symptoms may start on one side of the body and gradually affect both sides.
How to prevent this disease?
It is not possible to prevent Parkinson’s disease, but research has shown that some lifelong habits may help to reduce the risk.
Turmeric: This spice contains curcumin, an antioxidant ingredient. It may help to prevent the clumping of a protein involved in Parkinson’s disease, at least one laboratory study has found.
Flavonoids: Consuming another type of antioxidant — flavonoids — may lower the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, according to research. Flavonoids are present in berries, apples, some vegetables, tea, and red grapes.
Avoiding reheated cooking oils: Scientists have included toxic chemicals, known as aldehydes, to Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases, and some cancers.
Parkinson’s disease is a lifelong condition that involves neurological changes in the body. These changes can make it harder for a person to function in daily life. However, medications and other types of therapy are available for treating Parkinson’s disease and reducing the symptoms. Current treatment can relieve symptoms, but scientists hope that gene therapy or stem cell therapy will one day be able to do more than this, and restore function that the person has already lost.
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