What is Parkinson’s disease?
Parkinson’s disease, also known as Paralysis agitans or shaking palsy, is serious chronic disease of the nervous system. It is characterized by stiffness of muscles and a continuous tremor or shake. It is a disease of the extra-pyramidal system. Parkinson’s disease is results from the degeneration of dopamine producing nerve cells in the brain, specifically in the substantia nigra and the locus coeruleus. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that stimulates motor neurons, those nerve cells that control the muscles. When dopamine production is depleted, the motor system nerves are unable to control movement and coordination.
Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms
The description of the disease originally given by Dr. James Parkinson of Shored itch in 1817 is as follows: ‘Involuntary tremulous motion, which lessened muscular power, in parts not in action and even when supported, with a propensity to bend the trunk forwards, and to pass from a walking to a running pace, the senses and intellect being uninjured’. The patient shows a combination of tremor of the limbs and muscular stiffness. These tremors are more noticeable when the patient is at rest, and tend to disappear when he attempts to move or when he is asleep. The tremors are more pronounced, when he is excited or fatigued.
Older patients occasionally exhibit involuntary rapid jerking movements of their arms and legs. In a less extreme form the condition presents as purposeless mastication and lip smacking movements. The condition is embarrassing both to the patient and his relatives, but; is not associated with mental impairment and rarely causes severe incapacity.
Later, there may be impairment of speech, and the patient may complain of cramping pains in the back because of muscle spasm. His mind usually remains clear, and his other sensations are normal. In many cases, the patient may have only a mild form of Parkinson’s disease and continue this way for many years before any serious symptoms develop. In severe and advanced cases, however, the patient is not able to move, and presents a distressing spectacle, for his mind may be uninjured while he cannot speak or write. Some of the common sign and symptoms of Parkinson’s disease includes :
- Slowness in voluntary movement such as standing up, walking, and sitting down.
- Poor Balance – happens because of the loss of reflexes that help posture.
- Excessive sweating or salivation.
- Rigidity or stiffness in the muscles.
- Other symptoms include slurred speech, slowness of thought etc.
Parkinson’s Disease Causes
The brain changes that lead to parkinsonism are not fully understood. It, however, appears that they involve the nerve cells containing melanin, the pigment that gives skin its color. These cells, called substantia nigra, are concentrated in the part of the brain called the basal ganglia. As the cells deteriorate, production of dopamine a chemical that carries messages within the brain falls, and the result is the characteristic symptoms.
Parkinson’s disease may follow severe attacks of encephalitis or some type of poisoning, such as carbon monoxide. In older patients, this type of palsy may be due to hardening of the arteries in certain vessels leading to the brain. In most cases, however, the disease begins to show itself in later middle age, and is considered to be a consequence of ‘degeneration’, particularly in the basal ganglia.
Parkinson’s disease may also result from deficiency of antioxidant Vitamin E earlier in life. According to Dr Lawrence Golbe, M.D., a neurologist at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, too little Vitamin E foods earlier in life may somehow leave the brain vulnerable to the onset of Parkinson’s years later. In most cases the cause of Parkinson’s disease, is unknown.
Home Remedies for Parkinson’s Disease
- Use of GNC Vitamin E, Capsules in daily life is considered beneficial in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.
- Take larkspur about 20 grams in 4 cups of boiling water, do not drink more than 3 cups a day, a mouthful at a time.
- Lady’s slipper is good for tremors, especially in debilitated conditions; it clears depression.
- Practice bending, stretching, and breathing exercises.
- Work out the Calisthenics exercise.
- Sesame seeds and sesame seed butter can be taken with beneficial results.