What is Parkinson's disease?

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Dopamine is synthesised in the basal ganglia cells in the brain. However, it can no longer be produced if these cells are destroyed. This deficit triggers the symptoms of Parkinson's disease.

 From a medical perspective, Parkinson’s disease can develop in one of two forms:

- Primary Parkinson's disease

- Secondary Parkinsonism


What is primary Parkinson's disease?

The motor neurons responsible for motor action require dopamine in order to function properly. Dopamine is produced in the basal ganglia cells of the brain. If these cells are destroyed, they can no longer produce dopamine, thus triggering the onset of Parkinson's disease. The destruction of these cells is apparently caused by a build-up of proteins that form what are known as Lewi bodies.


What is secondary Parkinson's disease?

Secondary Parkinsonism occurs in cases where the cells responsible for dopamine production are not destroyed but malfunction. This form of Parkinson's disease is usually due to a viral infection or a nervous system disease that causes damage to the cells responsible for dopamine production. Some medicinal products such as haloperidol can also cause this damage.


Prevention of Parkinson's disease

For several years, researchers have been investigating various ways to prevent Parkinson's disease or to delay its onset. Several hypotheses have been put forward:


Foods, substances and activities that afford protection against Parkinson's disease

- Unsaturated fatty acids and Omega 3: It has been proven that unsaturated fatty acids such as Omega 3 play a role in protecting the neuron membrane. Consuming them would therefore be one way of preventing neuron destruction and therefore of preventing the onset of Parkinson's disease.

- Vitamins: Certain vitamins, such as vitamin D and vitamin E, also appear to play a preventive role in Parkinson's disease. In fact, since vitamin E is a potent antioxidant, it tends to play an important role in protecting the body against Parkinson's disease.

- Other substances: Other substances such as caffeine, nicotine and ibuprofen, consumed in moderation, are also thought to be beneficial in preventing Parkinson's disease.

- Sport: It is now commonly accepted that a regular sporting activity can prevent motor disorders, symptomatic of Parkinson's disease.


Foods and substances that exacerbate Parkinson's disease

Parkinson's disease affects the brain. Certain harmful elements must be eradicated to keep the brain healthy. Free radicals, which have an oxidising effect on the cells, are known to initially cause brain degeneration. However, other polluting elements are also responsible for the destruction of nerve cells.


- Heavy metals originating from food, water or even airborne pollution.

- Sudden variations in glucose absorption by the brain.

- So-called "saturated" fatty acids in meat and dairy produce

- Alcohol

- Tobacco smoke

These results are encouraging and provide interesting channels for investigating the prevention of Parkinson's disease. Despite being incurable, the treatments administered for this condition are aimed at reducing the disorders generated, pending future advances in medical research.


Because elderly individuals with Parkinson's disease will invariably require assistance with activities of daily living, caregivers may soon be overwhelmed. Several retirement homes specialising in Parkinson's disease are now available to give respite to families and caregivers alike.


Because it is difficult to choose the right establishment, in the right place and at the right time, our elderly care advisors are always available to guide you through this process, free of charge. Do not hesitate to call us on 0203 608 0055. 

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