Dr. Victor Deeriks
Dr. Victor Dieriks is a Principal Investigator at the University of Auckland School of Medicine and Health Sciences.
health and science
If you think Parkinson’s disease only affects older people, think again. There are lifestyle changes.
Parkinson’s disease is the fastest growing chronic neurological disease in the world. Currently, 10 million people have Parkinson’s disease, and the number of people diagnosed is increasing each year. The rate of early-onset Parkinson’s disease diagnosed before the age of 50 is rising even more rapidly. Some patients are diagnosed in their 20s.
Parkinson’s disease is caused by a complex interplay of genetics and environment. About 15% of people with Parkinson’s disease have an underlying genetic link. Certain genetic mutations make people more susceptible to brain damage and more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease early in life. Genetics only explains part of the equation. Studies have shown that the onset of symptoms can differ dramatically when comparing identical twins with identical mutations.
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The biggest threats are air pollution and exposure to pesticides, metals, bacteria and viruses. Prolonged exposure to large amounts of metal particles in mines and in paraquat, one of the most widely used herbicides in the world, is directly linked to Parkinson’s disease. As such, higher prevalence is found among miners and farmers.
Researchers have long speculated that bacterial and viral infections do more harm than is observed during acute infection. not considered. Several findings show a direct link with Parkinson’s disease. The most striking is the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic that killed millions worldwide. Those who survived had ongoing health problems. Almost all Spanish flu patients who had acute encephalitis (swelling and damage of the brain during infection) with the influenza virus developed viral parkinsonism.
Age is the most important risk factor for Parkinson’s disease. As we age and our bodies are exposed to these environmental factors, the brain accumulates damage.At a certain threshold it can no longer cope and Parkinson-related symptoms develop. The brain damage is mild at first, causing some cell death, but increases over time, causing loss of smell, constipation, and the gradual development of the characteristic motor dysfunction associated with Parkinson’s disease. .
Just as exposure to toxic environmental factors determines your risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, minimizing your exposure can reduce these risks. It reduces damage and dramatically reduces the chance of developing Parkinson’s disease.
eat well. The gut microbiota is profoundly affected in Parkinson’s disease, and the gut-brain connection is well established. Avoid processed foods as they are known to alter your microbiome. What’s more, what you eat directly affects your energy, mood, and brain health.
caffeine. Drinking coffee and tea has been associated with a lower risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. More specifically, it reduces brain inflammation and improves neuronal function. How many cups do you need? The association with coffee intake reached a maximum of about 2-3 cups of coffee per day. Be careful not to drink your coffee too late. Otherwise, the next point, sleep, will be disturbed.
sleep. Adequate sleep (7-9 hours) is essential for processing impressions and preserving memories. It plays an important role in boosting our immune health and helps get rid of unwanted protein clumps that damage the brain. It is toxic for
exercise. What is good for the body is also good for the brain. Regular exercise increases brain cell health and reduces age-related changes. It increases essential hormones and neurotransmitters in the brain, affecting motor control, neuron production and well-being. Regular physical training is not only important in preventing Parkinson’s disease.
For people with Parkinson’s disease, training 2-3 times a week slows the rate of decline and helps them live healthier and longer. This effect can be seen by measuring brain size in Parkinson’s disease patients. When you exercise, your brain contracts less and new connections form in the damaged areas. In this way, the brain is like a muscle. When trained, it grows more robust and efficient.
Eating well, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep may not be as easy as taking pills every day, but these simple changes are your best bet if you don’t want to get Parkinson’s. .