Parkinson’s disease is an incurable and persistent progressive movement disorder in which the vital nerve cells of a person’s brain start malfunctioning and may even die. Most of the nerve cells – neurons die in the substantia nigra of the brain and produce a chemical called dopamine. This chemical affects that part of our brain which is responsible for coordination and movement. As the disease progresses, less dopamine is produced and the patient is unable to control his movement. Thus, the disease becomes worse over time.
What are the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease?
A person suffering from Parkinson’s disease shows the following symptoms:
• Shaking and trembling of hands, legs, arms, face and jaws
• Weak sense of smell
• Inability to get sound sleep
• Rigidity of trunk and limbs
• Coordination and balancing problems
• Inability to write properly
• Changes in voice
• Frequent dizziness
• Postural problems
What are the causes of Parkinson’s disease?
Although the exact cause of Parkinson’s is not known but scientists believe that it is a combination of various genetic and environmental factors. Gene mutations, especially in the LRRK2 gene is the most common cause of genetically contracted Parkinson’s disease. Intake of certain drugs which contain a substance called MPTP also leads to Parkinson’s disease.
Life after Parkinson’s
Living with Parkinson’s disease is very difficult. Not being able to do small everyday tasks for oneself is really frustrating. Nobody wants to be dependent on anyone else. The stiffness in the limbs and muscles really makes simple tasks very tough for the patient. The patient might not even be able to take a bath on his own or face difficulty while dressing up. Most patients with Parkinson’s disease also suffer from constipation since decreased amount of dopamine also affects the gastrointestinal system.
A lot of research has been done in this field but doctors have not been able to find a cure for this disease as yet but one can certainly make some efforts to delay the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
Here are some home remedies to delay the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease:
1. Regular exercise and stretching – One of the easiest things you can do to ease your life is exercise. Regular exercise can help a patient to manage Parkinson’s as it allows the muscles to be flexible. You would need to do certain flexibility exercises so that you can attend to your daily chores without much difficulty. Stretch your hands while sitting in a chair. Stretch your legs and stomp your feet. Regular exercise and stretching will help to improve your strength, posture and balance. To begin with, you can go for a small walk around your garden and also look after your plants. This will help to divert your attention elsewhere.
2. Join water aerobics – Since patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease mostly face balancing problems and stiffness of their limbs, a sport such as water aerobics or swimming will be of utmost help to them. Join either of the two and you will really enjoy these in a group. Not only will it help to make your body flexible but also provide you the much needed motivation and emotional support. Conventional exercises have a risk and you can fall but in case of water aerobics, the risk is reduced. It offers the same benefits as any other form of exercise.
3. Practice gait training – Gait training is of utmost importance for a person with Parkinson’s. Gait training helps you to balance yourself in difficult situations and also prevents you from falling. Avoid walking too quickly. While you walk, keep your feet at least 10 inches apart so that your body weight is equally distributed. Wear comfortable shoes, preferably without a rubber sole as it gets stuck to the floor and can make you fall. Avoid carrying any weight while you walk. While walking, make a conscious effort to make your heel touch the floor first.
4. Eat less proteins – A low protein diet can help to manage Parkinson’s better. If you eat too many proteins, your body will not be able to absorb an important Parkinson’s medicine – levedopa in sinemet. Your daily protein intake should not be more than 12% of your diet. Most doctors also recommend patients to avoid some foods which can cause interference with the absorption of medicines. These include red wine, aged cheese, beer, soy products, fermented cabbage and dried meats. Eat lots of fiber in the form of fruits and veggies since they help to prevent constipation. Drink lots of water and consume foods that contain Omega-3 fatty acids.
5. Take green tea – If you like the taste of green tea, then you must drink about 2 cups a day to manage Parkinson’s disease. Green tea contains various polyphenols and antioxidants. Research has shown that the polyphenols present in green tea have a neuroprotective effect and they can render some help in treating Parkinson’s disease.
6. Do Tai chi – Tai chi can help you to manage Parkinson’s disease. Tai Chi has numerous benefits for your health. As it is an exercise of low impact, tai chi is beneficial for people of all ages. This ancient Chinese tradition not only helps you to de-stress but also increases your flexibility and improves your balance. Tai chi is especially useful for those individuals who usually do not like to exercise. The most advantageous thing about tai chi is that it doesn’t require any equipment and so it doesn’t require any extra expenses. It helps to enhance stability while walking and also helps to maintain balance.
7. Make changes in your home – Make your home comfortable. Ensure that the flooring is not slippery. The furniture should be placed such that the patient doesn’t have to make too many turns. Do not place foot mats that are slippery. They should get stuck to the floor. Put handrails on the staircase and wherever possible to assist the patient in walking. Extensions on the toilets can be of immense help.
Just follow our simple home remedies make your life simpler.