Plenty Of Potential For Preventing Parkinson’s

2010-07-03 |

As the second most common degenerative disease of the mind, Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is something that most of us have seen in an elderly relative or friend. The disease often brings to mind thoughts of shaky, slow moving elderly folks who look very frail. The condition is relatively common and considerable ongoing research is working toward understanding the degenerative disease. In the meantime, however, prevention is increasingly possible based on an understanding of the risks associated with the condition.

What Is Parkinson’s Disease And Who Is Affected?

Though often described as a single disease, Parkinson’s disease is actually the name of a group of related conditions with similar symptoms. People with the condition typically suffer from physical symptoms such as muscle rigidity, tremors and slowed movements. Mental issues include depression, changes in behavior and memory problems.

Roughly 80% of people with Parkinson’s are over the age of 60. Of the 20% remaining, 5 to 10% of those who develop the disease do so under age 40 with another 5 to 10% developing the disease between 40 and 50. By the age of 80, roughly 1 in 20 people are affected by Parkinson’s. Overall, men have a 50% higher risk of developing the disease than women.

What are the causes of Parkinson’s Disease?

In the last two decades, medical science has determined that Parkinson’s is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Several genetic mutations associated with the disease have been identified. As well accumulations of particles in the brain have been observed as a part of the disease.

In one case, the accumulation of iron particles causes excess free radicals that kill brain cells. In another case, it is the presence of a specific protein in the brain that kills brain cells. Ultimately, however, it is destruction of specific cells related to the brain communication chemical dopamine that causes the development of Parkinson’s disease.

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Category: Disease Prevention, Health Risks, Medical Research, Symptom Information

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