Levodopa or L-Dopa

The drug levodopa, also known as L-dopa, has been used since the 1960s as the primary drug treatment for Parkinson’s Disease. Levodopa is a natural substance that is found in both plants and animals. The compound is actually a precursor to dopamine, and unlike dopamine, it is able to cross the blood-brain barrier. As a result, when given to people with Parkinson’s, levodopa is converted into dopamine by nerve cells in the brain.

Parkinsons Disease Medications

Parkinson’s Disease results from the dopamine producing neurons in the substantia nigra becoming damaged or destroyed. An obvious treatment is to supplement the missing dopamine with medication. Unfortunately, treatment with dopamine itself isn’t possible, because dopamine doesn’t cross the body’s blood-brain barrier. The tightly packed cells in the walls of the brain’s capillaries prevent certain substances from crossing into the brain, including dopamine. As a result, dopamine cannot be directly administered to a patient to boost their dopamine levels to reduce or reverse the effects of Parkinsons.

Lifestyle Changes for Parkinsons Sufferers

Physical therapy and lifestyle changes should be looked on as the front-line defense against Parkinson’s. When physical therapy and lifestyle changes are not enough to combat or reduce the effects of Parkinson’s, your doctor will likely recommend certain medications, either alone or in combination. Eventually, as the disease progresses, a surgical procedure may be required. Healthy Eating A healthy diet and regular exercise are beneficial treatments for many health issues, and Parkinsons is no exception to this rule.

Environmental Causes of Parkinsons Disease

Up until this point, researchers have not been able to link any specific herbicide or pesticide component to the disease. Still, current research would indicate that those with extended exposure to certain herbicides and pesticides are more likely to develop Parkinson’s than people who don’t have this same level of exposure. Researchers have also found a genetic variance that appears to make people more likely to develop Parkinson’s if they are exposed to certain pesticides.

Genetic Causes of Parkinsons Disease

A person’s genetic make up can directly determine chances of the onset and development of Parkinsons. Current research suggests that people with a family history of Parkinsons are more likely to develop Parkinsons themselves. It is rare however, for multiple people in a family to suffer from Parkinsons. For example, if you have two or more close relatives (parent, child, or sibling, etc) with Parkinson’s, then your risk of also developing the disease is increased two or three times.

Causes of Parkinsons Disease

First described in 1817 by Dr. James Parkinson in his paper, “An Essay on the Shaking Palsy”, since then Parkinsons Disease has been the focus of much research in order to understand some of the processes of this complex condition. Dopamine is a chemical released by cells in the substantia nigra section of the brain. This chemical transmits signals between the nerve cells in this part of the brain and the corpus striatum, another section of the brain.

Parkinsons Disease Defined

Parkinson’s Disease is part of a bigger group of neurological conditions known as motor system disorders. Parkinson’s is a disorder affecting nerve cells (neurons) in the part of the brain controlling muscle movement. After Alzheimers Disease, Parkinsons Disease is the most common neuro-degenerative disease to affect the human race. Parkinsons Disease is characterized by: trembling, muscle rigidity, difficulty walking, and, problems with balance and coordination. Parkinson’s Disease mostly develops in people after the age of 50, but the disease also affects a small percentage of younger people as well.

Alzheimers Disease History

Named after Alois Alzheimers, German psychologist, Alzheimers disease gives the impression of being a disease of the twentieth century; however, the various disorders which comprise the disease have probably existed for centuries. This disease is named for Dr. Alzheimer, but his colleague Emil Kraepelin was just as important in the discovery of the disease. Kraepelin isolated and grouped together the symptoms of the disorder, and Alzheimer formulated what was actually occurring.