Parkinson’s Disease

by Dr. Lorin Bradbury

Question: Can you discuss what the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are, what natural remedies can be taken to ward it off or at least postpone the inevitable, and what type of diet one can follow to lead a healthy life despite being diagnosed with the disease?

This is not an area in which I have much experience, but I will share what I know. It’s possible that what I do know may be dated. Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that impairs motor skills, cognitive processes, and other functions.

The three key signs of Parkinson’s disease are tremor (shaking) at rest, rigidity, and slowness in the initiation of movement. Of these three symptoms, only two are required to make the diagnosis. A fourth symptom is postural instability, but it happens late in the disease, usually after having Parkinson’s disease for eight or more years. Though the onset of Parkinson’s disease can occur at a younger age, the usual age of onset is around 60 years.

Four subtypes of Parkinson’s disease have been identified according to their origin: (1) primary or idiopathic (no known origin), (2) secondary or acquired, (3) hereditary parkinsonism, and (4) parkinson-plus syndromes (other neurodegenerative diseases with parkinson-like symptoms).

I am unable to answer your question concerning natural remedies to ward off Parkinson’s disease, or postpone the symptoms, as it’s outside my scope of training and practice. I would suggest you discuss that with your physician.

Concerning the type of diet to eat if you have Parkinson’s disease, I have listed below some basic suggestions.

• Eat a variety of foods from each food category.

• Ask your doctor if you should take a daily vitamin supplement.

• Maintain your weight through a proper balance of exercise and food.

• Include high-fiber foods in your diet.

• Choose foods low in saturated fat and cholesterol.

• Try to limit sugars.

• Moderate your use of salt.

• Drink eight 8 oz. glasses of water per day.

• Caution: Alcohol may interfere with some of your medications.

I would like to emphasize that if you have any symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, please see a physician, and don’t try treating it yourself with home remedies. The sooner you get proper treatment, the better the potential outcome.

Lorin L. Bradbury, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Bethel. For appointments, he can be reached at 543-3266. If you have questions that you would like Dr. Bradbury to answer in the Delta Discovery, please send them to The Delta Discovery, P.O. Box 1028, Bethel, AK 99559, or e-mail them to [email protected]

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