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Effect of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Disease on Human Body

The neurological diseases of Alzheimer and Parkinson are both caused by damaged brain cells. This condition results in dementia, depression, anxiety and sleep disturbances. Psychotic symptoms such as delusions and hallucinations may also occur in both conditions.

The disease of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s may share certain causes and effects, but they are different. They have different effects on the brain and unique ways of progression.Both disorders have different consequences, different manifestations and progress at different rates.

What is Parkinson’s?

 

Parkinson’s affects dopamine-causing brain cells, a significant chemical for the brain that involves the communication of nerve cells. Dopamine is released in substantia nigra, a basal ganglia structure located in the midbrain.this region is crucial for reward and movement. While cognitive problems with Parkinson can occur, they are generally more physical problems. These include tremors, changes in posture or changes in the patterns and expressions of the face may include these.

The brain circuit responsible for controlling rhythm and movement gets affected by Parkinson’s. This causes motor coordination problems especially related to initiating movement, consecutive movement, and slowness of movement. Parkinson’s development takes place in “Five Stages” over the years. 

  • Stage One: It’s mild initially and does not affect a person’s daily activities much.

 

  • Stage Two: Tremors and other movement issues become more pronounced.

 

  • Stage Three: Also called mid-stage, maintaining a body balance becomes an issue coupled with decreased reflexes. Also other symptoms are similar to stage 2. The movements become slower and falls become more prominent.

 

  • Stage Four: It is advisable for people with Parkinson’s of stage 4 to not live alone because of significant decreases in movement and reaction times

 

  • Stage Five: It is the advanced stage of Parkinson’s. Advanced stiffness in the legs can also cause freezing upon standing, making it impossible to stand or walk. People in this stage require wheelchairs, and they’re often unable to stand on their own without falling. Around-the-clock assistance is required to prevent falls.

 

Although Parkinson has no “cure,” it is considered to be a highly treatable condition. Many Parkinson patients still lead productive, self-sufficient lives for several years with early diagnosis.

Does Parkinson’s Cause Dementia

The symptom of cognitive decline is common to both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Parkinson’s does not always cause dementia because cognitive decline is less in Parkinson’s. Studies have shown around 50% of people with Parkinson’s develop cognitive impairment, ranging from mild forgetfulness to full-blown dementia.

Parkinson’s dementia occurs in the “subcortical” and Alzheimer’s dementia occurs in the “cortical” region of the brain. Therefore, the clinical symptoms of these two dementias are somewhat different. 

Parkinson’s Dementia vs. Alzheimer’s Dementia

 

Parkinson’s dementia can cause physical activity impairment and impact the motor skills, as per the experts. Two neurotransmitters, called dopamine and serotonin (chemicals produced by brain cells) are usually damaged by parkinson.

This form of dementia can also cause slow thinking and memory problems, as well as cause movement and coordination problems . However, this is  less pronounced until the later stages of the disease.

Two types of brain protein-tangles (tau) and plaques (beta amyloid), builds up and kill brain cells in case of Alzheimer’s. Memory, clear thoughts, language skills, and orientation are affected by  Alzheimer’s dementia. It reduces the ability to understand, learn and evaluate. The retention of new data and memory is affected more than motor skills.

To establish the best approach to treatment, it is important to distinguish between these neurodegenerative conditions. One condition medication can create problems if administered to a patient with the other condition  administered.

7 Ways to Decrease the Risk of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s

 

No “cure” for either disease currently exists. Parkinson’s disease is however considered to be more treatable, particularly in early stages of the disease. Medicines, physical therapy and lifestyle changes like dietary changes are part of treatments. Research continues to indicate that both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s can be prevented by a brain-healthy lifestyle. Here are some basic guidelines:

  1. Nutritious Diet: Diets with fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains, olive oil, beans, fish , poultry and dairy can protect against cardiovascular disease, diabetes , and cancer, and promote cognitive health. These diets promote cognitive health by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress. The risks of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson ‘s disease can be mitigated. Keep away from processed meats and saturated fat like butter and heavy cream. Sugar may also lead to unhealthy weight gain as it is inflammatory in nature.
  2. Fitness and exercise: A moderate exercise for 30 mins, 3-4 days a week is the best preventive measure.  Building an exercising routine is beneficial in the long run for both brain and body. The  exercise can be like badminton, swimming, cycling or walking etc.
  3. Get a good night’s sleep: Studies have shown that insomnia and sleep quality affect brain and overall well-being in significant manner. The recommended sleep timings are 7 to 8 hours.
  4. Control stress and hypertension:  Stress can lead to vascular dementia and to additional health risks. When Hypertension is controlled ,  cognitive decline is also protected. Yoga, meditation, and deep breathing is also of help.  you can  also relax in the garden or listen to relaxing music. Emotional well-being improves your fitness.
  5. Engage in social interaction: Experts believe social participation supports healthy longevity and can help prevent many diseases. Interacting with family and friends, participating in community activities and learning can keep mind engaged. Being alone and in solitary confinement can lead to depression and cognitive decline.
  6. Ensure mental stimulation: It is always important to engage in mentally enhancing activities. Crossword puzzles, books and other brain games and card games all actively stimulate the brain.   An active mind and active body helps to maintain a healthy brain.
  7. Music therapy:  The music therapy has long been suggested for dementia patients. This helps to manage stress and promotes wellness and healing. Listening to music, singing, even dancing or just tapping the feet and clapping the hands can be emotionally and physically rewarding. 

Following the above steps you can keep your mental health in check. By taking care of yourself first, you will be able to take care of your loved ones too.

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