Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson's disease is a progressive disorder of the central nervous system. It causes tremors (especially in the hands) and rigidity (especially in the face). The disease affects men and women equally, primarily after age 60. However, approximately 10 percent of those with the disease are under age 40. Although no cure for the disease is available at this time, drug therapy can help alleviate the symptoms.

Signs and Symptoms

Secondary symptoms may include the following.

What Causes It?

Parkinson's disease is caused by the loss of brain cells that produce the neurotransmitter (brain chemical) dopamine, which affects muscle activity. The brain's inability to produce enough of these cells may be due to environmental factors (such as toxins or viruses), heredity, certain other brain chemicals, the aging process, and heroin use.

What to Expect at Your Provider's Office

Since no test can positively identify Parkinson's, your provider will rely largely on interviews with you and your family. He or she may order brain scans to measure dopamine activity. Genetic testing may help identify a specific illness (like Huntington's disease) linked to the disease.

Treatment Options

Drug Therapies

Several drugs treat the symptoms of Parkinson's, but they do not cure the disease. It is quite common for your provider to change medications and adjust dosages. Certain drugs used for the treatment of other diseases, especially glaucoma, heart disease, and high blood pressure, can influence the treatment of Parkinson's disease.

Psychotherapy can help you cope with associated conditions such as depression. Speech, physical, and occupational therapy may help.

Complementary and Alternative Therapies

Alternative therapies may provide some relief of symptoms and slow the progression of the disease.

Nutrition Herbs
Herbs may be used as dried extracts (capsules, powders, teas), glycerites (glycerine extracts), or tinctures (alcohol extracts). Unless otherwise indicated, teas should be made with 1 tsp. herb per cup of hot water. Steep covered 5 to 10 minutes for leaf or flowers, and 10 to 20 minutes for roots. Drink 2 to 4 cups per day. Homeopathy
Usually, the dose is 3 to 5 pellets of a 12X to 30C remedy every one to four hours until your symptoms get better. Massage
May help with increasing circulation and decreasing muscle spasm.

Physical Medicine
Chelation therapy may be effective if the Parkinson's is due to heavy metal toxicity or environmental toxins.

May be helpful, particularly for the tremor involved.

Following Up

Since Parkinson's disease advances with time, you will need to be under constant medical care. Drug treatments often become less effective over time, and you must keep a close eye on your symptoms.

Special Considerations

Exercise will also help you improve mobility.


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