The One Show: Michael J. Fox on hopes to find Parkinsons cure
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Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a condition distinguished by limitations in movement and tremors, threatening the independence of sufferers. Researchers have uncovered a host of risk factors for the disease, with exposure to chemicals counted among them. One sign in your bowel movements could signal you’re at a fourfold risk of the condition.
Constipation is one of the most common symptoms linked to Parkinson’s disease, yet it may occur years before diagnosis.
According to some researchers, the risk is fourfold in patients who regularly experience constipation.
This connection is thought to be down to the improper functioning of the autonomic nervous system, which is responsible for regulating smooth muscle activity.
This in turn will have an effect on the intestinal tract, which is slowed down, causing constipation.
READ MORE: Parkinson’s disease: Key symptoms found in your feet and the way you walk – what to spot
Writing in the paper Gastrointestinal dysfunctions in Parkinson’s disease, researchers said: “In addition to its association with autonomic alterations and, in some cases, urologic impairment, constipation is linked to a 2.7 to 4.5-fold increase in the risk of suffering from PD.
“Constipation is usually defined as fewer than three bowel movements per week and straining to pass stools.”
To date, there is still uncertainty about the causes of the disease, so people are rarely studied before their symptoms appear.
Neurological studies have revealed deterioration in some of the systems in the brain that involve the dopamine neurotransmitter.
The dopamine neurotransmitter is responsible for movement.
Parkinson’s UK explains: “Bladder and bowel problems are common in men and women of all ages.”
“But people with Parkinson’s are more likely to have these problems than people who don’t have the condition.”
It is believed there are around 145,000 people in the UK living with Parkinson’s disease, but the condition cannot yet be slowed or cured.
Doctors are limited to prescribing drugs to relieve symptoms of PD.
Of the 10 million who suffer from the condition globally, however, about half will experience dyskinesias within five years of taking levodopa-based medication – the main drug of Parkinson’s.
Dyskinesias refers to involuntary, erratic, writhing movements of the face, arms, legs or trunk, which are a well-known complication from some Parkinson’s medications.
How to avoid Parkinson’s To date, preventive measures against Parkinson’s disease revolve mainly steering clear of risk factors.
And one known risk factor for Parkinson’s is exposure to toxins.
In fact, studies have identified both pesticides and household products as two contributory factors for the condition.
Opting for organic produce, which is untouched by insecticides, could help.
In fact, mounting research shows that eating a plant-based diet may lower the risk of the condition.
Another under-utilised measure to combat the condition is exercise, which could reduce the risk of the condition by up to 30 percent.
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