An Overview of Parkinson's Disease
Parkinson's disease is a progressive neurological disorder that affects the brain and central nervous system. The disease primarily affects movement. Recent statistics show that approximately one in 100 people over the age of 60 have been diagnosed with the disease. Some adolescents and young adults show signs of the disorder, known as early onset Parkinson's disease. Research indicates that more than five million people worldwide are afflicted with Parkinson's. Although the cause is not known, researchers have determined that certain risk factors including chemical agents, environmental conditions and genetics may contribute to the onset of symptoms.
Signs, Symptoms and Causes
Parkinson's disease develops slowly. Early symptoms include mild tremors, usually in one hand, then eventually progressing to both hands, as well as the arms and legs. Slurred speech, muscle rigidity and impaired balance can occur as the disease progresses. Arms may not swing or move naturally when walking, resulting in pronounced balance impairment. Bradykinesia, also known as slowed movement can make simple tasks, such as opening a door difficult. As the disease progresses, rigid muscles can cause a slowness in walking, due to stiffness affecting most parts of the body. Many people with advanced Parkinson's use assistive devices for mobility. Driving may become difficult or virtually impossible due to loss of function in the lower legs and feet. Balance problems become more pronounced as the disease progresses.
There is no known cure for Parkinson's disease. Scientific studies have shown that high levels of oxidative stress are caused by Parkinson's disease, causing a negative impact on cognitive function and memory retention. High levels of oxidative stress also speeds the progression of the disease and significantly increases cell death in the brain and central nervous system.
Progression and Prognosis
Parkinson's disease causes neurons in the brain, known as nerve cells to malfunction or die. Cellular death causes a loss of vital neurons in the brain, resulting in disruptions in the production and transmission of the chemical dopamine. Decreased levels of dopamine causes abnormal brain activity, often leading to the initial symptoms associated with Parkinson's disease. As the disease worsens, cognitive and psychological disorders become severe. People with Parkinson's disease may experience difficulty forming clear thoughts and may have difficulty expressing themselves. As brain cells continue to die, anxiety, depression, memory loss and dementia can occur.
Parkinson's disease is chronic, progressive and debilitating in its late stages. Symptoms worsen significantly over time, usually resulting in total and permanent disability. Advanced stages of the disease can cause dementia and irreversible memory loss.
In the late stages of Parkinson's disease, gastrointestinal, bowel, and digestive disorders are common. Many people are surgically implanted with feeding tubes in order to receive adequate nutrition. Sleep disturbances, fatigue and lethargy often lead to serious depression and thoughts of suicide. Parkinson's disease can also affect cardiovascular function. Rapid fluctuations in blood pressure can lead to heart attack or stroke.
The Role of Glutathione in Parkinson's Disease
Glutathione, the body's natural antioxidant works by cleansing and removing dangerous toxins from bodily cells. The natural detoxification process prevents free radicals from destroying healthy cells. Glutathione has been shown to prevent and reduce some of the early symptoms of Parkinson' disease, Scientific studies indicate that low levels of glutathione are linked to the development and progression of the disease. Low levels of glutathione causes oxidative stress and an accumulation of unwanted proteins, both of which can lead to cellular death. A rapid increase in proteins in the brain can cause an inflammatory response, or swelling in the brain, thought to be one of the causes of Parkinson's disease. The role of glutathione in the prevention of Parkinson's disease is mainly in the prevention of genetic cellular damage and the repair of damaged cells.
Intravenous infusions of glutathione have been shown to be effective in managing the early and advanced symptoms of Parkinson's disease. Data from recent clinical trials have demonstrated the effectiveness of intravenous glutathione therapy. Intravenous treatments may provide substantial improvement in balance, gait, motor coordination, as well as alleviate symptoms of depression, anxiety, fatigue and cognitive disorders. High levels of glutathione can penetrate brain and central nervous system cells, preventing cellular destruction or death in the midbrain area of the brain, which is responsible for movement, muscle coordination and balance.
Clinical research performed by Dr. David Perlmuller found that glutathione levels in people diagnosed with Parkinson's disease were reduced by approximately 40 percent and oxidized glutathione levels were increased by close to 29 percent. His studies, soon to be published in a major medical journal, also indicated that oxidative stress may be associated with cellular death in people diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.
A 2009 research study found that Parkinson's patients receiving intravenous infusions of glutathione showed some improvement in symptoms compared to placebo or other study medications. Although low levels of glutathione seem to be associated with the progression and severity of Parkinson's disease, researchers cannot yet determine if low levels of glutathione actually cause the disease.
If you or a loved one is suffering from Parkinson's disease, your doctor may be able to provide important information concerning the role of glutathione in the treatment and management of symptoms associated with the disease. Intravenous glutathione has become a popular and effective treatment for Parkinson's disease, even though the risks and benefits are not yet understood.