Parkinson’s disease

Being a progressive, degenerative neurological condition, Parkinson’s disease affects a person’s body movement control. This includes walking, talking as well as writing. However, it is not contagious or fatal which means a person cannot die from Parkinson’s symptoms. For a very small percentage of cases, the disease is thought to be genetic in. In Australia, it’s estimated that approximately four people per 1,000 have Parkinson’s disease, cases increasing to one in 100 over the age of 60. There are approximately 219,000 people in Australia who live with Parkinson’s disease, with one in five of them being diagnosed before the age of 50. In the state of Victoria, there are more than 80,000 people living with Parkinson’s.

Possible Symptoms

Parkinson’s disease often starts on one side of the body first and later affects both sides. Shaking or muscle tremors is one of the main symptoms and this one of the first symptoms in three-quarters of people afflicted with Parkinson’s disease. Most of the time, it starts in the hand with circular movements in the thumb and forefinger. This disease could also impact your legs and arms. Sometimes, it may even affect your head and jaw. The tremor is most obvious when you are at rest. However, it is reduced when you are moving or sleeping.

Stiffness or rigidity is another symptom. This makes your limbs feel difficult to move. An inability to move or low movement is a common sight in individuals with Parkinson’s disease. For instance, walking may start with a hesitant step, followed by a shuffle without swinging the arms. Symptoms that could show as different muscles become affected include:

  • Issues with posture and balance

  • Problems with swallowing

  • Speech changes (for instance: speech may become soft or unvaried)

  • Loss of facial expression (for example: reduced ability to smile, frown or slow blinking)

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    Western Medicine View

    As of now, there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease. However, there are a range of treatments to help control the symptoms and maintain quality of life. Drugs are the main treatment and there are several types which either increase the level of dopamine that reaches the brain, stimulate the parts of the brain where dopamine works or block the action of other chemicals that affect dopamine. Certain drugs may be used on their own or in combination to help the patient. However, it’s important to note that these have to be prescribed according to a patient’s needs. The type of drug prescribed, dose and times of the day taken are some aspects that are dependent on the individual’s condition.

    As Parkinson’s disease progresses and individual needs change, there are regular checks needed. To treat people who have had Parkinson’s disease for many years, surgical techniques are also sometimes used. However, this may not be suitable for everyone. Therapies such as physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, occupational therapy and self-help strategies can also play an important role in the management of Parkinson’s disease.

    Chinese Medicine View

    Parkinson’s disease comes under the symptom of Convulsions and is always related to Liver-Wind. The Principles of Medicine (1565) says: “Wind tremors are (caused by) Wind entering the Liver and the Qi of the channels rebelling upwards, this causes tics of the face and tremors of the limbs.”

    Chinese herbal treatment and Chinese Medicine theory acupuncture can be combined to control and slow down the progress of Parkinson’s disease. The sooner the treatment is started after its onset, the better the results. Herbal treatment and acupuncture may be given in conjunction with Western medication. After some weeks of treatment the drug’s dosage could be reduced. However, this should be done very gradually.

    Lifestyle Advice

    A deficiency in Kidney-Yin usually results in reduced nourishment of Liver-Yin. Long hours of work could weaken the kidneys over time, particularly Kidney Yin (in the Yin-Yang medical theory, Yin includes the cooling bodily liquids and cooling energy). In time, this may lead to the development of Liver-Wind which causes tremors. Excessive greasy-fried or sweet foods produce Phlegm. With time, especially when the person also consumes alcohol, Phlegm easily combines with Fire. Phlegm-Fire, when associated with Liver-Wind, (which it often is in old people) could cause Parkinson’s disease. Phlegm obstructs the channels as well as prevents fluids and blood from nourishing them. This results in the tremor. Emotional distress such as anger, frustration and resentment may cause Liver-Yang to rise. With time, this may lead to Liver-Wind and a lack of vital energy.

    So, go ahead and make an appointment with Long Life Health to know more information about how our team can help. Feel free to book online or call our clinic on 03 9375 2928 to book your treatment today. You can also drop us an email at info@longlifehealth.com.au.