6 Surprising Ways to Reduce your Parkinson’s Risk

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​​Parkinson’s Awareness Month​ 

​​​​​​​ ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​CAREGiver for dementia and Alzheimer's disease client

This month we’ve been trying to shed some light on Parkinson’s Disease, a complex and debilitating neurological disorder that affects millions of people worldwide; nearly 100,000 of those people Canadians. Parkinson’s affects not only the body, but the mind as well. If you have someone close to you that has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, you’re probably already aware that the disease causes changes in their mood and behaviour.
Unfortunately there is no cure for Parkinson’s, yet. This is why it is so important for us to ensure more people are aware of the disease and symptoms associated with it. Keep in mind, symptoms are a bit different depending on the individual.

Catching those early signs is extremely important because, “we now have medications with the potential to slow progression of the disease, and you want to get those on board as soon as possible,” says Illinois neurologist Michael Rezak, M.D., who directs the American Parkinson’s Disease Association National Young Onset Centre. They may not heal patients, but they may alleviate symptoms and give your loved one more time to spend with family. Home Instead Senior Care is available for you to contact for help, if you or a family member have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s.  

Thankfully, Deepi Brar, an author with caring.com, has highlighted some information researchers have uncovered about factors that you can control to help reduce your risk of developing the disease. Below we have summarized the key points from her article, Parkinson’s Risk Factors.

Coffee
There’s evidence that suggests moderate amounts of coffee can help prevent parkinson’s and other problems, including diabetes, liver damage, gallstones, and Alzheimer’s. Although, some people who are sensitive to caffeine may have spikes in blood pressure or hearth arrhythmias, so if you’re unsure, speak with your doctor. 

Vitamin D
Several studies show that Parkinson’s patients are deficient in vitamin D. At your next doctor’s visit, you might want to ask them to check your vitamin D level. It’s said that most adults need 600 International Units (IUs) of vitamin D per day, and adults aged 70 and over need about 800 IUs a day.

Berries & Brightly Coloured Food
Antioxidants are found in many foods like berries, tea, citrus, soy, onions and herbs. Consider trying to add these into your diet a bit more, as they have flavonoids that help fight against oxidative stress (a process involved in Parkinson’s; analogous with iron and forming rust in nature). 

Fight Inflammation with Ibuprofen
If you know you’re at a high risk of developing Parkinson’s, talk with your doctor about Ibuprofen – you want to be sure that it is right for you. It was beneficial to the patients used in the Nurses’ Health Study, where they found a 40% drop in risk when the patient was using Ibuprofen compared to those not taking anything. 

Stop Drinking Milk
Put the glass down! At least three studies have shown that dairy intake raises the risk of Parkinson’s. Think about introducing alternative ways of getting your calcium, such as with dark leafy greens, tofu, or bony fish (sardines, anyone?).  

Avoid Pesticides
Researchers at the University of California found that people who had lived within 500 meters of fields sprayed with paraquet or maneb had a 75 percent higher risk of Parkinson’s. To be safe, it’s best to avoid all sources of pesticides and be sure to wash all of your produce thoroughly – even if it’s organic.

Just as we promised, here are more ways you can help raise awareness of Parkinson’s in your area:

Starting off Small

How about you alter your profile photo on facebook or other social media to contain a “#EndParkinsons filter? Post the link on your facebook to invite other friends to join in.  

Don’t forget about adding the hashtag “#EndParkinsons” or “#HomeInsteadSeniorCare” to your Twitter updates! You can start discussions between your friends, family, or coworkers while you’re together. 

A Bigger Impact

Consider donating to Parkinson’s Canada. You could join their monthly giving program entitled, Partners for Parkinson’s. Since 1965, the foundation has been using donated funds to invest in research, education, advocacy and support. They also offer programs and services that are catered to individuals and families living with Parkinson’s.   

Making Huge Strides

April 10th – 16th was National Volunteer Week! Let’s keep the good work going and extend this awesome initiative by volunteering at a local Hospital! Why not the Trillium Health Centre: Credit Valley Hospital, Mississauga Hospital? Or if the Queensway Health Centre in Mississauga is a little closer to home, give them a call. William Osler Health System has locations in Etobicoke or Brampton. Give back to your community!     

Helpful Links & Upcoming Awareness Events

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