What Worsens Parkinson's Disease?

What Worsens Parkinson's Disease?
Introduction to Parkinson’s Disease

Introduction to Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a movement disorder that can affect a person’s ability to speak, walk, and otherwise interact with the world. It is a chronic, progressive neurological disorder caused by a decrease in the amount of dopamine produced in the brain. Symptoms usually begin gradually and often begin on one side of the body. They may include: tremors, stiffness in the limbs, balance problems, slowness of movement, impaired speech, and cognitive impairment.

The exact cause of Parkinson’s disease is unknown, but there are believed to be a combination of environmental and genetic factors at play. Additionally, it is thought that defects in certain regions of the brain, such as the substantia nigra, may contribute to the onset of Parkinson’s disease.

While there is currently no cure for Parkinson’s disease, there are treatments available to help manage the symptoms and slow the progression of the disease. Exercise, physical therapy, medications, and other treatment options can help improve a person’s quality of life. Over time, the disease itself may continue to worsen and the effects of the treatment may diminish.

What Worsens Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a neurological disorder that impacts the way that people move and associated functions. As people age, PD worsens due to certain biological factors and lifestyle choices.

Aging is one of the factors that can worsen PD. As people grow older, their bodies are affected differently. For those with PD, the nerve cells in the brain that produce dopamine become damaged and gradually deteriorate. Over time, the amount of dopamine available for movement and related functions decreases, leading to worsening symptoms of PD.

Environmental factors can also worsen PD symptoms. Exposure to toxins and other environmental pollutants can have a negative effect on brain health, leading to inflammation and a decrease in dopamine levels. Additionally, exposure to excessive noise or light can cause sensitivity and agitation, while a lack of sleep can produce fatigue and difficulty concentrating, further exacerbating PD symptoms.

A person’s genetic makeup can contribute to the severity of PD as well. Certain genetic mutations increase the risk of developing PD and can lead to earlier onset and faster progression of the disease.

Lifestyle and dietary habits can also play a role in worsening PD symptoms. Stress has been linked to slower recovery from PD symptoms, such as tremors, and an unhealthy diet can worsen the symptoms of PD. Eating unhealthy food, such as processed foods, sugary snacks, or fried foods can lead to inflammation in the brain and body, causing PD symptoms to worsen.

Infections, such as pneumonia, can also trigger a worsening of PD symptoms. This is because infections can cause inflammation in the brain and body, leading to further deterioration in dopamine production. Additionally, infections can cause fluctuations in blood pressure, leading to an increase in tremors and other symptoms.


Aging is an inevitable process which everyone experiences. It affects all parts of the body, including the brain, and has been linked to the progression and worsening of Parkinson's Disease. As a person ages, their dopamine producing neurons are gradually damaged. This gradual damage can worsen Parkinson's symptoms and cause them to become more severe or frequent over time.

Studies suggest that certain age-related changes in the brain can increase the risk for developing Parkinson’s disease. These changes can include the death of dopamine-producing neurons, a decrease in the neurotransmitters dopamine and acetylcholine, and increases in chemicals such as beta-amyloid and glial cells, which can have a negative effect on the functioning of neurons.

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    The risk for developing Parkinson’s also increases with age. People who are 50 years and older are more likely to develop the disease than younger individuals. It is estimated that about 4 percent of people aged 65 and older have some form of Parkinson's, making it more prevalent in older populations.

    There is no way to prevent or reverse the effects of aging, but there are ways to help manage the worsening effects it can have on Parkinson’s. Exercise, diet, and a healthy lifestyle can all help to slow the progression of the disease and can help to improve overall health and wellbeing.

    Environmental Factors

    Research has indicated that environmental elements can play a role in worsening the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Environmental factors, such as exposure to pollutants or chemicals may trigger the onset of Parkinson’s disease. Furthermore, certain occupational exposures can increase the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. For instance, workers in dry-cleaning, welding, pesticide production, and farming are exposed to potentially harmful chemicals that have been associated with an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease.

    In addition, individuals who experience periods of high stress may be at an increased risk for worse outcomes from Parkinson’s disease.

    Genetic Predisposition

    Parkinson's is a complex condition and it's unclear exactly why it develops in some people, although it is believed that many cases are caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Some people may have a genetic predisposition to the condition, meaning that they are genetically predisposed to be more likely to develop it.

    There are several genes that have been associated with an increased risk for developing Parkinson's Disease. The most researched gene is called LRRK2, which has been linked to about five percent of Parkinson’s cases. Scientists have also identified other genetic mutations that can increase a person's risk of developing Parkinson’s, including SNCA, alpha-synuclein, Parkin, and DJ-1.

    If you have a family history of Parkinson’s, you may want to speak to your healthcare provider about genetic testing to see if you have any of these genetic mutations associated with a higher risk of developing the condition. It is important to note that having these genetic mutations does not guarantee that you will develop Parkinson’s Disease.

    Lifestyle & Dietary Habits

    Research has found that lifestyle and dietary habits can influence a person’s risk of developing Parkinson’s Disease. Studies suggest that people who follow unhealthy diet and lifestyle habits may be more likely to get the condition, compared to those who lead a healthy lifestyle.

    Unhealthy habits that have been associated with an increased risk of Parkinson’s Disease include smoking and drinking alcohol. Studies also suggest that taking certain medications, like benzodiazepines, can increase the risk of developing Parkinson’s.

    Eating a healthy, balanced diet is key to reducing the risk of Parkinson’s Disease. Foods high in antioxidants, such as fruits and vegetables, should be included in a daily diet. Eating whole grains and lean proteins is also important. A diet low in processed foods, sugar, saturated fats, and sodium is beneficial for reducing the risk of Parkinson’s.

    Regular physical activity is also important for reducing the risk of Parkinson’s Disease. Exercise helps to improve balance and coordination, increase muscle strength, and reduce the severity of some of the side effects associated with this condition. It’s best to speak with your healthcare provider before beginning any kind of exercise program, particularly one that involves activities like running and cycling.


    It's important to know that certain infections can be triggers for Parkinson's disease. Infections that target the central nervous system, such as encephalitis, Lyme disease, and HIV, may increase a person’s risk of developing Parkinson's. Other infections like the flu, colds, and other respiratory illnesses may also increase the risk of the disease.

    Research suggests that individuals with Parkinson’s have an increased risk of developing certain infections, so it’s important to take proactive steps to reduce the risk of infection. If you have Parkinson’s, speak to your doctor about ways to reduce your risk of infection.

    Diagnosing Parkinson’s Disease

    Diagnosing Parkinson's Disease can be a difficult process. It usually involves a physical exam, a medical history review, and a neurological assessment. Tests may also be done to rule out other illnesses with similar symptoms.

    During the physical exam, the doctor will go through the range of movement and reflexes in parts of the body. They will also listen to the patient’s heart and lungs and check their blood pressure.

    The medical history review is conducted by asking questions related to the symptoms. This helps the doctor determine if the patient is experiencing movement or balance-related issues. It may also uncover any underlying medical conditions that may be causing the symptoms.

    In a neurological assessment, the doctor may use a series of tests to evaluate movement, coordination, reflexes, and muscle strength. The doctor will also look for signs of tremors and slowed movements. If the doctor suspects Parkinson's Disease, they may suggest additional tests such as an MRI or CT scan.

    There is no single test for diagnosing Parkinson's Disease. A doctor must look at the results of the physical exam, medical history review, and neurological assessment to make an accurate diagnosis. After the diagnosis is made, the doctor can recommend treatment options to help manage the symptoms.

    Treatment Options for Parkinson’s Disease

    When it comes to treatment options for Parkinson’s Disease, there are various choices available. Although the disease can’t be cured, the goal of treatment is to improve quality of life and reduce symptoms. The most common treatment options include medication, surgery, and alternative therapies.


    Drug therapy plays an important role in treating and managing symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. Usually, medications are prescribed to improve dopamine levels, which help restore nerve cell function. Common medications include Carbidopa-Levodopa, Monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors, and dopamine agonists.


    In severe cases where medications have proven ineffective, surgery may be recommended. The most common type is deep brain stimulation (DBS). This involves implanting electrodes and a pacemaker-like device to regulate electrical activity in the brain. Other types of surgery, such as pallidotomy and thalamotomy, may also be performed.

    Alternative Therapies

    Alternative therapies may be used in combination with medication to manage symptoms of Parkinson’s. Such therapies may include physical, occupational, and speech therapy. Additionally, some people find relief with acupuncture, yoga, tai chi, massage, and other forms of exercise.


    When it comes to treating Parkinson’s disease, medication plays an important role in managing the symptoms. Medications can help to control movement, improve balance and coordination, reduce stiffness and tremor, and even improve speech. Different types of medications are used to treat different symptoms depending on the individual. For instance, some medications can help with tremor while others may be more effective at reducing rigidity or improving balance.

    The two most common medications used for Parkinson’s disease are levodopa and dopamine agonists. Levodopa is a precursor of dopamine, and when taken it is converted to dopamine in the brain. This helps to increase the amount of dopamine in the brain which can help improve movement. Dopamine agonists mimic dopamine by binding to dopamine receptors, and work by stimulating the production of dopamine naturally.

    Other medications that are commonly prescribed include anticholinergics, MAO-B inhibitors, COMT inhibitors, and amantadine. Anticholinergics work by blocking the action of acetylcholine, while MAO-B inhibitors block the breakdown of dopamine. COMT inhibitors help to increase the levels of dopamine available in the brain, and amantadine can help reduce pain and stiffness.

    In addition to these medications, many people with Parkinson’s disease may also benefit from physical and occupational therapy. These therapies can help with movement, flexibility, strength, balance, and coordination. Talk to your doctor or healthcare provider about these options to find out which therapies might be right for you.


    Surgery is an option for those with Parkinson's Disease who are not responding to medication and physical or occupational therapies, or if the side effects of medications have become bothersome. The most common surgeries for PD include pallidotomy, thalamotomy, and Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS).

    In pallidotomy, a surgeon makes a small incision in the brain’s globus pallidus, an area which helps regulate movement. The surgery interrupts some of the abnormal brain signals that cause the motor symptoms of PD. The procedure can provide short-term relief from shaking, stiffness, and difficulty with movement.

    In thalamotomy, a surgeon makes an incision in the thalamus, the part of the brain responsible for movement control. The goal is to reduce overactive signaling on one side of the brain, which can reduce tremor and other movement symptoms.

    With Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS), two thin electrodes are placed deep within the brain in the regions that control movement. These electrodes then send electrical signals to help block the recurring electrical patterns that cause tremor. The electrical signals are regulated using a computerized device implanted under the skin of the chest, and the stimulation can be altered as needed.

    Alternative Therapies

    Alternative therapies for Parkinson’s disease are becoming increasingly popular these days for those seeking non-traditional treatment options. These therapies can involve practices such as yoga, reflexology, acupuncture, and aromatherapy. While research is ongoing in this field, there is evidence that these techniques may reduce the severity of symptoms associated with Parkinson’s.

    Yoga is one of the most popular alternative therapy techniques used by people with Parkinson’s disease. This practice is believed to have both physical and mental benefits. For physical benefits, yoga focuses on proper breathing, flexibility, strength, and balance exercises that can help reduce the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. For mental benefits, yoga has been linked to improved focus and cognition, which can provide a sense of calm and relaxation.

    Acupuncture is another alternative therapy option that may help improve the symptoms of Parkinson’s. This practice involves stimulating certain areas of the body by placing thin needles into the skin. Research has found that acupuncture may help increase dopamine production in the brain, which is responsible for regulating movement. It may also reduce inflammation, improve circulation, and reduce stress levels.

    Aromatherapy is another popular therapy that is believed to reduce the severity of Parkinson’s symptoms. This practice involves using essential oils extracted from plants to evoke a feeling of calm and relaxation. Aromatherapy may also be beneficial for reducing stress and anxiety, increasing alertness, and improving sleep.

    Reflexology is not as well known as the other alternatives mentioned, but it may provide some relief from the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. This practice involves massaging certain points on the feet or hands which correspond to specific areas of the body. By stimulating these points, it is believed that the body’s energy can be balanced and regulated, which can help reduce the symptoms of Parkinson’s.

    While there is no definite proof that alternative therapies are effective treatments for Parkinson’s disease, many people believe that they provide some measure of relief from the symptoms. As always, it is important to talk to a doctor before trying any alternative techniques.

    Exercise and Physical Activity for Parkinson’s Disease

    Maintaining an active lifestyle is essential for those with Parkinson’s disease. Exercise can be beneficial in improving motor function, mobility, balance, coordination, posture, and flexibility. Not only does exercise have physical benefits, but it can also improve one’s mental wellbeing and reduce symptoms of depression.

    There are many different types of exercise that can be beneficial for people with Parkinson’s. Some of the most popular forms of exercise include:

    • Aerobic exercise (e.g., walking, swimming, cycling)
    • Strength training (e.g., weight lifting, Pilates, yoga)
    • Flexibility exercises (e.g., stretching, Pilates, yoga)
    • Balance exercises (e.g., tai chi, yoga)

    It is important to find an exercise routine that works for you. There are many resources available to help you develop an individualized exercise plan that meets your needs, such as physical therapists or specialized exercise programs like Rock Steady and LSVT Big. Before starting any exercise regimen, however, it is important to speak to your doctor first to ensure that the exercises are safe for you.

    In addition to structured exercise, there are also many activities that can be done on a daily basis to maintain an active lifestyle. Walking is a simple yet effective form of exercise, and can be easily incorporated into one’s daily routine. Additionally, it can be beneficial to engage in activities such as gardening, housework, and hobby projects to keep active. Making sure to get up and move throughout the day can have significant impacts on both physical and mental health.

    Exercise Modalities

    Physical activity plays an important role in helping to manage Parkinson’s Disease. Exercises done regularly can help improve balance, posture, mobility, and coordination. There are many different types of exercise that can be beneficial for Parkinson’s Disease, including aerobic and strength exercises, yoga, tai chi, and dance.

    Aerobic exercises, such as walking, jogging, or cycling, can help to improve heart health by increasing the efficiency with which the heart pumps blood throughout the body. This can help to reduce fatigue and enhance overall quality of life. Strength exercises can help to strengthen muscles and improve coordination. Yoga, tai chi, and dance can also help to improve balance and coordination.

    It is important to make sure to consult with a doctor before beginning any type of exercise regimen. Depending on your condition, some exercises may be more beneficial than others, and your doctor can recommend the best plan of action. Additionally, it is essential to take frequent breaks during exercise to ensure that you do not become overly fatigued.

    Benefits of Physical Activity for Parkinson’s Disease

    Physical activity can have many positive benefits for individuals with Parkinson’s Disease. Regular exercise can help improve overall strength, flexibility, balance, and coordination. With a consistent program of exercise, people with Parkinson’s are likely to see improved mobility and decreased resting symptoms.

    Exercise can also help to mitigate some of the more serious symptoms associated with the disease such as tremors, rigid muscles, and slow movement. In addition, engaging in regular physical activity has been shown to help reduce the risk of falling, which is a major concern for people suffering from Parkinson’s Disease.

    Furthermore, engaging in physical activities has been found to be beneficial for improving mental health and well-being. Exercise has been linked to increased happiness and energy levels, as well as improved cognitive functioning. This, in turn, can lead to improved social functioning and a better quality of life.

    Home Remedies for Parkinson’s Disease

    Although there is no known cure for Parkinson’s Disease, there may be some natural remedies or home treatments that can help manage the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. It is important to remember that these remedies should only be used in addition to any medication or other treatments prescribed by your physician.

    Some potential home remedies for Parkinson’s Disease include:

    • Herbal and dietary supplements
    • Acupuncture/Acupressure
    • Yoga and meditation
    • Music or art therapy
    • Massage
    • Tai Chi and martial arts

    Herbal and dietary supplements are relatively safe and not harmful if taken in moderation, however it is important to always check with a qualified healthcare professional before taking any type of supplement. There are several herbs that may help to reduce the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease such as ginkgo biloba, ginger, Chinese skullcap, and green tea.

    In addition to herbal remedies, acupuncture/acupressure may also be beneficial. Acupuncture is the insertion of very thin needles at various points in the body to stimulate healing. Acupressure is a similar treatment but uses pressure instead of needles. Both of these treatments should be performed by a qualified acupuncturist or therapist.

    Yoga and relaxation techniques can also be beneficial. Yoga helps to improve flexibility and balance, which can help people with Parkinson’s Disease maintain a healthy posture and remain active. Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and guided imagery can help reduce stress and anxiety, which are common symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease.

    Music and art therapy have been known to be effective therapies for people living with Parkinson’s Disease. These therapies can increase self-awareness, reduce stress, and help improve motor skills. Music therapy can involve playing an instrument or simply listening to music. Art therapy involves creating works of art or discussing artwork.

    Massage is another potential remedy for Parkinson’s Disease. Massage can reduce stress, reduce muscle spasms, and help improve circulation. It can also help reduce pain associated with the disease. It is important to make sure that you find a certified massage therapist who is experienced in treating patients with Parkinson’s Disease.

    Finally, Tai Chi and martial arts can help improve balance and posture as well as help to reduce the risk of falls. These activities are low-impact and can be done in a class or on your own.

    It is important to remember that these home remedies should only be used in addition to the treatments prescribed by your doctor. It is also important to consult your physician before starting any new remedy.

    Summary & Conclusions

    Parkinson’s Disease is a progressive neurological disorder that affects nerve cells in the brain. Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease can include tremors, stiffness, slowed movement, and balance issues. Unfortunately, the only known risk factors for developing PD are aging, genetic predisposition, and environmental factors. However, there are lifestyle and dietary habits that can worsen the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease, such as lack of physical activity, cigarette smoking, and unhealthy diets.

    It is important to get a proper diagnosis if you suspect you or someone you know may have Parkinson’s Disease. After diagnosis, treatment options for Parkinson’s Disease can include medications, surgery, and alternative therapies. Regular physical activity like exercise, yoga, and Tai Chi can help reduce the severity of PD symptoms. Additionally, home remedies like massage, acupuncture, and aromatherapy can also provide some benefit.

    Overall, Parkinson’s Disease can be a challenging condition but with the right diagnosis, lifestyle changes, and treatment options, it’s possible to manage its symptoms and lead a full life. It’s important to talk with your doctor and take advantage of resources available to learn more about living with Parkinson’s Disease.


    It is important to consult experts regarding any progression or changes in the symptoms of Parkinson's disease. It is also vital to research one’s own medical history and available treatment options carefully. On this page, you can find references that will assist you with understanding of Parkinson's Disease.

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