Diet and Nutrition

A Dietary Guide for People Living with Parkinson's Disease

A Quick Background on Parkinson’s Disease

According to the National Parkinson’s Foundation, Parkinson’s disease is that it is a biological malfunction, specifically in a specific area in the brain called the substantia nigra. What happens is that the neurons located in this area slowly stop producing neurotransmitters, specifically dopamine. Dopamine is responsible for regulating movement and emotional responses. To help put things in a better perspective, imagine a string-puppet and a puppeteer. The person is the puppet, and the neurotransmitter, dopamine, is the puppeteer. Now imagine having one or two of the puppet’s strings being cut off. The puppet would not be able to move some of its limbs and lose coordination. Thus, without dopamine in the body, the balance and motor movements would be very hard to execute. The process wherein the brain slowly stops producing the neurotransmitters is called neurodegeneration. That is why Parkinson’s is considered as a neurodegenerative disease.

At the present, there is no cure for the disease. However, it isn’t considered fatal but the complications associated with it can be very serious. Some possible side effects that come with the disorder are dysphagia (difficulty in chewing and swallowing), problems in peeing, anxiety and depression. The medications for people living with the disease also have a record of causing several health problems such as hallucinations and drowsiness. The rate as to which the disease progress and develops varies among different people. Same goes for its severity, which is commonly categorized as mild, moderate, and advanced.