Exercise may help cope with Parkinson’s disease

By Jasminee Sahoye

Parkinson'sGraphicThis month the spotlight is on Parkinson’s disease (PD), a neurological movement disorder that affects thousands.

Symptoms typically begin appearing between the ages of 50 and 60. They develop slowly and often go unnoticed by loved ones and even the person who has them.

PD starts in brain cells called neurons which control movement. Neurons produce a substance called dopamine. PD sets in when the neurons die and the levels of dopamine in the brain decrease. The lack of dopamine is thought to result in the symptoms that affect the way you move.

Tremors, or shaking, often in a hand, arm or leg, occur when you’re awake and sitting or standing still (resting tremor) and it gets better when you move that body part.

At first the tremor may appear in just one arm or leg or only on one side of the body. The tremor also may affect the chin, lips, and tongue.

According to a study published in the Medical Journal of the American Academy of Neurology, exercise may help people with PD improve their balance, ability to move around and quality of life, even if it does not reduce their risk of falling.

For the study, 231 people with PD either received their usual care or took part in an exercise program of 40 to 60 minutes of balance and leg strengthening exercises three times a week for six months.

This minimally supervised exercise program was prescribed and monitored by a physical therapist with participants performing most of the exercise at home. On average, 13% of the exercise sessions were supervised by a physical therapist.

Falling is a common problem for people with Parkinson’s with 60% falling each year and two-thirds of those falling repeatedly.

“The resulting injuries, pain, limitations of activity and fear of falling again can really affect people’s health and well-being,” said study author Colleen G. Canning, PhD, of the University of Sydney in Australia.

Compared to those in the control group, the number of falls by participants who exercised was reduced in those with less severe Parkinson’s disease but not in those with more severe disease.

For those with less severe disease a 70% reduction in falls was reported in those who exercised compared to those who did not.

“These results suggest that minimally supervised exercise programs aimed at reducing falls in people with Parkinson’s should be started early in the disease process,” Canning said.

Overall, those who took part in the exercise program performed better on tests of ability to move around and balance, had a lower fear of falls and reported better overall mood and quality of life.

And new research demonstrates how movement may slow progression of the disease, with increasing evidence that regular exercise can help Parkinson’s patients better manage their symptoms. However, the inherent challenge for Parkinson’s patients hinges on mustering the motivation, momentum and vitality to exercise.

Estrogen and testosterone have a demonstrated impact on the development and severity of Parkinson’s disease in animal and human data. This type of therapy supports neurodegenerative conditions for Parkinson’s disease patients to help them keep active and generate an overall improved sense of well-being.

SottoPelle hormonal therapy supports better working muscles that subsequently and naturally work better and are stronger. The patients’ ability to balance is enhanced since muscle function is improved once hormone normality is achieved.

Stronger muscles and hormonal balance also then lend to the prevention or discouragement of bone density loss.