Possible Causative Factors Of Parkinson's Disease
Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disorder which causes a significant decrease in the quality of life of the sufferer. Parkinson’s disease is considered to be a second most common neurodegenerative disorder which is characterized by the occurrence of classical motor symptoms such as tremors, resting, and postural instability, and non-motor symptoms such as autonomic dysfunction, cognitive decline, sleep disturbances, psychiatrist disorders, and fatigue.
Parkinson’s disease results from the lack or loss of the nerve cells, known as neurons in certain parts of the brain. These neurons are responsible for producing a neurotransmitter known as dopamine which plays an important role in regulating the movement in the body. Dopamine helps to maintain normal movement pattern in an individual, lack of the production of dopamine in the brain, results in the symptoms that are associated with Parkinson’s disease.
Apart from the loss of neurons and lack of production of dopamine in the brain, a protein known as alpha-synuclein also plays a role in the development of Parkinson’s disease. Alpha-synuclein is a protein which helps neurons to communicate with each other. Researchers believe that sometimes the protein build up in the microscopic aggregates, known as Lewy Bodies and this build up contributes to the development of Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson’s disease could be a result of various factors such as:
Multiple studies have suggested that genetics may play a role in the development of Parkinson’s disease. There are many genes that when mutated, increases the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.
2. Environmental Factors
There are several environmental factors such as exposure to pesticides, repeated head injuries, or exposure to heavy metals could also lead to the development of Parkinson’s disease. The exact environmental factors that contribute to Parkinson’s disease is not known yet because it is believed that Parkinson’s disease develops many years after exposure.
3. Certain medical conditions
Numerous researchers have suggested that Parkinson’s disease can be a complication of certain health problems. There are certain health conditions that are known to contribute to the development of Parkinson’s disease. These conditions act as causative risk factors. Some of such conditions are as follows:
Diabetes Mellitus is a metabolic disorder which is characterized by a high glucose level in the bloodstream. In medical terms, it is characterized by hyperglycemia. Diabetes mellitus is one of the most common diseases with very high prevalence. Research has suggested that millions of people every year are diagnosed with diabetes mellitus.
Primarily diabetes mellitus is of two types - diabetes type 1 and diabetes type 2. Diabetes type 1 is high glucose level in the blood due to the incapability of the pancreas to produce insulin. Whereas, diabetes type 2 is high glucose level in the blood due to the incapability of the body to use produced insulin or due to lack of insulin. Insulin is a hormone that regulates the glucose level in the blood.
Numerous studies have indicated that many patients who suffer from Parkinson’s disease also have diabetes mellitus. The risk of developing Parkinson’s disease is high in diabetic patients. Uncontrolled diabetes or having excessively high glucose level in the blood causes damage to parts and functions in the body. It also affects the neurons that produce dopamine.
Vitamin D deficiency
Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins required by the body to keep it functioning. Vitamin D belongs to the group of fat soluble vitamins that can be found naturally in foods like fatty fish, mushroom, and egg yolk. Vitamin D can also be found through exposure to sunlight. Exposure to sunlight is one of the easiest source of vitamin D.
Vitamin D plays many important functions in the body and deficiency of vitamin D could lead to the development of various health problems, including Parkinson’s disease. Multiple studies have stated a correlation between vitamin D deficiency and Parkinson’s disease. There is evidence of abnormalities in the level of vitamin D in patients having Parkinson’s disease.
Evidence suggests that there is an involvement of vitamin D in brain function. The active enzymes in vitamin D are found to be present in neurons in the hypothalamus, a region in the brain. There are many other mechanisms as well that indicates the correlation between vitamin D deficiency and Parkinson’s disease.
The thyroid is a gland which lies in the neck and is responsible for secreting hormones that are important in the functioning of the human body. Thyroid gland primarily produces two hormones - thyroxine and triiodothyronine. These hormones play an important role in the metabolism of the body. Any alterations in the production of these hormones lead to the development of thyroid disorder.
Primarily, there are two thyroid disorder - hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. Hyperthyroidism is also known as overactive thyroid, means when the thyroid gland becomes overactive and produces hormones more than required by the body.
Hypothyroidism is also known as underactive thyroid, means when the thyroid gland becomes underactive and produces hormones that are not enough for the body.
Hyperthyroidism is known to be strongly associated with the development of Parkinson’s disease. Excessive production of thyroid hormones in the body could lead to various changes and problems in the parts of the body that regulate movement.
Cardiovascular disease refers to the problems that are related to the heart. Cardiovascular diseases are common and chronic. It is known that a large number of people are living with cardiovascular diseases. There are many causative factors of cardiovascular diseases, such as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, lifestyle factors (cigarette smoking, excessive tobacco consumption, excessive consumption of alcohol, physical inactivity), certain diseases like obesity and diabetes mellitus.
It is believed that patients having Parkinson’s disease are twice more likely to be suffering from cardiovascular disease as well. The correlation between cardiovascular disease and Parkinson’s disease are studied by various researchers. Cardiovascular disease occurs when the coronary arteries are affected and causes problems in the supply of oxygen rich blood to heart muscles. Coronary arteries are the main arteries that that supply blood to heart and make it capable to pump easily.
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