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Preventing Parkinson’s: Is It Possible?

Filed Under: Sexual Health at 9:17 am | By: Susan Coyle, Senior Editor
Parkinson’s IllustrationParkinson’s – Michael J. Fox brought it international fame, when he publicly announced his diagnosis and subsequently left his popular sitcom.  However, the disorder has been around for hundreds of years, currently affecting at least one million people in the United States and six million, worldwide. It begins subtly with occasional bouts of tremors, rigidity, stiffness and imbalance, but over time, the symptoms worsen. Eventually, many are left unable to control or direct their movements. Daily tasks become impossible. Some medications are able to lessen the worst of the disorder, but there is no cure. Therefore, it is important that you take whatever steps you can to prevent Parkinson’s, but that too is difficult. 

Just as there is no known cure there is no definitive cause, so you cannot target one specific concern. It’s believed that caffeine consumption, smoking, head injuries and pesticide exposure are linked to Parkinson’s, but how and why remains unclear. Fortunately, studies are continually being conducted, looking for ways to ward off this debilitating disease. Most recently, researchers examined the connection between Parkinson’s and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs),  over-the-counter medications such as Aspirin, Advil and Ibuprofen. It was found that regular non-aspirin takers (those who took two or more a week for at least a month) had a 60 percent lower risk of developing Parkinson’s.  Women who regularly ingested aspirin saw a 40 percent reduction, while men saw none. Does this mean, then, that you should rush to the local drug store and stock up on NSAIDs?

Not exactly. Remember that it is better to err on the side of caution. It’s not yet clear exactly how these medications affect the onset of Parkinson’s. What is clear is that long-term use of many over-the-counter painkillers can elicit severe reactions.  Aspirin, for example, has been known to cause liver damage, kidney damage, ulcers and internal bleeding. Therefore, you should talk to your doctor before beginning a daily NSAID regimen. See if he thinks its right for you. You may find that it’s recommended not only as a way to stave of Parkinson’s but as a method for easing arthritis pain and preventing heart disease, as well. Or your medical practitioner may advise against it. Either way, what matters is that you are informed and that you are doing whatever you can to remain as healthy as possible.

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