What are the chances of getting Parkinson’s Disease, sarcastically speaking?

Someone asked me, what are the chances of getting Parkinson’s disease? So, I did some research and came up with the following.

Lighter colored hair. Yes, that’s right. A person with black hair has the best chance of escaping a diagnosis of PD than that of a person with red or blonde hair, red being the greatest chance. I don’t think dyed hair counts.

Family history. Hereditary factors/genetics can play a part. If you have a close relative who has Parkinson’s disease (such as a parent/sibling) your chances increase.

Men tend to be more at risk than women for unknown reasons. However, this fact can also depend on what country you live in.

If you are over the age of sixty, the likelihood of developing PD is greater. However, there is a very rare known case of PD starting at the age of two.

The Amish community seems to have the highest rate of PD among any other communities. It is thought that the culprit may be all the pesticides used in their farming. Which leads to… Exposure to toxins playing a large part in some PD cases as well as those individuals who relied on well water for drinking and cooking. This is due to the chemicals/pesticides found in the water. It is said that Nebraska has the highest rate of PD in the United States, most likely due to the pesticides used in their farming, as well.

Trauma to the head may play a role as damage is done to the dopamine producing neurons in the brain. If you were one to bang your head against the wall in frustration, well… you shouldn’t have.

Manganese, a known cause of Parkinson’s if the concentrations are high enough, is found in a town in Italy. The concentrations there are high enough and approximately 410 out of 100,000 people have been diagnosed with PD.

Ethnicity has been studied, showing Caucasians have a great chance over African Americans.

Illicit drug use may be a factor as the drugs have a bulls-eye target for the, again, dopamine producing neurons inside the brain.

Various studies have shown that PD is much more prevalent amongst welders, significantly higher amongst physicians, dentists, teachers, lawyers, scientists, computer programmers (young onset PD diagnosis greater for this group), clerical occupations, agricultural workers, hunting and forestry occupations were also positively associated with Parkinson’s Disease. Those people involved in manufacturing and transportation were less likely to get Parkinson’s Disease.

So… what does this all mean? Here it is:

If you are a welder, physician, dentist, teacher, lawyer, scientist, computer programmer, person involved in clerical work, agricultural worker, hunting and forestry vocation person, and… have a family history of PD, are male, are over 60, Amish and are growing manganese plants as a hobby; if you are Caucasian, take illicit drugs, banged your head against a wall, live in Nebraska, have red hair and a family history of PD, then chances are – you MIGHT get PD. Then again, it depends on which country you live in, too.

Another interesting tidbit? Those involved in the manufacturing and transportation fields were less likely to get PD. Caffeine and smoking are said to help prevent PD.

I wouldn’t quit my welding job to pilot a jet, leave the Amish community, or move from Nebraska and take up smoking. There are reasons, yes, why people get PD, even if we haven’t really pinpointed the specific culprit yet. However, ultimately, because of God’s sovereignty, things are going to play out as He sees fit, whether we have black hair or polka dot hair, work in the forest or teach geometry, are male or female, Amish or Mennonite, prefer chocolate over strawberry ice cream. And, if He sees fit to give us this disease, well then, He’s got to have a pretty good reason that we may never know or understand. So, if you fit this category – just a normal person with Parkinson’s disease – don’t give up. We’re all in this together and it doesn’t matter who you are, where you live, what you do or if you prefer strawberry or chocolate – we will get through. However, might I say? Chocolate really is better, no matter what.

A Thought in Regards to Soda and Bananas…

20130118-040429.jpgIn an article I read awhile back, the author brought attention to the fact that a review of people who drank between two to nine liters of cola a day are susceptible to the disease known as Hypokalemia. Nowhere in that article did it state what Hypokalemia is. Now, you may know what that is, but I didn’t and so, I went researching.

Hypokalemia is a condition where there is a low concentration of potassium in the blood. People with this condition have vital muscle malfunctions when there is a drop in the levels of their blood potassium. Mild weakness to paralysis are in the range of symptoms.
Researchers in Greece conducted the review. They had two patients in their review group who they admitted to the hospital. Both were pregnant and showing low potassium levels. Both drank anywhere from one to seven liters of soda a day. That’s a lot of soda. One was suffering from a heart blockage and low potassium levels while the other was suffering from muscular weakness. (My first reaction was, what in the world is a pregnant woman doing consuming any caffeine product at all, not to mention in those quantities?! Have they not heard what caffeine does to an unborn child?!?)

Upon giving up their soda habits, both recovered. It is noted they also were given oral or intravenous potassium. It was stated that glucose, fructose and caffeine could contribute to the condition. These three ingredients are the most common found in cola.

Okay, so you may ask, what does this have to do with Parkinson’s?

Maybe nothing. Maybe something.

Cola-induced hypokalemia is said to not have been determined as of yet. In the review, however, it was thought to have extreme impact, due to the caffeine and fructose levels.
While mild hypokalemia usually has no symptoms, moderate hypokalemia symptoms might include constipation, muscle weakness, cramps during exercise, thirst, fatigue, and/or leg discomfort. Since severe symptoms are dangerous, it is important to talk to your doctor if you think you may have low potassium levels. You can replace potassium lost during heavy exercise by drinking sports drinks that contain electrolytes.

Potassium-rich foods include sweet potatoes and baked potatoes, as well as tomato paste, tomato juice and tomato sauce. Beans, soybeans, lentils, yogurt and low-fat milk, tuna, halibut, rockfish, cod, bananas, peaches, prunes, apricots, cantaloupe, and spinach are also high in potassium. A healthy diet will include these foods and the need for supplements will not be necessary.

My thought is this: If cola could potentially have this effect on a review of people in Greece, I wonder what significance it could have in PD patients who are already susceptible to leg cramps, restless leg syndrome, other muscular aches and pains. It may be worth cutting out the soda habit for a month or so and replacing it with bananas, high in potassium, and see if the muscle fatigue and pain decrease. Might be worth a shot.