Sleep is absolutely essential for your brain to work properly because during sleep your brain is busy processing information, consolidating memories, making connections, and clearing out toxins. When asleep, your brain does its housekeeping and not having adequate time to do this could potentially accelerate neurodegenerative diseases including Parkinson’s.
Chronic stress can upset the brain activity contributing to PD. Acute stress causes alterations in the protective function of the blood brain barrier, and long-term stress is toxic to the brain. It’s possible that repeated stress leads to the depletion of dopamine. Learn how you can break the cycle of stress here.
Exposure to certain toxins may be directly responsible for triggering Parkinson’s. In the book, Weinstock tells of Canadian study done in 2005 in which eleven people’s blood was tested, and an average of 44 chemicals were found present. I don’t know about you, but I think, “A whopping 44? And that was 10 years ago. I’m sure it’s worse now!”
Every one of us is a walking polluted reservoir of chemicals. From air pollution, bug and weed killers, solvents, metals, PCBs, to smoking, drug use, and radiation, you are immersed in and surrounded by known neurotoxins every day. Avoiding toxins will preserve your overall and brain health.
Managing Medical Problems
Poor general health management can lead to PD later in life. Obesity is linked to altered dopamine levels in the brain and in midlife, triples the risk of developing PD. Insulin resistance, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, low HDL, and inflammation may all contribute to the disease.
Manage chronic physical pain, which is bad for your brain. Take care of your teeth and gums. Know the side effects of your medications and their interactions.
Preventing Head Injuries
The damage caused by a head injury may lead to developing PD years later. While it’s well-known that traumatic brain injuries can lead to short-term or permanent problems with memory, balance, and cognition, research is showing that repeated lower impact blows to the head also add up to take a toll. Having a brain injury resulting in the loss of consciousness, amnesia or hospitalization increases the risk of PD. Losing consciousness for five minutes or longer more than doubles a person’s chances, and the risk goes up with each occurrence.
Within seconds, a head injury can set in motion a cascade of damaging pathological changes which can include the loss of dopamine producing molecules for months after the injury.
Like cutting the risk for Alzheimer’s, dementia, cancer, and other disease, your best bet in preventing Parkinson’s is in adopting a brain-healthy, proactive lifestyle.