It is a well-known fact that high blood levels of cholesterol are associated with an increased risk for coronary artery disease (CAD) which leads to heart attacks and strokes. However, the role of cholesterol in the development of neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s disease has not been fully established. A recent Israeli population-based cohort study published August 25, 2018, in Movement Disorders showed that higher total cholesterol and higher LDL levels than the suggested guide-line rate can actually protect against developing Parkinson’s disease. The study was carried out from 1999-2012 on 261,638 people between the ages of 40-79 who were not taking statin cholesterol lowering drugs. Results of the study found that mainly for men, a higher blood level of total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol was associated with a significant decreased risk for contracting Parkinson’s disease.
Several studies in the past also discovered that low total and low LDL cholesterol levels were a high risk for Parkinson’s disease. A study by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, published July 5, 2007 in Movement Disorders found that Low LDL cholesterol levels were associated with a higher risk for Parkinson’s disease in both men and women.
A population-based, cohort study carried out in the Netherlands, published November 15, 2006 in the American Journal of Epidemiology discovered that low LDL cholesterol levels were associated with an increased risk of Parkinson’s. They also found evidence that the blood levels of the antioxidant coenzyme Q10 that had been shown to have beneficial effects on Parkinson’s disease in animal studies and some preliminary clinical trials with humans, was dependent on blood levels of LDL cholesterol. It is now well-known that reduced levels of coenzyme Q10 can occur as a side-effect for people taking cholesterol-lowering drugs like statins.
Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s disease and according to the Parkinson’s Foundation, it is estimated that by 2020 it will affect about a million Americans. More than 10 million people all over the world are living with Parkinson’s disease. Every year 60,000 Americans contract Parkinson’s disease. Aging is a major risk factor for getting Parkinson’s disease, but there are also many early onset cases that attack people in their 40s and 50s. So far there is no cure and treatment focuses on treating symptoms. Parkinson’s is an expensive disease, as it leads to disability and can impact greatly on the quality of life. It is estimated that medicines alone cost about $2,500 a year and surgery can cost up to $100,000 a person. You can read more about Parkinson’s disease in our blog post from June 14, 2018.
A New Unique Way to Diagnose Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disease does not usually come on suddenly, but unfortunately, by the time there are symptoms, serious brain damage has already taken place. This has led researchers to search for a way to diagnose Parkinson’s, while it is in its earliest stages before there is brain damage and symptoms, in the hope that some kind of way will be found to prevent it. See our blog post from August 29, 2018, about a new Israeli breathalyzer invention that can diagnose Parkinson’s just by someone breathing into it.
Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease
- Tremors at rest – Usually the tremor is only in one arm or on one side of the body.
- Problems with chewing, swallowing and speaking
- Rigid muscles – People with Parkinson’s can suddenly go rigid and fall over. This is especially dangerous when going downstairs.
- Unable to smell things
- Urinary and bladder problems
- Problems with sleeping
- Memory problems
- Problems with walking – The Parkinsonian Gait is a peculiar kind of shuffling walk.
- Lewy bodies – Some people with Parkinson’s develop Lewy bodies in their brains, which can lead to dementia.
Vitamin B3 and Fish
A type of Vitamin B3 called Nicotinamide Riboside (NR) has been found to help mice suffering from Parkinson’s disease and it may also be able to prevent motor decline in humans with Parkinson’s disease. It is found in small amounts in milk, but the best food source for it is Brewer’s Yeast or Nutritional Yeast found in health food stores. These kinds of yeasts are no longer alive, as no one should ever eat live yeast.
A scientific study also showed that eating fish could prevent Parkinson’s disease. See our blog post from May 4, 2018.
Since Parkinson’s is a progressive disease leading to more and more of a decline in motor and other functions, the day may come when there is a need for long-term care in a skilled rehabilitation and nursing residential facility such as the Van Duyn Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing in Syracuse, New York.
Van Duyn has the skilled speech, occupational and physical therapists that are needed by someone suffering from Parkinson’s disease plus all kinds of amenities to make your loved one feel at-home and fantastic recreational programs. See our blog post from May 30, 2018.
More research is needed to ascertain what the best cholesterol levels are, not only to prevent coronary artery disease and strokes, but also to prevent Parkinson’s disease.