Let's talk Dopamine, or lack there of (when you have PD). I recently asked my Movement Disorder Specialist to break it down into simple terms that I could understand. This is my newly schooled version of what he explained. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter. "Neuro" has to do with nerves. "Transmitter" means to communicate or send. In a perfect world, Dopamine is constantly regenerating itself in the brain. Its job is to transmit signals (nerves) throughout the body to keep it running efficiently. It is often referred to as the "feel good messenger". When there is more than enough Dopamine being produced, we go about our day and do not give it a second thought. I had never even heard this word until my original Neurologist suspected PD (AKA.... Dopamine Depletion). When there is a deficiency in the amount of Dopamine being produced, symptoms begin to present themselves.
By the time I started to notice changes in my body, my dopamine production had basically gone from full speed ahead to a snail's pace, if that. This is when my first symptoms became noticeable, as my body began to cry out for help. When I finally reached out to my neurologist, the damage was done. I had significant Dopamine loss on the left side of my brain, which was affecting the right side of my body. The symptoms I experienced in the beginning were enough to cause me alarm and sent me straight to my Neurologist's office. Some of those first symptoms included extreme fatigue, spaciness (feeling like I was in a fog), weakness in my right arm and leg and tremoring in my right hand. In fact, my entire right side felt completely detached from my body.
My sparkling personality became flat and dull. I woke up every morning feeling like my passion for life had slipped away. My walking became very labored and my gait small. I took short steps and moved very slowly. I was unable to pick up my right foot when I walked, so it dragged. I had no idea that I was dragging it until someone close to me pointed it out. My handwriting also became very small. I remember doing progress reports for my kids at school. Since I was "old school", I chose to handwrite their comments rather than input them into my computer. My writing had become so tiny, that I could barely read it myself, when meeting with parents. I also wore that "mask" on my face. I remember one of my colleagues asking me if I was mad about something one day, because my face took on that look. As all of this was happening, I seemed to be the last one to realize that I had a problem, because I felt as though I were walking through a fog at all times. I just went about each day doing my thing (but not very well). I am going to leave the symptoms here for now, as I will be writing another entry about all of my symptoms, at a later date. Remember, everyone's symptoms are different. This is my story..
So I became very curious about natural things I could do to boost my dopamine production. I began investigating the Internet and found this image below. Take a look and see if you are eating any of these foods already. Of course, you can google other examples of dopamine rich foods as well. 🍇🍒