Pope John Paul II, the Rev. Bill Graham and boxer Muhammad Ali; these are just some of the famous people who have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. How much do you know about Parkinson’s disease?
Actor Michael J. Fox, who has been in the spotlight lately with the Back to the Future movie re-release, was diagnosed in 1991 and went public with his illness in 1998. How can a former boxing champion, Ali, be diagnosed with the same nervous system disorder as Fox, a much younger man and actor, who has not endured the same physical toll on his body? Looking at these men, there is not a whole lot of crossover.
In reality, we still don’t know what causes Parkinson’s to develop, as evidenced by the lack of similarities between Ali and Fox but research continues. There have been cases of gene mutations, but those are very rare. However, knowledge of symptoms and risk factors of Parkinson’s disease and can help with detection and starting treatment early.
What are the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease? The most common symptom are tremors in the hands, as well as the slowing down of movements. Other common symptoms of Parkinson’s include rigid muscles, impaired posture and balance. You may notice the loss of automatic movements such as swinging your arms when you walk, blinking or smiling. Small muscle movement is affected first. Speaking difficulties such as speaking too softly, too quickly, slurring or hesitation can also be present, as can a lack of facial gestures.
Who is most likely to develop Parkinson’s disease? Middle aged to older men are most likely to develop Parkinson’s. The risks also increase if you have a relative with Parkinson’s or have prolonged exposure to herbicides and pesticides.
The staff at Williams Bros. Health Care Pharmacy encourages you to be vigilant in knowing the signs of Parkinson’s disease so that treatment isn’t delayed. Those receiving treatment for this disease have shown great improvement in their symptoms and can lead relatively normal lives. See Williams Bros. Health Care Pharmacy for all of your pharmacy, wellness and home medical equipment needs.