When Muhammad Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease at age 42, he was already retired from boxing. But many people wondered if the constant blows he received to his head throughout his boxing career may have lead to the disease. If not, just what causes Parkinson's Disease?
What is Parkinson's Disease?
Parkinson's Disease is a progressive disease of the nervous system that generally affects older people, middle age to elderly. It affects nerve cells in the brain and causes a deficiency of the production of dopamine. This is the chemical that controls the body's movement. Parkinson's Disease affects the ability to walk or move, speak and even control facial expressions. It is a progressive disease which means it gets worse over time.
What causes Parkinson's?
There are a number of theories as to what causes Parkinson's Disease. These include abnormal genes which may or not be inherited, exposure to toxins such as pesticides, herbicides, carbon monoxide, and cyanide, head trauma, viruses and strokes.
What are the symptoms?
People diagnosed with Parkinson's will experience tremors, rigid muscles, difficulty moving speaking and even swallowing.
Is there a cure for Parkinson's?
No. But there are treatments that will help with the symptoms. These include medications, deep brain stimulation, eating healthy and getting enough rest.
Although Parkinson's usually affects older people, there are exceptions such as Muhammad Ali, who was diagnosed at age 42, and Michael J. Fox, who was diagnosed at age 37. The most important thing anyone diagnosed can do for themselves is to learn as much as they can about the disease and get all the treatment and support they can to help.