10 Essential Facts About Parkinson’s Disease
The world continues to mourn boxing legend Muhammad Ali who died at 74 on Friday night from septic shock. Ali had been hospitalized a few days earlier with a respiratory illness. A family spokesperson said his death was “due to unspecified natural causes.” The heavyweight champion was 42 when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1984 and became a global figure in the fight against the disease.
Parkinson’s disease, a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that affects nerve cells in the brain and makes movement difficult, affects an estimated one million people in the United States, according to the National Parkinson Foundation. The disorder is chronic and progressive, affecting the nerve cells that produce dopamine. When these cells become impaired or die, the loss of dopamine leads to abnormal nerve firings and impaired movements, including tremors, loss of balance, and other problems, explains the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
There is no cure yet for the condition, but researchers say they’re piecing together more clues about the roles of genetic and environmental factors. Meanwhile, those diagnosed can take many steps to protect their quality of life and enjoy family, career, and retirement.