Muhammad Ali was a heavyweight champion, a civil rights activist, and a celebrated athletics ambassador known all over the the world, but in the later stages of his life he was also known for his fight with Parkinson’s disease. This battle and his activism centered on finding a cure captivated the U.S. and the rest of the world. The Las Vegas, NV, senior care experts at Home Care Assistance discuss some of the symptoms of Parkinson’s and how they affected this legendary boxer’s life.
Ali was officially diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1984, well after the conclusion of his boxing career. It is widely believed the repeated head blows Ali sustained in the ring were, at least in part, the cause of his disease. However, researchers have begun linking certain genes to an increased propensity for Parkinson’s, creating doubt in the scientific community as to what actually causes the disease.
Although Parkinson’s is commonly understood to be a single disease, researchers actually believe it to be a collection of similar diseases, all caused by malfunctions in the substantia nigra, which is located in the brain’s core. This region is important because it is the center of neural communication in the brain. If the substantia nigra is rendered unable to produce dopamine, Parkinson’s can develop.
Many onlookers in the 1990s sympathized with Ali, largely due to his evident symptoms, including frequent shakes and tics. However, it is actually the common treatments for Parkinson’s that causes these symptoms rather than the disease itself. The injection of synthetic dopamine into Ali’s body allowed him to fight the muscle rigidity of Parkinson’s, but it also caused frequent muscle tremors.
Ali worked with the Michael J. Fox Foundation to try to raise money for a Parkinson’s cure, frequently attended charitable functions and dinners, and was highly visible in the fight against Parkinson’s during the 1990s and early to mid 2000s. He also became known to a new generation of sports fans after bravely lighting the Olympic torch at the 1996 games in Atlanta.
Though there is still no cure for Parkinson’s, its symptoms can be managed with the right assistance. If you have an elderly loved one who is living with Parkinson’s, reach out to Home Care Assistance for the help he or she needs. Our dedicated caregivers can assist with mobility, provide medication reminders, cook healthy meals, and help with a wide array of other tasks. In addition to Parkinson’s care Las Vegas, NV, we also offer comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, and stroke care. For more information and to schedule a free consultation with one of our qualified Care Managers, please call (702) 550-3185 today.