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Why Muhammad Ali Was a Champion Against Parkinson’s

By Carol White, 4:32 pm on

Muhammad Ali, 3-time heavyweight boxing champion and widely considered one of the greatest athletes of all time, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1984. On June 3, 2016, over 20 years after his diagnosis, Ali passed away from respiratory problems. In the years between, he showed tremendous courage in the face of an incurable disease and served as an inspiration to millions. The staff at Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of Prescott, AZ, elder care, examines the great Ali and his battle with Parkinson’s.

Ali’s Signs, Symptoms, and Diagnosis

The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are wide ranging and mainly affect movement, especially in the early stages of the disease. Ali was diagnosed after displaying some of the more common early symptoms, such as hand tremors, slowed movement, and slurred speech. The symptoms of the disease become more severe over time, and further motor and neurological symptoms often appear as the disease progresses, as they did with Ali’s condition.

The Causes and Treatment of His Condition

There is currently no cure for Parkinson’s disease, and its exact causes are still unknown. Doctors long suspected Ali’s repeated head trauma, a byproduct of his storied boxing career, contributed to his condition. However, this is difficult to determine because the causes of Parkinson’s are still unclear and may include genetic or environmental factors as well. The disease affects the brain’s production of the neurotransmitter dopamine, and replacement dopamine, which Ali used, is the most common treatment used to slow the progression of the disease.

His Long-Lasting Fight

After his diagnosis in 1984, Muhammad Ali became the most well known person with Parkinson’s, and in the following years he became an inspiration to others living with the disease and a powerful force in the struggle against it. He achieved this through direct action, establishing the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center, and by living fearlessly and publicly with the disease. He refused to let the disease defeat him, and he continued to appear on television despite the symptoms clearly hindering his movements. His lighting of the Olympic torch in 1996, slowed but unbeaten by Parkinson’s, remains one of the most enduring images in sports history.

Muhammad Ali took a balanced approach to his Parkinson’s diagnosis, choosing to help both himself and others with the disease. At Home Care Assistance, we believe living a balanced lifestyle can help seniors better manage their Parkinson’s symptoms. We offer a revolutionary program called the Balanced Care Method, which focuses on lifestyle factors like diet, exercise, and mental and social stimulation, all of which are vital for a senior living with Parkinson’s. For more information on the Parkinson’s care Prescott, AZ, families trust, call 928-771-0105 and schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced Care Managers.

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