In the few years before his 2016 death, the sound and fury he’d become famous for had been replaced by silence and tranquility. Muhammad Ali no longer rumbled or gloated.
The heavyweight champion of the world and civil rights activist had been slowed, no longer capable of performing the fast footwork that made him the world’s athlete. Parkison’s disease robbed him of most of his faculties. But how?
What is Parkinson’s disease?
According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, Parkinson’s disease is a progressive, neurological disorder that occurs when the cells in the brain that make dopamine start to die. Symptoms start gradually, sometimes starting with a barely noticeable tremor in just one hand. Tremors are common, but the disorder also commonly causes stiffness or slowing of movement.
In the early stages of Parkinson’s disease, the face may show little or no expression. Your arms may not swing when you walk. Your speech may become soft or slurred. Parkinson’s disease symptoms worsen as your condition progresses over time.
Although Parkinson’s disease can’t be cured, medications might significantly improve your symptoms. Occasionally, physicians may suggest surgery to regulate certain regions of the brain and improve symptoms.
Parkinson’s disease signs and symptoms can be different for everyone. Early signs may be mild and go unnoticed. Symptoms often begin on one side of your body and usually remain worse on that side, even after symptoms begin to affect both sides.
What are the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease?
Tremors. A tremor, or shaking, usually begins in a limb, often your hand or fingers. You may rub your thumb and forefinger back and forth, known as a pill-rolling tremor. Your hand may tremble when it’s at rest.
Delayed motor function. Over time, Parkinson’s disease may slow your movement, making simple tasks difficult and time-consuming. Your steps may become shorter when you walk. It may be difficult to get out of a chair. You may drag your feet as you try to walk.