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World in shock as Billy Connolly reveals he has Parkinson's

by , 17 September 2013

When Billy Connolly announced he'd won his battle with prostate cancer, the world was ecstatic. Now, the 70-year-old actor has had another devastating health blow. This time, his doctors have diagnosed him with the initial stages of the degenerative nerve disorder, Parkinson's. But what is Parkinson's and how do you know if you have it? Today, we investigate…

The first time many of us heard about Parkinson’s was in 1991 when actor, Michael J. Fox announced that his doctor’s had diagnosed him with the disease. Now, another actor has come out saying he too has the disease.

Famous for his roles in The Last Samurai, Boondock Saints and, more recently, The Hobbit, Billy Connolly has had his fair share of health issues. While being operated on for prostate cancer – an operation that was a complete success – doctors discovered the 70-year-old has early stage Parkinson’s, reports the DailyMail.

What is Parkinson’s disease?

One in every 500 people suffers from Parkinson’s – a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects your movement.

Normally, the disease “develops gradually, sometimes starting with a barely noticeable tremor in just one hand. But while tremor may be the most well-known sign of Parkinson's disease, the disorder also commonly causes stiffness or slowing of movement,” explains the Mayo Clinic.

In the early stages, you might only notice someone has Parkinson’s because their facial expressions show little or no expression or because their arms don’t swing when they walk. But over time, their speech becomes slurred and they battle to walk as their muscles become rigid and they start to suffer from visible tremors, adds WedMD.

What can you do if you suffer from Parkinson’s?

While there’s no cure and no concrete proof of what causes the disease, there are natural remedies you can use to control your symptoms.

One of the best, says Nutrition & Healing’s Dr Jonathan Wright, is supplementing with riboflavin.

“Several years ago, researchers in Brazil examined a group of 31 Parkinson’s patients and found that every single one had a riboflavin deficiency – even though their dietary sources (like liver, almonds, and spinach) were adequate,” explains Dr Wright.

Researchers then told the patients to stop eating red meat (people with Parkinson’s often battle to digest this protein) and take 30mg of riboflavin every eight hours. After six months, the results were astounding. The patients’ functional motor capacity had increased by nearly 30%.

That’s a significant improvement and great news for those suffering from this debilitating disease.

For more on the disease or to find a support group in your area, contact the Parkinson's Association of South Africa.
 

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