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Parkinson’s: Why the Disease Was Ali’s Toughest Opponent

Muhammad Ali was considered one of the greatest boxers of all time, but his ultimate fight occurred outside the ring for nearly half his life. When he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, the disease became his strongest opponent. North Coast, NSW, home care experts believe the details of Ali’s battle can inspire others living with Parkinson’s to continue fighting.

The Early Stages of Ali’s Disease

Many doctors believe Ali was experiencing symptoms of Parkinson’s well before his final boxing match. However, Ali was not diagnosed with the disease until 3 years after his retirement. During the early stages of his disease, doctors noticed Ali had hand tremors, his movement was slower, and his speech was slurring. Over time, his motor and neurological symptoms became more severe.

The Cause of His Condition

Parkinson’s typically develops due to the loss of neurons that produce dopamine, a crucial chemical in the brain. Once dopamine levels decrease, brain activity becomes abnormal, and Parkinson’s symptoms can appear as a result. In Ali’s case, genetic mutations led to the disease.

The Treatments He Used

Since Parkinson’s affects the brain’s production of dopamine, replacement dopamine has to be used to treat the disease. Ali’s treatment included levodopa, which helped slow the progression of the disease. Levodopa is a natural chemical that passes into the brain and converts into dopamine. Even though people with Parkinson’s experience decreased brain function over time, treatments like levodopa can help them have a normal life expectancy.

How He Stayed Hopeful

Ali refused to allow the disease to defeat him. Despite his symptoms, Ali continued to appear on television. When the torch was passed to Ali at the 1996 Summer Olympics, his movements appeared slow, but he remained unbeaten. Ali encouraged others to learn how to live with Parkinson’s and try to beat it instead of letting it get the best of them.

Though seniors diagnosed with Parkinson’s face many challenges, they can still maintain a high quality of life with the help of Home Care Assistance. We provide Parkinson’s home care North Coast seniors can count on, and our caregivers are expertly trained to assist with mobility and exercise, prepare nutritious meals, and help with everyday tasks like bathing, grooming, and light housekeeping. For more information on our Parkinson’s care and our other senior care services, call one of our knowledgeable Care Managers at (02) 6646 3527 to schedule a no-obligation consultation.