Muhammad Ali battled the debilitating neurological illness Parkinson’s Disease for over 30 years before his tragic death. Click through to learn more about the degenerative disease.
Muhammad Ali passed away at the age of 74 on June 3, after suffering from reported respiratory issues that required him to be rushed to the hospital. The champion boxer had been fighting Parkinson’s Disease for three decades, a severe degenerative neurological condition that changed his life. Click through to learn five facts about the illness.
1. Parkinson’s destroys the ability for people to control their movements
The brain disease generally starts with tremors that get more and more severe, then progresses over the years so that people suffering from the illness have slowed movement, shuffling gait, stiff limbs, problems staying balanced, and slurred speech.
2. Parkinson’s develops when dopamine-producing cells die
Though the exact cause of the disease is still unknown, Parkinson’s develops when cells that produce the neurotransmitter dopamine begin dying. Dopamine is what transports signals to the parts of the brain that control movement. The symptoms of the disease start to appear when there’s too little dopamine in the body.
3. Over 1 million Americans have Parkinson’s Disease
There are an estimated four to five million people worldwide living with Parkinson’s Disease, including one million Americans, according to the National Parkinson Foundation. While the disease usually affects people over the age of 60, it sometimes develops before the age of 40.
4. There’s no cure for Parkinson’s Disease
As of yet, no cure has been found for Parkinson’s. However, there are many treatments for the condition, like a surgically implanted tremor-blocking device, or medications that affect dopamine levels.
5. Many famous people have Parkinson’s Disease
Maybe the most famous celebrity with Parkinson’s is Michael J. Fox, who has lived with the disease for decades, and does incredible charity and advocacy work. In addition to Michael and Muhammad, celebrities like Johnny Cash, Maurice White (of Earth, Wind, and Fire), Linda Ronstadt, and Estelle Getty (Sophia from Golden Girls!) all have battled the disease.
HollywoodLifers, our thoughts are with Muhammad’s loved ones during this difficult time.