Alan Alda's life proves that a Parkinson's Disease diagnosis is not a death sentence

Alan Alda's life proves that a Parkinson's Disease diagnosis is not a death sentence

Alan Alda outed himself.

His thumb was noticeably twitching. He wanted to be the first to tell his story, so Alda gave an interview to “CBS This Morning” and announced he has Parkinson’s Disease.

He was diagnosed in 2015 after getting a check up because he was acting out his dreams. That’s not one of the normal symptoms people associate with Parkinson’s. Alda read about it in a health magazine, went to his doctor and voila…Alan Alda was one of the more than one million Americans affected by Parkinson’s Disease.

So what did the now 82 year old former star of MASH do? He got active!

“I was diagnosed three-and-a-half years ago and I’ve had a full life since then. I’ve acted, I’ve given talks, I help at the Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook, I’ve started this new podcast. I’m taking boxing lessons three times a week, I do singles tennis a couple of times a week. I march to [John Philip] Sousa music because marching to march music is good for Parkinson’s.”

That’s a lot of activity….more than most people without a neurological disease can do. But that’s what is recommended for Parkinson’s patients. Keep active. Keep moving. Keep living your life.

Like a lot of celebrities, he hopes his disease will raise Parkinson’s awareness. That’s always a good thing. He also noted that his only visible symptom is that twitching thumb.

“I’m not gonna worry. While I’m trying to say something else, I’m not going to be thinking, ‘Is my thumb on a life of its own?’ That’s just one of the realities of my life. It hasn’t stopped my life at all. I’ve had a richer life than I’ve had up until now.”

And that’s how most of us with Parkinson’s try to live our lives. Sure there are times when the disease makes us take a step back and slow down a little, but you can either take control of Parkinson’s or let it control you. Alan Alda is in control. Those of us in the Parkinson’s world have a new role model.


Related Post: Kirk Gibson and Parkinson’s Disease: The impossible has happened

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Filed under: Parkinsons

Tags: Alan Alda

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