Notorious civil rights leader Reverend Jesse Jackson has just shared the sad news that he has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
CNN reported the 76-year-old had been suffering from symptoms of the disease for over three years before he was officially diagnosed. The reverend stated he could feel the changes in his body, and after a slew of tests, his doctors confirmed the devastating diagnosis.
Jackson also noted his father suffered from the disease, which is often hereditary. He admitted the “recognition of the effects of this disease on me has been painful.”
The reverend was reportedly diagnosed back in 2015, according to USA Today, but is just now sharing his diagnosis. For the past two years, he has been receiving outpatient care to battle the disease.
The diagnosis has caused the reverend to make changes to his lifestyle, including participating in physical therapy. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and attending physical therapy have been proven to slow the effects of Parkinson’s. There is no known cure at this time, only treatment.
In his public statement, Jackson noted he is “far from alone” and thanked his family and friends for their support.
Jackson is hardly the first public figure to suffer from the disease. Michael J. Fox has long been the star associated with the Parkinson’s. Former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, singer Linda Ronstadt, actor Bob Hoskins, basketball player Brian Grant, and astronaut Michael Richard Clifford are all public figures who were diagnosed with the disease. Muhammad Ali also suffered from Parkinson’s for many years, before passing away in 2016.
JUST IN: Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. announces that he has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s:— NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt (@NBCNightlyNews) November 17, 2017
"I will need your prayers and graceful understanding as I undertake this new challenge." pic.twitter.com/eugXEzuHxR
Parkinson’s is a disorder that affects the body’s central nervous system, which inevitably affects the body’s movement. Tremors are one of the most popular symptoms, in addition to stiffness and the loss of balance. The disease begins when nerve cell damage in the brain drops dopamine levels, which triggers the symptoms. The most common prescription drug for Parkinson’s is levodopa, which helps boost dopamine levels in the brain. Unfortunately, the drug also can cause patients to suffer from motor fluctuations and involuntary movements.
Jackson emerged on the civil rights scene in the ’60s and is a two-time Democratic presidential nominee. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Bill Clinton in 2000.
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