Doctors dismissed Michael Redgrave’s Parkinson’s

The One Show: Michael J. Fox on hopes to find Parkinsons cure

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Before a more in depth understanding of Parkinson’s disease was available, Michael Redgrave felt that doctors dismissed his health concerns, thinking the star had become a “drunk”. In a candid interview, which was released on his 70th birthday, Redgrave said: “I’m not going to pretend that this is an easy or especially happy time for me. “For a long time nobody understood the Parkinson’s condition and doctors thought I was just forgetful or drunk, and even now the work isn’t easy.”

The LA Times reported that the father-of-three had been suffering from Parkinson’s disease for 12 years before his untimely death at the age of 77.

His son, Corin, was at his bedside at a nursing home in Buckinghamshire, London, when he passed away.

What is Parkinson’s disease?

The Parkinson’s Foundation pointed out that the health condition “affects 10 million people worldwide” in 2022.

Considered a “neurodegenerative disorder”, the dopamine-producing neurons begin to dwindle inside of the brain.

The symptoms of Parkinson’s can come on ever so gradually, but each person who has the condition will experience it in their own way.

One of the classic signs of Parkinson’s is an uncontrollable tremor that usually occurs at rest.

Distinctly known as a “pill rolling” tremor, it can look as though the person is rolling a pill between their fingers.

When tremors are considered “normal”

Involuntary shaking following strenuous exercise, extreme feelings of stress, or if you have been injured are unlikely to be due to Parkinson’s disease.

An uncontrollable shaking of the hands, for example, might emerge due to medication too, but if this is the case, speak to your doctor about the side effect.

As Parkinson’s disease progresses, movement may become more slow and the limbs can become stiff.

One of the indications of Parkinson’s, pointed out by the charity, is the development of small handwriting.

Known as micrographia, the development of smaller and more crowded lettering when writing could be a key warning sign of depleting neurons in the brain.

The condition can also make a person lose their sense of smell; it can cause difficulties with sleeping; and constipation can occur.

In order for a medical diagnosis to be made, your doctor will consider your medical history, symptoms, and the results following a physical examination.

Further testing might be implemented, such as an MRI of the brain, and/or blood tests.

“Making an accurate diagnosis of Parkinson’s, particularly in its early stages, can be difficult,” the Parkinson’s Foundation added.

“The newest criteria for diagnosing Parkinson’s was developed by the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society (MDS), and reflect the most current understanding of Parkinson’s disease.”

Before Parkinson’s disease is diagnosed nowadays, as person must have slowness of movement, in addition to at least one of the following symptoms:

  • Shaking or tremor in a limb that occurs while it is at rest
  • Stiffness or rigidity of the arms, legs, or trunk
  • Trouble with balance and falls.

Treatments available are tailored to each person, but it can include prescription medication to help manage symptoms.

Michael Redgrave stars in The Lady Vanishes, which airs on BBC Two on Saturday, September 10 at 2:35pm.

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