Paxman: Putting up with Parkinson’s
With every passing hour, at least two people in the UK are diagnosed with Parkinson’s. At the moment, 145,000 people in the UK are living with this condition, which happens to be the fastest growing neurodegenerative condition in the world. It is estimated that by 2030, nearly a fifth of the UK population (172,000) will have Parkinson’s. This figure is expected to rise to 202,117 by 2045 and 243,877 by 2055. The brain condition is one of the most difficult ones to live with, turning the sufferer’s life upside down, and with a future that’s a little uncertain. However, we continue to hear stories of people beating the odds and taking back control of their lives. How did Jeremy Paxman discover he had Parkinson’s? We normally don’t get to hear or read about people battling with Parkinson’s, and how they are managing the symptoms, other than ‘well-known personalities’ such as Michael J. Fox, for instance. In fact, I don’t think most of us could even contemplate the struggles and hardships most sufferers of the disease go through. Jeremy Paxman has been rather vocal about his experience, and just eighteen months after he was first diagnosed, he opened up about what it was like – to let others know that they are not alone. He did this in a very well-executed documentary called “Paxman: Putting Up With Parkinson’s”. Jeremy: “Well it was completely out of the blue. I was having a walk in the square across the way. There was ice around and I had the dog with me, the dog was on a lead. The first thing I knew was when somebody was sitting me on a bench. I’d fallen over and I made a terrible mess of my face.” Staying true to his usual style, Jeremy shone a great deal of light on his honest approach towards the condition and coping with life in general after being diagnosed, in the 60-minute special: “I’d gone straight down on my hooter. Which, as you can see, is not small. Cuts all over the place. I was a real mess. And when I was in A&E, a doctor walked in and said, ‘I think you’ve got Parkinson’s.’ And it turned out that he had been watching University Challenge and had noticed that my face had acquired what’s known as the Parkinson’s ‘mask’.” What’s next for Jeremy? From an interview in October 2022, Jeremy had stated that “The University Challenge people have been brilliant, but I do think that I ought to stop doing it. I will be sad to give it up, but no one is indispensable”. As the Parkinson’s progresses, the neurological condition will lead to more uncontrollable symptoms such as tremors, mild memory, sleeping problems and slowness of movement which will not be possible to work with. Starting in the Autumn, Amol Rajan will be taking over to allow Jeremy to spend some much-needed time with his loved ones. Parkinson’s UK Parkinson’s UK is a non-profit charity which is currently researching some very promising treatments. Getting closer to a cure, they are working closely with health professionals, as well as donors, in addition to finding cures based on input received from 600 affected individuals. Kinderkey provides bespoke beds to help Parkinson’s sufferers to sleep better. Owing to the movement and mobility problems sufferers experience while getting in and out of bed, the variety of beds for Parkinson’s is purpose-designed to help manage safer sleep.
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