Sir Billy Connolly health: ‘Play it by ear’ Scottish comedian discusses his condition
Parkinson's: What is it and what are the symptoms?
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Sir Billy Connolly is a famous comedian who is sometimes known, especially in his homeland, by the Scots nickname the Big Yin. The star discusses his first early sign of Parkinson’s disease which he was unaware of until someone pointed it out.
Legendary Scottish comedian Sir Billy Connolly was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease back in 2013 and made the sad decision to retire from live performances due to his condition worsening.
The comedian has continued to make TV programmes but interviewed by his wife, Dr Pamela Stephenson Connolly, he said: “The challenges lately have been medical.
“They are getting worse.
“I will have to weigh it up and see how bad it gets. Play it by ear.”
The 79-year-old comedy star has spoken frankly about his condition, and recently said that his Parkinson’s disease makes his hands shake so much that his handwriting is illegible.
Sir Billy said that on his last tour he used to say to the audience: “Good evening symptom spotters.
“I would show them symptoms and it would work really well.”
Parkinson’s is caused by a loss of nerve cells in a specific part of the brain.
These nerve cells are usually used to help the body send messages between the brain and the nervous system.
But diagnosing the condition can be problematic, because many people don’t even know they’re at risk.
According to Mayo Clinic, early symptoms of the condition can include:
- Slowed movement (bradykinesia)
- Rigid muscles
- Impaired posture and balance
- Loss of automatic movements
- Speech changes
- Writing changes.
Sir Billy recalled how he first learnt he had the condition, after someone came up to him at a hotel.
He said he left the hotel to go to a store, and on the way back, he tripped on the pavement.
The man said: “I have been watching you come in and out, and you have the gait of a person with Parkinson’s, I would see my doctor if I was you.”
If you are concerned about early symptoms you may think could be related to Parkinson’s disease, it’s important to speak with your medical professional to ascertain whether you have the condition or not.
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