A member ruling family of Dubai has spoken of living with the disease of Parkinson’s. Recently, in an interview, Sheikh Juma Thani bin Juma Al Maktoum talked about this fight with the condition, a progressive nervous system breakdown that affects the movement of the body.
A father of five, aged 48, was diagnosed three years earlier at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.
He stated, “Parkinson’s is like a bully. Either you control it, or it will control you.”
That feeling of not knowing what is going on inside your body system is horrible now I am able to control it.
After the proper treatment, medicines and support from specialised doctors, his incurable condition has stabilised.
Sheikh Juma said, “I did not know him; that sensation of not knowing what is going on in your body system is terrible, but now he is here, and a part of the family, and I’m in control.”
Sheikh Juma’s illness began with a hardly detectable tremor in one hand.
“I said it was usual as I do a lot of jet-skiing and fishing, so I use my right arm. I thought it was weakness, but it slowly increased,” he said.
With time, he had difficulty walking and even tying his shoelaces.
Later, he felt “anchored to the ground” at times and unable to move.
Patients face this when nerve cells inside the brain slowly break down, and messages are not being received correctly around the body.
This problem is much seen around the UAE as Cleveland Clinic’s Neurological Institute sees around 800 patients, most of these are Emiratis. It is estimated that between seven to 10 million people have Parkinson’s all over the world.
The prevalence of this problem varies from 41 people per 100,000 to people who are above 40 and more than 1900 people per 100,000 among those who are above 80 and older.
Shivam Mittal, Sheikh Juma’s doctor, is a consultant neurologist and head of the Parkinson’s disease & movement disorders division at Cleveland Clinic. He said that “Parkinson’s disease is a neurological condition. And it is one of the fastest-growing neurodegenerative conditions worldwide.”
“It is a disease that usually affects elderly people who are above 50 years old. Prevalence is rising every year, and it is a condition that impacts men more than women.”
It is a non-curable disease, and its treatment includes everything from exercise to a healthy diet as well as speech therapy. Medication can also prevent tremors and assure a quality of life.
“In simple language, it is like diabetes. If you have diabetes, you do not have a cure, but you can give medicines like insulin to control the symptoms. It is not similar, but on the same grounds,” Dr Mittal explained.