Alan Alda has revealed that he has Parkinson's disease.
The 82-year-old, six-time Emmy winner, who's best known for his legendary roles on M*A*S*H and The West Wing, made the announcement on CBS This Morning on Tuesday, saying that he was diagnosed with the degenerative disorder of the nervous system about three-and-a-half years ago and is coming forward now to encourage people who may be struggling with the disease.
"I've had a full life since [the diagnosis]," he said. "I've acted, I've given talks, I help at the Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook. I started this new podcast. And I noticed that — I had been on television a lot in the last couple of weeks talking about the new podcast — and I could see my thumb twitch in some shots and I thought, it's probably only a matter of time before somebody does a story about this from a sad point of view, but that's not where I am."
Alda said he got tested for Parkinson's after reading an article about how one of the early signs is acting out dreams.
"I was having a dream that someone was attacking me and I threw a sack of potatoes at them," he said. "But what I was really doing was throwing a pillow at my wife."
He said that he's "not angry" about his diagnosis, and instead views it as a new challenge. "It's like a puzzle to be solved; what do I have to adapt to to carry on a normal life?" he said. "And I enjoy solving puzzles."
Alda hopes that in coming forward, he can use his prominent position to encourage people that there are things they can do to keep their quality of life up if they have the disease, and to spread the word about the ongoing scientific investigation into the disease.
He added on Twitter that he's even still able to juggle:
I decided to let people know I have Parkinson's to encourage others to take action. I was Diagnosed 3 and a half years ago, but my life is full. I act, I give talks, I do my podcast, which I love. If you get a diagnosis, keep moving!— Alan Alda (@alanalda) July 31, 2018
I take boxing lessons 3 days a week, play singles tennis twice a week, and take a mild pill - all Dr. recommended. I even juggle a little. And I'm not entering dementia. I'm no more demented than I was before.— Alan Alda (@alanalda) July 31, 2018
Maybe I should rephrase that.
Really, I'm good.
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