Sen. Johnny Isakson from Georgia Announces He Has Parkinson’s Disease
He was actually diagnosed a couple of years ago, but kept it private.
He says he is in the early stages of the disease and he is undergoing rigorous physical therapy.
And he still plans to run for another term in office.
Senator Isakson says his main symptoms now are stiffness in his left arm and a shuffling gait to his walk.
“While I am facing this health challenge head on, I have wrestled with whether to disclose it publicly. I recently shared the news with my three grown children and my senior staff a couple of months ago. Their support, along with the steadfast support of my wife Dianne, helped me to take this step today. In the end, I decided I should handle my personal health challenge with the same transparency that I have championed throughout my career.
“My diagnosis has not impacted my ability to represent the state of Georgia in the U.S. Senate. I am serving on five Senate committees and am the only Republican serving as chairman of two Senate committees. I am busier and have more responsibility today than ever before in my political career, and I couldn’t be happier about that. I remain devoted to public service, to my state and to my constituents. I am eager to take my record of results to the voters of Georgia as I run for re-election in 2016.”
Isakson’s treating neurologist, Thomas M. Holmes, MD, is also talking about his case.
“My most recent assessment of Senator Isakson was on May 27, 2015. Using physical examination and several accepted Parkinson’s disease rating scales, I have concluded that Senator Isakson is in Stage 1.5 of 5 accepted stages of Parkinson’s disease. This staging is indicative of his mild symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Senator Isakson has been treated with medication since August 2013 to assist his body’s naturally occurring dopamine and to limit symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. In addition, I have Senator Isakson doing daily exercises every morning and evening, and I had him undergo a rigorous physical therapy regimen tailored to treat symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
“As a practicing neurologist, I have treated many patients with various chronic neurological diseases, and I encourage all them to pursue their livelihoods with vigor and enthusiasm. With this in mind, I have encouraged Senator Isakson to do the same.
Doctors say patients of the Senator’s age (70) generally progress between stages every 5-6 years.