Janet Reno’s death draws attention to Parkinson’s disease

Janet Reno’s death draws attention to Parkinson’s disease

The death Monday of former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno shined a spotlight on her long battle with the progressively debilitating effects of Parkinson’s disease.

Reno served as attorney general from 1993 to 2001 under President Bill Clinton. Just two years after Clinton appointed her, Reno announced at a press briefing that she had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s. At the time, symptoms of her illness were barely apparent, but in the years that followed, they grew increasingly more noticeable. Her cause of death was complications from Parkinson’s, according to a story in The New York Times.

Dr. Andrew Gordon, a neurologist at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, Ill., says that people with Parkinson’s do not die from the disease but rather with it.

“Due to reduced mobility, weakness and fragility in advanced cases, Parkinson’s patients may die from aspiration pneumonia, other causes of pneumonia, other infections or from complications of falling,” Dr. Gordon says. “Parkinson’s disease itself does not cause death at all; rather, it gradually weakens the body, leading to increased risk of other medical problems and complications.”

Parkinson’s affects approximately one million Americans, with 60,000 people diagnosed each year in the United States. Those living with the illness are more than the combined number of people diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy and Lou Gehrig’s disease, the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation reports.

A neurodegenerative brain disorder, Parkinson’s impairs by killing the brain cells that produce dopamine, a neurochemical that controls motor function. As dopamine decreases, patients are less able to regulate their movements.

Although there is no known cure for Parkinson’s, Dr. Gordon says there are a variety of treatments that can help people who have the disease lead a fulfilling and productive life.

“Medical treatment and physical therapy can improve quality of life and assist individuals with building up their reserves, so that there is greater capacity to bounce back and recover from urinary tract infections or upper respiratory infections, aspiration or falling,” he says.

The four primary symptoms are tremor, or trembling in hands, arms, legs, jaw, and face; rigidity, or stiffness of the limbs and trunk; slowness of movement; and impaired balance and coordination, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Eventually, patients can lose all motor control, but it can take many years to progress to that level of severity.

“Each individual is affected differently, and the progression is variable from person to person,” Dr. Gordon says. “Fortunately, there are now numerous medications as well as surgery, such as deep brain stimulation, which can help improve quality of life for patients with Parkinson’s disease. However, there is still no cure and no medication that halts the progression of the disease.”

Reno lived more than two decades after her diagnosis. She was 78 years old when she died.

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3 Comments

  1. I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease 3 year ago at the age of 69. For several months I had noticed tremors in my right hand and the shaking of my right foot when sitting, as the disease progressed i totally lost balance. Neurologist had me walk down the hall and said I didn’t swing my right arm. I had never noticed! I was in denial for a while as there is no history in my family. I used amantadine, Carbidopa/levodopa and physical therapy to strenghten muscles all failed. In 2016 a friend suggested Newife Heral Clinic who have successful heral treatment for Parkinson’s disease, i contacted the heral clinic via their website and purchased the Parkinson’s disease herbal supplement, i used the herbs for 7 weeks and my symptoms were reveresed. Its been 6 months no sign of parkinson’s disease, contact this herbal clinic via their email (newlifeherbal @ gmail. com) or visit their website (www. newlifeherbalclinic. weebly. com)

  2. Coleman Sanchez March 12, 2017 at 7:14 am · Reply

    (Must read)
    I am 64 years of age and was diagnosed with Parkinson’s 3 years ago. I experienced shakiness and general reduction of control and tremor on my left hand. I took pramipexole dihydrochloride three times daily for 7 months. In 2016 I started on a herbal formula i purchased from NewLife Herbal Clinic, i read alot of positive reviews about their successful Parkinson’s disease herbal treatment. Merely 3 weeks of the PD herbal formula usage my left hand tremor seized followed by other symptoms, i used the Parkinsons disease herbal formula for 8 weeks all my symptoms were reversed. (visit www. newlifeherbalclinic. weebly. com or email newlifeherbalclinic@ gmail. com). Final breakthrough for all suffering from Parkinsons disease… Coleman Sanchez

  3. I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease 3 years ago at the age of 59. For several months I had noticed tremors in my right hand and the shaking of my right foot when I was sitting. My normally beautiful cursive writing was now small cramped printing. And I tended to lose my balance. Neurologist had me walk down the hall and said I didn’t swing my right arm. I had never noticed! I was in denial for a while as there is no history in my family of parents and five older siblings, but now accept I have classic symptoms. I am taking totalcureherbsfoundation.com herbal treatment  and am about to start physical therapy to strengthen muscles.this herbal treatment has full get rid of my PD after 15 weeks of usage and it has reversed all symptoms.

About the Author

Kathleen Troher
Kathleen Troher

Kathleen Troher, health enews contributor, is manager of public affairs and marketing at Advocate Good Sheperd Hospital in Barrington. She has more than 20 years of journalism experience, with her primary focus in the newspaper and magazine industry. Kathleen graduated from Columbia College in Chicago, earning her degree in journalism with an emphasis on science writing and broadcasting. She loves to travel with her husband, Ross. They share their home with a sweet Samoyed named Maggie.