Georgia Senator announces he has Parkinson's Disease - CBS46 News

Georgia Senator announces he has Parkinson's Disease

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U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson has announced that he has been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease.

The senator from Georgia says he went to see a neurologist in 2012 after experiencing stiffness in his left arm.

After rigorous tests, a neurologist diagnosed Isakson with Parkinson's in 2013. Isakson is in the early stages of the disease.

He says he kept the diagnosis secret because he was unsure if he wanted to make his condition public. He shared the news of his affliction with his family and staffers just months ago.

“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," says Isakson. "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.”

Parkinson's Disease is a chronic movement disorder and it is progressive, meaning that symptoms progress over time.

Isakson's treating neurologist, Thomas M. Holmes, MD, issued the following statement regarding Isakson's diagnosis:

“I have been seeing Senator Isakson as a patient since November 2012. He first came to see me with a symptom of rigidity in his left arm. After several additional visits, I diagnosed him as having Parkinson's disease in August of 2013.

“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.

“Senator Isakson has been dedicated to performing the physical therapy and maintaining the daily exercise routine, and he has been compliant with his medication treatment. He has continued to maintain his rigorous Senate schedule without difficulty since 2012. I believe he is fully capable of continuing to perform his duties as a U.S. Senator, and I believe he is fully capable of running for re-election and serving for another term

“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."

Senator Isakson says his diagnosis will not keep him from running for re-election in 2016. He is actively running and fundraising and says he is passionate about his public service and commitment to Georgia voters.

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