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Ozzy Osbourne Reveals Parkinson's Disease Diagnosis

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Legendary rocker Ozzy Osbourne is opening up about the cause of his recent health challenges: Parkinson’s disease.

What is Parkinson’s Disease?

In an appearance alongside his family on “Good Morning America” on Tuesday, Osbourne shared he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease last February. The diagnosis came after Osbourne tripped and fell at home, which required him to have neck surgery and physical therapy.

“I feel better now that I’ve owned up to the fact that I have a case of Parkinson’s,” Osbourne said. “And I just hope [my fans] hang on and they’re there for me because I need them.”

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological disorder that affects your body’s ability to produce dopamine, a chemical that helps you initiate and control your movements. A lack of dopamine causes symptoms like uncontrollable shaking in your limbs (known as a tremor), slow movement, a rigid, stiff feeling in your body, and unsteady gait and posture. Parkinson’s can also cause symptoms like loss of smell, constipation, difficulty sleeping, fatigue, cognitive challenges and blood pressure issues. It is not a terminal condition, and there are medications that can help control the movement symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

During the interview, Osbourne’s wife, Sharon, explained his Parkinson’s is linked to the PRKN gene — one of several genes associated with an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease. However, scientists do not believe genetics account for all Parkinson’s cases. While the direct cause is unknown, factors including environmental exposures and head injuries are also associated with an increased risk.

Osbourne said he’s feeling “a lot better” now than he was last February — a time when he was in, as he described, “a shocking state.” But he said he still experiences nerve pain, which he is not sure if it’s caused by his Parkinson’s or from surgery.

“I got a numbness down this arm for the surgery, my legs keep going cold,” he said. “I don’t know if that’s the Parkinson’s or what, but that’s — see, that’s the problem. Because they cut nerves when they did the surgery. I’d never heard of nerve pain, and it’s a weird feeling.”

After his fall last year, Osbourne postponed the rest of his world tour. He admitted not being able to fulfill his commitments and work has been challenging.

“Coming from a working class background, I hate to let people down. I hate to not do my job,” Osbourne said. “And so when I see my wife going to work, my kids going to work, everybody’s doing — trying to be helpful to me, that gets me down because I can’t contribute to my family.”

Osbourne’s children, Kelly and Jack, also shared what it’s been like to watch him go through sometimes unpredictable symptoms. Kelly said some days she’ll see him and think nothing is wrong and he’s able to go back on tour, but the next day it’ll be completely different.

“You come back the next day and nothing has happened, but it’s like he can’t feel his arm and can’t get off the couch,” she said. “We’ve all learned so much about each other all over again — and it’s just reaffirmed how much we all love each other and how strong we are.”

Osbourne has continued to work and plans to keep performing and recording. His latest album, “Ordinary Man,” will be released next month.

Image via Creative Commons/Kevin Burkett

Originally published: January 21, 2020
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