POLITICS

Senator Johnny Isakson Reveals He Has Parkinson's Disease

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 10:  Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Johnny Isakson (R-GA) delivers remarks during an e
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 10: Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Johnny Isakson (R-GA) delivers remarks during an event for members of Congress to sign the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act in the Rayburn Room at the U.S. Capitol February 10, 2015 in Washington, DC. A decorated combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, Clay Hunt became a prominent advocate for troops suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after leaving the Marine Corps and later killed himself in 2011. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) revealed Wednesday he's been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.

“Over 1 million Americans have Parkinson’s and I am one of them," Isakson said in a statement.

Isakson said he was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2013 by a neurologist he had been regularly visiting since 2012, when he experienced stiffness in his left arm. (Parkinson's is a nervous system disorder that affects a person's movement.)

He said he's in the early stages of the disease and the arm stiffness "and a slowed, shuffling gait" are his main symptoms. Isakson said he has undergone "rigorous" physical therapy, does exercises twice a day and takes two medicines to help with his symptoms.

“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," Isakson said in his statement. "In the end, I decided I should handle my personal health challenge with the same transparency that I have championed throughout my career."

Isakson said he will continue to serve in the U.S. Senate, and noted the disease won't affect his re-election campaign.

"I am busier and have more responsibility today than ever before in my political career, and I couldn’t be happier about that," he said.

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