FORMER Mid Worcestershire MP Sir Peter Luff has revealed he has Parkinson’s and has opened up about the condition to raise awareness of it.
Sir Peter was a former Defence Minister and MP from 1992 until 2015, including a term as member for Worcester between 1992 and 1997.
Speaking to The Standard he said he first noticed symptoms while he was in Parliament but did not know the cause.
“I had a range of symptoms which could also be put down to other causes, including wear and tear and old age.”
Sir Peter’s wife Julia noticed it more and eventually he was referred to a neurologist confirmed the Parkinson’s after conducting full tests.
“I was relieved when I found out because I knew what it was and I could get the medication for it.
“I could have been diagnosed one or two years earlier.”
Parkinson’s is a condition which affects the brain but has different progression rates and more than 40 symptoms – from pain and muscle stiffness to depression, anxiety, hallucinations, memory problems and dementia.
The tremor which many people associate with the disease does not feature in the majority of cases.
“If people think they may have it they should get tested as soon as possible because the medicines can transform your life.”
Steve Ford, CEO of Parkinson’s UK, said: “Sir Peter Luff speaking out about his Parkinson’s diagnosis will do so much to raise awareness and understanding of this much misunderstood condition, which affects around 145,000 people in the UK.”
He added the charity was funding pioneering research for better treatments and, one day, a cure.
Sir Peter, who is now the chair of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, said some tasks took longer than usual but thanks to the medicines his life was carrying on as normal with long walks with the dog, going to work and catching the train.
“What we really need with Parkinson’s is a big breakthrough. I’ve been told there are some in the wings and I think we are due one,” he added.