The Chase: Paul Sinha reveals he’s ranked 24th in the world
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Being open about his diagnosis, Sinha, who is better known as The Sinnerman on popular ITV quiz show The Chase, said he almost felt “relief” after he knew he was suffering from the neurological disease. The star first noticed something was amiss when he started to suffer some discomfort in his shoulder, although not the first “stereotypical” symptom of Parkinson’s, Sinha knew that something was “horribly wrong” and took to Google to try and find out why.
Talking about his experience with his condition on Channel 5 late last year, Sinha said the year he found out about his diagnosis – 2019 – had been a “rollercoaster”.
As well as finding out he has Parkinson’s, the star got married to his partner Oliver, and became British Quiz Champion Of The Year.
“I enjoyed winning the British Quiz Championships and getting married. I less enjoyed the diagnosis of a progressive neurological disease,” the star said.
However, overcoming the initial shock and adjusting to life with Parkinson’s, Sinha confessed that finding out also came as a slight “relief”, as he can now “own” the condition.
He continued to say: “There was a slight sense of relief that I could get on with my life because I knew that something was going horribly wrong, and it was more a relief of ‘now that I know what it is, I can sort of own it’.”
The quizzer went on to say that the diagnosis had given him a new drive to not waste any time. Sinha added: “Before the diagnosis I was trundling along, now there’s a sense of urgency to just get things done.
“There is more of a sense of don’t waste your time, don’t do things that you don’t enjoy, don’t listen to music that you don’t like, there’s more of an urgency to it.”
Praised for his positive outlook on life, and the life-long condition he has been burdened with, Sinha remained humble, explaining:
“It’s not an act of courage, it’s an act of pragmatism. If you’ve got a disease [progressing], you are going to live a better life if you treat it with good spirits rather than bad.
“The better your mental health, the more fit you are to deal with what the physical side throws at you.
“Things will get worse but I don’t know when they’ll get worse, and therefore I deal with things on a day-to-day situation and my day-to-day situation is I’m not that physically disabled that I can’t get on with my life.
“For me now, it’s more, in a broader sense, enjoying life, embracing life and enjoying the company of great people.”
Parkinson’s is a condition caused by a loss of nerve cells in part of the brain known as the substantia nigra. Nerve cells in this part of the brain are responsible for producing a chemical called dopamine.
Dopamine acts as a messenger between the parts of the brain and nervous system that helps to control and coordinate body movements. As a result of this, the NHS explains that individuals with Parkinson’s disease often have trouble with movements.
Symptoms do not usually start to affect individuals when around 80 percent of the nerve cells in the substantia nigra have been lost.
The NHS states that the three main symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include the following:
- Tremor – shaking, which usually begins in the hand or arm and is more likely to occur when the limb is relaxed and resting
- Slowness of movement (bradykinesia) – physical movements are much slower than normal, which can make everyday tasks difficult and result in a distinctive slow, shuffling walk with very small steps
- Muscle stiffness (rigidity) – stiffness and tension in the muscles, which can make it difficult to move around and make facial expressions, and can result in painful muscle cramps (dystonia).
However, as the condition progresses, a range of other physical and mental symptoms can develop. This can include a loss of smell, nerve pain, constipation, sexual dysfunction, excessive sweating, swallowing difficulties and insomnia.
Going on to explain how he has been affected by the condition, Sinha said: “I started with a stiff right shoulder and the right side of my arm, my reflexes are very slow, that’s the main thing.
“I walk with a slight limp but my right arm is functionally not very good.”
Everyone with Parkinson’s is affected very differently, so it is tricky to predict the outlook for those with the condition. However, the NHS explains that it is important to stay physically and mentally healthy if you have the condition.
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