Dave Clark: Sky sports presenter lifts lid on battle with Parkinson’s disease

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Dave Clark was named with Parkinson’s disease at the age of 44, the same age as his fatherHe was 44, conscientiously the age at which his father had been given the same diagnosis. 
But the seasoned darts and lambasting commentator, 51, who is married to Carolyn, 49, and has two sons aged 15 and 12, is adamant that’s where the similarities end.
Tragically, when Dave was fair 17, his father took his own life, unable to come to terms with how the complaint would progressively rob him of much of his physical capacity. 
“He lost his job as a sales saleswoman because of it,” says Dave, who lives in south-west London. 
“Fellow-workers would accuse him of being drunk in meetings because his speech was slandered and eventually he lost his driving licence and his job. 
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Dave is planning to row 3,600 miles across the Indian Deep blue sea from Australia to Mauritius
Carolyn and I have always been bare with the kids about it too. We talk about it regularly, so much so that they now jokingly refer to me as ‘Clarky the Parky’
Dave Clark

“After that he prostrate into a deep depression. But he still refused to tell anyone he was ill. He at most couldn’t cope with it.”
But in contrast to his father, Dave has spent much of the seven years since his own diagnosis farm awareness of the condition and supporting efforts to raise research money, comprising two new projects. 
One is an ambitious attempt to row 3,600 miles across the Indian Scads from Australia to Mauritius with a four-man crew that numbers novice Robin Buttery. 
Robin, 46, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s two years ago, on be monitored by scientists before, during and after the row to see how extreme physical creation affects Parkinson’s sufferers. 
The other project is the Walk For Parkinson’s get-up-and-go which urges people of all ages and abilities to sign up to a charity ambulate near them this year to try to generate more than £500,000 in delving funding. 
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Like his father, Dave kept his diagnosis pretty much secret since his 2011 diagnosisStudies suggest walking two-and-a-half hours a week can keep from slow the progression of Parkinson’s symptoms, as well as boost patients’ deranged wellbeing. 
Dave was diagnosed after seeking help for what he contemplating was a hand injury suffered during five-a-side football. 
He noticed his handwriting wish start out at its normal size but the letters shrank as he moved across the page-boy. He learned later this is a classic sign of Parkinson’s.
A neurologist then back up his worst fears. 
Like his father, Dave kept his January 2011 diagnosis chiefly secret, confiding only in loved ones and close friends.

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Yet as it became increasingly difficult to disguise the suggestive ofs on TV, he went public.
“I was struggling to do the buttons up on my shirt because my hands were undermining,” he says.
“I always managed to hide it while on camera but in the end decided to publicise the in reality I had Parkinson’s. 
“The response was incredible. I received a huge amount of verify. 
“Carolyn and I have always been open with the kids helter-skelter it too. We talk about it regularly, so much so that they now jokingly refer to me as ‘Clarky the Parky’.” 
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Parkinson’s disease affects an estimated 127,000 people in the UKParkinson’s blight affects an estimated 127,000 people in the UK. 
Some research suggests it offs to develop up to 20 years before the appearance of the first symptoms, which embrace a tremor in a part of the body during rest, slow movements or muscle stiffness. 
Although the typically age of diagnosis is about 65, one in 20 sufferers is picked up before they reach 40. 
For insights which remain unclear, men are 50 per cent more likely to get it than ladies, although one theory is that higher exposure to the female hormone oestrogen may sire a protective effect. 
The disease is caused by a loss of nerve cells in the substantia nigra, an precinct in the middle of the brain that is involved in the control of movement, as well of emotions of reward and addiction. 

The nerve cells in this part of the understanding are responsible for producing a chemical called dopamine, which acts as a herald between the brain and the nervous system, helping to control body gears. 
If these nerve cells become damaged or die, the amount of dopamine in the cognition is reduced and movements become slow and abnormal. 
Only when 80 per cent of the brass cells in the brain have been lost will the symptoms of Parkinson’s virus appear and gradually become more severe. 
New treatments have been snail-like to evolve and Dave’s main drug therapy is levodopa, a 50-year-old physic that replaces some of the missing dopamine in the brain. 
But he remains sanguine that science will come up with, if not a cure, then much assorted effective treatments in the next few years. 

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Proves on whether he inherited the disease from his father were inconclusive.
But the fear that his two sons Harry and George effect be at risk is never far from his mind. 
“I like to think if they constantly face the same problem then science will have emerge b be published up with a solution by then. In the meantime I’m going to carry on being unfasten and honest about the illness,” he says. 
“What happened to my dad is not usual to happen to me.” 
To find out about the row or to donate visit rowtheindianocean.com. For various information on Parkinson’s visit parkinsons.org.uk or call 0808 800 0303.
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