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Angela Merkel. Photo supplied

Merkel offers strange explanation for her failing health

The explanation that German Chancellor Angela Merkel offered for her public bout of tremors during a ceremony, have raised fresh concerns about her failing health.

Published: June 19, 2019, 10:54 am


    Standing beside Vladimir Zelensky outside her office building in Berlin, Merkel started shaking violently for at least a minute in spite of her efforts to control herself by clenching her hands and pursing her lips in panic.

    Reuters news agency reported that she was struggling to stand upright. Berlin experienced only moderately high temperatures, reaching 28 degrees Celsius.

    The chancellor answered a question about her wellbeing at a joint news conference with President Zelensky. At the news conference about 90 minutes later, Merkel explained: “I’ve drunk at least three glasses of water and so I’m doing fine.”

    She dismissed concerns about her health on Tuesday, saying she was just a little dehydrated because of the heat. But while here are many reasons for the tremors such as stress, excitement and hunger, thirst is not usually cited as a cause.

    Short episodes are considered normal as a result of the above-mentioned triggers, but persistent tremors that coincide with everyday tasks are different.

    Parkinson’s disease is often associated with persistent tremors, but essential tremor (ET) is much more common, a medical professional told the London Times.

    ET often starts in the arms and may be intermittent at first but typically spreads. Shaking of the head is a common complaint in established cases, followed by problems with the hands and voice. This may be aggravated by stress, fatigue and hunger.

    Although most common in older people, ET can start earlier and can be disabling. Tremors associated with Parkinson’s normally start on one side of the body only, tend to be slower and are often more visible at rest.

    The Chancellor (64) had started shaking uncontrollably as a military band performed the German national anthem. The event was scheduled to welcome the new Ukrainian president who was in Berlin for bilateral talks on his country’s security.

    Zelensky, 41, the comedian who defeated Ukraine’s previous president, Petro Poroshenko, in a recent election, did not seem surprised. He said afterwards: “As for Mrs Merkel, I stood next to her, and believe me, there was nothing wrong.”

    Merkel told the media after the event that the sanctions against Russia will stay in place “so long as there is no progress in restoring Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”.

    Zelensky’s statements were similar to his predecessor President Poroshenko, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Tuesday.

    “We are carefully watching this and we tend to agree with the stance, which is now taking shape, that these positions are rather similar,” Peskov told Russian news agency TASS.

    During an interview with Germany’s Bild newspaper, Zelensky said he wanted to emphasize that Crimea and Donbass were parts of Ukraine.

    On March 18, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the treaty on Crimea’s reunification with Russia and the Federal Assembly (parliament) approved the document on March 21. However, Kiev has so far refused to acknowledge Crimea as part of Russia.

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