Schlager king Jürgen Drews has finally said goodbye to the stage with a big TV show on Saturday. The reason for his career end is polyneuropathy. We explain what is behind this insidious nervous condition, which also affects more than five million Germans.

It was his last big show. With the program “For the very last time: The big hit farewell” broadcast at the weekend, which was already recorded in October, hit king Jürgen Drews now officially and finally ended his stage career. The decision was not easy for the 77-year-old singer, because he can look back on more than 50 years in show business with a number of hits and evergreens such as “Ein Bett im Kornfeld” and “Ich bau dir ein Schloss”.

The main reason for ending his career is an insidious nervous disease: As the singer announced in 2021, the doctors diagnosed him with peripheral polyneuropathy.

Polyneuropathy damages peripheral nerves, for example in the legs and arms. This can impair the stimulus conduction. Depending on the severity, the following symptoms occur:

Occur in advanced stages or severe cases

on. In these phases, patients are dependent on aids such as a walker or wheelchair. According to “”, this happens quickly, especially when the arm and leg muscles are affected.

If the autonomic or vegetative nerves are damaged, i.e. nerves that control organs such as the heart, lungs, stomach, intestines and bladder, there can also be further complications that severely affect the lives of those affected.

Damage to the intestinal nerves can lead to diarrhea and constipation, damage to the bladder nerves to voiding disorders and incontinence.

It becomes life-threatening if the heart and lungs are affected. Because advanced damage to the nerves in the heart can lead to dangerous cardiac arrhythmias and damage to the pulmonary nerves in advanced cases can even lead to respiratory arrest.

The disease can have many causes – according to “” 200 risk factors that promote the outbreak of this disease have now been found. But the most common is


However, polyneuropathy can also occur as a result of other chronic and acute diseases. Toxic substances (arsenic and lead) can also trigger the disease. It also often occurs as a typical side effect of cancer treatment, since cancer drugs not only destroy cancer cells, but can also damage nerve cells.

Other causes are considered

Genetic factors can also play a role in the development of polyneuropathy. In 20 percent of cases, however, the causes remain unexplained.

Polyneuropathy cannot be reversed, especially since it is often only discovered at a late stage. But the progression of the disease can be avoided and the symptoms can also be alleviated.

First, the cause must be clarified. If, for example, diabetes is behind it, the patient’s blood sugar must be properly controlled. For example, if the disease is caused by a B-12 deficiency, this should be compensated for by a targeted diet and the administration of a vitamin supplement. Alcohol abuse requires withdrawal.

For example, depending on the progression of the disease, physical therapy can help activate weakened muscles and prevent reduced mobility.

There are a variety of treatment options for those suffering from pain. From aspirin and paracetamol to anticonvulsants like gabapentin and pregabalin. Antidepressants are also used to treat pain. Electrostimulation therapy can also help to relieve pain in individual cases.

Despite leaving the stage, Jürgen Drews is not discouraged by his illness. Because so far, the singer and entertainer does not feel so restricted: “In everyday life, this disease does not play such a big role for me,” said Drews a few days ago.

So far he hasn’t been in any pain. According to the singer, his gait is no longer as smooth and fast as it used to be. The pop bard was also unable to turn his pirouettes on stage. The fact that he is slower and less agile is also a “side effect of getting older”.

As Drews said in an interview with “Bild” 2021, the diagnosis of his illness came out of a dementia test. Because of his increasing forgetfulness, the singer would have had himself tested, since his mother also suffered from it in old age. He often couldn’t think of terms, names and places: “When my driver takes me to the venue, I often don’t even know where I am,” he described his situation to the newspaper at the time. But the test result was negative. Instead, the specialists found the nervous disorder.

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