TV presenter Fiona Philips has revealed that she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at the age of 62.
The former GMTV host said she’s convinced her brain fog and anxiety stemmed from menopause.
But she later discovered that her symptoms were due to the most common cause of dementia in the UK.
Alzheimer’s can be difficult to recognize at first as it is often confused with other factors such as depression, stress or “the change”.
However, according to the charity, there are some telltale early signs to look out for Alzheimer’s UK.
Here are the five most common.
1. Memory issues
According to the organization, the first noticeable symptom is often memory problems.
For example, someone may have difficulty remembering current events or learning information.
These types of problems can make a person more likely to:
- Forget current conversations or events
- Lose yourself in a familiar place or on a familiar journey
- Forget appointments or important dates
- Become increasingly disorganized
Experts say this is because one of the first parts of the brain to get damaged is the hippocampus, which plays an important role in memory.
2. Difficulties in thinking and reasoning
According to Alzheimer’s UK, thinking and reasoning problems are the second most common early sign of the disease. This contains:
- Difficulty concentrating (e.g., regularly not being able to follow a conversation or needing silence and complete concentration to understand what someone is saying)
- Difficulty planning or organizing (e.g., difficulty completing everyday tasks in the correct order, such as cooking a meal)
- They are confused about what time it is or where they are
3. Problems with the language
Communication difficulties are also quite common in the early stages.
It can be difficult for someone to find the right words or concentrate on what is being said.
If you notice a person using common words like “thing” or “things” or saying “him” or “she” instead of using a name, then it might be worth contacting your GP.
Long pauses between words or sentences and difficulty with place names can also be signs of Alzheimer’s.
4. Mood swings
As with many progressive illnesses (which get worse over time), mood swings are commonly reported.
Many people become anxious, easily annoyed, sad, or scared, which causes them to lose interest in the friends, activities, or hobbies they used to enjoy.
Alzheimer’s UK says it’s hard to say whether this social withdrawal is due to the disease itself or the frustrations that came with coping with everyday tasks because of its symptoms.
5. A change in the way things are seen and heard
Finally, although a little less frequently, people may notice that loved ones have trouble judging distances and seeing the outlines of objects.
This can make climbing stairs or parking a car, for example, much more difficult.
“You may also find certain sounds uncomfortable or disturbing, such as loud music or a lot of people talking in a room at the same time,” says Alzheimer’s UK.
This disease has afflicted my family and now it has reached me too
Philips was diagnosed at the age of 62 after suffering from brain fog, anxiety and confusion.
She contacted a menopausal specialist because “all the symptoms were there” and started taking hormone replacement therapy.
But the problems persisted and her memory loss worsened before she finally found out what was causing it.
The presenter and columnist said the disease had “devastated” her family and she had long feared the diagnosis.
According to the MirrorPhillips was diagnosed more than a year ago and is testing a new drug that could slow the effects of the disease.
Phillips, an ambassador for the Alzheimer’s Society, told the Mirror: “This disease has devastated my family and now it has come to me too.”
“And across the country there are people of all ages whose lives are being impacted — it’s heartbreaking.”
“I just hope I can help find a cure that might improve the situation of others in the future.”
In addition to her column in the national newspaper, Phillips hosted GMTV for more than a decade beginning in 1997.
She also took part in the BBC program Strictly Come Dancing in 2005.
She is married to Martin Frizell, the editor of the ITV flagship show, and they have two sons – Nat, 24, and Mackenzie, 21.
Phillips told the Mirror that despite fears she would one day be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, the news still came as a “shattering shock”.
The TV presenter said she was “angrier than anything” because the disease was already affecting her family life.
“My poor mother was affected, then my father, my grandparents, my uncle. It keeps coming for us,” she said.
Despite keeping the news a secret for 18 months, Phillips said she decided to share her story to help end the stigma surrounding Alzheimer’s.
“The problem with this disease is that the public thinks of old people bending over a cane and talking to themselves,” she said.
“But I’m still here, on the road, meeting friends for coffee, eating out with Martin and going for a walk every day.”
She is taking part in clinical trials at University College Hospital in London that aim to revolutionize future treatment.
Kate Lee, executive director of the Alzheimer’s Society, praised Phillips’ decision to share her diagnosis, which raised “much-needed awareness about dementia”.
“Our thoughts are with our Ambassador Fiona Phillips and her family after it was revealed that she has dementia,” she said.
“Fiona has spoken frequently about her parents’ experiences with dementia and her support of the Alzheimer’s Society has been extremely impactful and appreciated.
“The public release of such personal news is raising much-needed awareness about dementia and we are extremely grateful to Fiona.”
“We are here to offer our support to Fiona and her family and to everyone affected by dementia.”
It is estimated that at least five in 100 people with Alzheimer’s are under the age of 65.
This number may be higher because it can be more difficult to diagnose accurately when you are younger.
Those seeking help can visit alzheimers.org.uk or contact the support hotline on 0333 150 3456.
Symptoms in the later stages of Alzheimer’s disease
Because it is a progressive disease, the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease worsen over time.
Problems with memory, language, logical thinking and perception make everyday life difficult.
But it can also be that the person begins to behave unusually or atypically. For example, you can:
- Become restless or restless
- Walk up and down
- Call or
- Repeat the same question over and over again
- Respond aggressively
- Experience delusions or less commonly hallucinations
In the later stages of Alzheimer’s disease, the person may:
- They have increasing problems with daily life, such as B. Eating and drinking, which can lead to weight loss
- have problems with continence
- Late in the afternoon or early evening you become very restless or confused, sometimes referred to as sunset
- Experience changes in sleep patterns, such as sleeping more during the day
Source: Alzheimer’s UK