- By Rachel Russell
- BBC news
Fiona Phillips said she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at age 62.
The journalist and broadcaster discovered she had the disease a year ago after months of brain fog and anxiety, she said. mirror.
Phillips, a former host of ITV’s GMTV breakfast show, said dementia “destroyed” her family after her mother, father and uncle also contracted the disease.
She added that she is “getting started with it.”
The mother-of-two, who writes a column for the Daily Mirror, told editor Alison Phillips she was trying to “get on” as usual, but wanted to share her story to help others.
She said that although she feared she would one day be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, she was shocked when her doctor told her that her test results showed the disease was in its early stages.
“It’s something I probably thought I’d achieve by the age of 80,” she said.
“But I’m still only 61 years old.”
The presenter said she felt “angrier than anything else” because the illness had affected her family life.
“My poor mother was disabled because of it, then my father, my grandparents, my uncle. The disease kept coming back to us,” she said.
Phillips said she is undergoing trials at University College Hospital in London for a drug called Miridesap, which has the potential to slow the effects of the disease.
She also described how her husband Martin Frizell, editor of ITV’s This Morning, helped her take her medication.
She said: “Poor Martin, he injected me in the stomach every day, he was amazing.
“The drugs are brand new and they’re expecting a lot from this and so am I.”
In the meantime, she said, “I just got on with it, I didn’t pay attention to it.
“I just do what I usually do. I don’t want to not work, fiddle with my fingers or watch TV. I just love doing things.”
Ms Phillips currently writes a columnist for the Daily Mirror and has previously been in charge of GMTV for over a decade since 1997.
She also participated in the BBC’s Strict Come Dancing in 2005.
In the past, she has publicly spoken about her parents’ battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
Kate Lee, executive director of the Alzheimer’s Association, praised Phillips’ decision to share the diagnosis, which raised “much-needed awareness about dementia”.
Hilary Evans, chief executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “It takes such courage to go public with a diagnosis and Fiona knows better than most how much good that can do.
“Awareness is very important and Fiona’s bravery will help those who are going through their own dementia journey.”
She added that there are around 70,800 people under the age of 65 with dementia in the UK.