Fiona Phillips, 62, shares heartbreaking health update as she details reality of living with Alzheimer’s disease
Fiona Phillips has shared a heartbreaking health update after revealing she has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
The TV presenter, 62, is currently on a trial for a drug called miridesap – which is hoped could slow or even reverse the illness. It is not know if she is being given the drug or a placebo as part of the trial.
Speaking to The Mirror, Fiona told how she has experienced small lapses in her short term memory, such as forgetting what she was saying mid-conversation.
She said: ‘Oh it’s awful but I keep having these moments where I think,”‘what’s the word?” It doesn’t happen all the time.. just occasionally. And that’s just not me at all.
‘I can normally talk until next Christmas. It is just weird when it happens because I’m thinking, “why has my mouth stopped and I’m still thinking about the sentence?” It’s really weird.”
Candid: Fiona Phillips has shared a heartbreaking health update after revealing she has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease
Heartbreaking: Fiona told how she has experienced small lapses in her short term memory, such as forgetting what she was saying mid-conversation
Doctors at University College Hospital in London are still giving Fiona cognitive tests to see if the trial drugs she is taking could be stabilising – or reversing – her symptoms.
Neither Fiona nor her doctors know if she is on the real drug or a placebo as part of the trial.
The journalist heaped praise on her husband Martin Frizell – who is the editor of ITV’s This Morning – and described him as ‘amazing’.
The star, who feels she is in a ‘malaise’ at the moment, told how she has lost all interest in cooking and food and Martin now does all the cooking.
Fiona said she has been struggling with anxiety since her diagnosis and no longer gets out as much as she used to.
She still feels nervous about people knowing she has Alzheimer’s and sometimes forgets she went public with her diagnosis in July 2023.
Like many people with Alzheimer’s, Fiona has been prescribed anti-depressants.
Despite the diagnosis, Fiona insisted she is getting on with life and is still ‘doing nice things’.
She said: ‘Oh it’s awful but I keep having these moments where I think,”‘what’s the word?” It doesn’t happen all the time.. just occasionally. And that’s just not me at all’
Couple: The journalist heaped praise on her husband Martin Frizell – who is the editor of ITV’s This Morning – and described him as ‘amazing’ (pictured together in 2013)
In July, Fiona told the Mirror she had received the news of the devastating dementia disease, which killed both her parents, around a year ago, having suffered from months of brain fog and anxiety.
The couple explained how Fiona originally saw the onset of severe anxiety, which she believed was related to the Menopause.
But after symptoms such as brain fog continued despite the use of HRT, she went for further testing which ultimately ended in diagnosis with Alzheimer’s.
The former breakfast TV host insisted she is ‘still here’, adding: ‘This disease has ravaged my family and now it has come for me. And all over the country there are people of all different ages whose lives are being affected by it – it’s heartbreaking.
‘I just hope I can help find a cure which might make things better for others in the future.’
‘It’s something I might have thought I’d get at 80’, she said. ‘But I was still only 61 years old.
‘I felt more angry than anything else because this disease has already impacted my life in so many ways; my poor mum was crippled with it, then my dad, my grandparents, my uncle. It just keeps coming back for us.’
Her father Neville died in February 2012, while her mother Amy passed away with the disease in May 2006.
Career: Fiona presented GMTV for more than a decade before leaving the show (pictured alongside Eamonn Holmes)
Ms Phillips has frequently spoken out about the disease and campaigned for Alzheimer’s Research UK.
She told The Mirror: ‘I need to sort out an action plan that can be used if I ‘disappear’… Of course I fear inheriting the disease with my family history, and I sometimes wake up in the night feeling anxious and worried about it.
‘My parents were relatively young when they got it; my mum was in her early 50s, although at the time, we just put it down to her being eccentric.’
Fiona began her journalistic career working as a reporter for local radio stations such as Radio Mercury un Sussex and County Sound in Surrey.
Her big break came when she moved to GMTV as an entertainment correspondent in 1993, before being promoted to be their LA correspondent in December the same year.
She then fronted the breakfast show from 1997 to 2008, being the main anchor every Monday to Wednesday.
Fiona announced in 2008 she would be leaving the show for family reasons, presenting her last show in December.
This followed the death of her mother, and came after her father had also been diagnosed with the disease.
Please get in touch with Alzheimer’s Society if you need support on 0333 150 3456 or visit alzheimers.org.uk.
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