TV presenter Fiona Phillips has revealed she has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
The 62-year-old star, who is best known as the former host of ITV breakfast programme GMTV, was told she had the illness over a year ago after experiencing months of brain fog and anxiety.
In an exclusive interview with the Mirror where she works as a columnist, she said: “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.”
Phillips said she always feared she would be diagnosed with the condition because her family members had the disease.
She continued: “It’s something I might have thought I’d get at 80… 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.”
Phillips, who took part in Strictly Come Dancing in 2005, said she has worried people will “judge me and put labels” on me, adding: “It’s a horrible b***** secret to divulge.”
The mother-of-two is now undergoing trials for a revolutionary new drug which scientists hope could slow or even reverse the illness for millions of sufferers in the years to come.
She also hopes to give comfort to others by sharing news of clinical trials in which she is taking part which could revolutionise Alzheimer’s treatment.
Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that causes mild memory loss in its early stages.
In late-stage Alzheimer’s, individuals lose the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to their environment.