Former TV presenter Wendy Williams diagnosed with aphasia and dementia

Former TV presenter Wendy Williams has been diagnosed with primary progressive aphasia and frontotemporal dementia (FTD), her care team has confirmed. 

Aphasia is a condition of the nervous system, which affects the ability to communicate, with patients often finding it difficult to express their thoughts and some losing their ability to speak, or write. 

FTD, meanwhile, is an incurable brain disorder which is caused by damage to the left side of the brain. It affects language and communication abilities. Its symptoms can get progressively worse, and can be managed – but there are no treatments to prevent the disorder or its progression, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. 

Williams, 59, fronted the popular talk show The Wendy Williams Show for over a decade. The series ended in June 2022 after multiple guest hosts filled in during her absence as she was dealing with health issues

Her team explained that they wanted to share the news “to correct inaccurate and hurtful rumours about her health”. The news arose a day after People Magazine covered a story about Williams allegedly being in a care facility in an unknown location where she was in a shocking health “spiral”. 

Her team wrote in a statement on 22 February: “As Wendy’s fans are aware, in the past, she has been open with the public about her medical struggles with Graves’ Disease and Lymphedema as well as other significant challenges related to her health.

“Over the past few years, questions have been raised at times about Wendy’s ability to process information and many have speculated about Wendy’s condition, particularly when she began to lose words, act erratically at times, and have difficulty understanding financial transactions.”

The team explained that her diagnosis was confirmed after “a battery of medical tests” which took place last year.

Williams’ care team said FTD has “already presented significant hurdles” but the presenter “is still able to do many things for herself”.

“Most importantly she maintains her trademark sense of humour and is receiving the care she requires to make sure she is protected and that her needs are addressed,” they wrote in the statement. 

You can visit the National Aphasia Association to learn more about the condition.

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