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Wendy Williams diagnosed with aphasia and dementia

Published Fri Feb 23 2024 By Nancy
Wendy Williams diagnosed with aphasia and dementia

Wendy Williams' medical care team has revealed that she has been diagnosed with primary progressive aphasia and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). 

The former talk show host, aged 59, was diagnosed last year, and her medical team noted that these conditions have posed significant challenges in Wendy's life.

Wendy Williams is posing for a picture.
Wendy Williams is posing for a picture.
Photo Source: Instagram

"The team emphasized in a statement that Wendy maintains her independence in various facets of her life. They highlighted her enduring sense of humor, which remains her trademark, and assured her that she is receiving the necessary care to ensure her well-being and address her needs. Wendy is grateful for the outpouring of kind thoughts and well wishes she has received." 

According to Mayo Clinic, aphasia deprives individuals of their ability to communicate effectively, impacting both spoken and written language skills. It can occur suddenly after a stroke or head injury or develop gradually due to conditions like a slow-growing brain tumor or degenerative diseases. 

Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is an umbrella term for a group of brain disorders that primarily affect the frontal and temporal lobes. This leads to atrophy in these areas, resulting in speech difficulties, emotional instability, and alterations in personality.

Additional symptoms may involve a decline in motor abilities such as difficulty walking, swallowing, or experiencing muscle spasms. These symptoms tend to progress over time. While individuals usually start noticing symptoms between the ages of 40 and 65, the condition can also affect younger people. It is the most prevalent form of dementia among individuals under the age of 60. 

Since her diagnosis of aphasia and FTD, Williams has been collaborating with specialists at Weill Cornell Medicine. FTD is the same disease that Bruce Willis was diagnosed with last year, following a prior diagnosis of aphasia in 2022.

Williams has faced several persistent health challenges, including Graves' disease, lymphedema, and struggles with alcohol abuse. 

In April 2023, she sought treatment for "cognitive issues" and was assigned a court-appointed legal guardian. According to her sister Wanda Finnie and niece Alex, there has been a noticeable improvement in her condition, as shared in this week's cover story with PEOPLE

Alex remarked, "She sounds great. To hear my aunt now, in terms of how clear and focused she is on family and facing her physical, mental, and emotional state, it's like a complete turnaround." 

Wanda also noted the change, stating, "I don't know what's working, but when she reached out to me, she was remarkably different from what we saw in that documentary," referring to Where Is Wendy Williams?, Lifetime's documentary filmed between August 2022 and April 2023. 

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