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BBC broadcaster Fiona Phillips is best known for discussing the headlines, but she recently made the headlines herself when she revealed she had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
Aged just 62, this diagnosis may have come as a shock to some people as it is a disease that many typically associate with older people. But the good thing about Fiona speaking openly about her early onset Alzheimer’s is that it will hopefully help to spread awareness of the illness, so more people can recognise the symptoms and get the help and support they need.
The first potential sign of Alzheimer’s and the symptom most commonly associated with the disease is a lapse in memory. Forgetting certain words or names, forgetting where things are, asking questions repetitively, and having difficulty with numbers such as counting change – these are things we all do from time to time, but if these memory lapses start to happen more frequently, it could be dementia resulting from Alzheimer’s.
Fiona described her symptoms as “brain fog” which is a general term used when people experience difficulty concentrating or thinking quickly.
Alzheimer’s is progressive, so these issues with memory can worsen to the point where the individual can have difficulty making decisions, get lost in familiar places, and develop problems with speech and language.
Another key symptom of dementia resulting from Alzheimer’s is a noticeable change in mood – becoming more anxious or withdrawn, for example.
One key factor of Alzheimer’s is the build-up of two substances inside the brain – amyloid and tau. These can accumulate and form tiny structures called plaques and tangles, which make it harder for the brain to work properly. Overtime, nerve damage can occur until certain nerve cells in the brain are no longer able to carry messages between different parts of the brain, and to other parts of the body as they should, resulting in problems with memory and cognition.
Sadly, Alzheimer’s can run in the family, so if you have a parent or sibling that has Alzheimer’s, you have a higher risk of being diagnosed with the disease yourself. That said, there are certain lifestyle changes you can make to help to protect your brain and reduce your risk of developing dementia:
If you are suffering from memory issues or you’re worried about a family member, make an appointment at YourGP. Research into the disease is ongoing, and there is lots of help and support available – from medication to psychological support.
Use our convenient online booking form, call 0131 225 5656 or email our reception team at firstname.lastname@example.org to book an appointment at a time that suits you.
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