Wendy Williams Diagnosed With Aphasia, Dementia

Wendy Williams' team revealed that the former TV personality was diagnosed with primary progressive aphasia and frontotemporal dementia (FTD).

Williams, 59, received the diagnosis last year after undergoing extensive medical testing. She decided to reveal her diagnosis to raise awareness about the conditions and support the thousands of others facing similar fate.

Aphasia is a condition that affects language and communication abilities, while FTD is a progressive disorder impacting behavior and cognitive functions. Both conditions have already presented significant hurdles in Williams' life.

"Unfortunately, many individuals diagnosed with aphasia and frontotemporal dementia face stigma and misunderstanding, particularly when they begin to exhibit behavioral changes but have not yet received a diagnosis," the team said in a statement.

Williams stepped down as a host of The Wendy Williams Show due to her medical issues in 2021. She was openly sharing her struggles with Graves' disease, an autoimmune disorder that leads to an overactive thyroid gland, and lymphedema, a build-up of lymph fluid in the fatty tissues under the skin.

Williams is still able to do many things for herself and maintains her sense of humor while receiving necessary care, according to her team.

The announcement comes days before the release of the two-part documentary Where Is Wendy Williams? which looks into her life after she ended her talk show.

What is frontotemporal dementia?

Actor Bruce Willis revealed the diagnosis of FDT in February 2023, a year after stepping away from acting due to aphasia.

Frontotemporal dementia, also known as frontotemporal disorders, is a rare condition that results from damage to neurons in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain.

The FDT starts earlier compared to other forms of dementia, as about 60% of people with the condition are 45 to 64 years old.

The possible symptoms of frontotemporal dementia include unusual behaviors, emotional problems, trouble communicating, and difficulty with work or walking.

FDT has no cure, and there are no treatments to slow or stop the progression of the disease.

What is primary progressive aphasia?

Primary progressive aphasia (PPA) is a frontotemporal disorder resulting from damage to parts of the brain responsible for language.

Aphasia usually occurs suddenly, often after a stroke or head injury. It can also develop slowly as a result of a brain tumor or a progressive neurological disease.

PPA patients may have trouble expressing their thoughts, understanding or finding words, and can have slurred speech. Some may become mute or unable to speak.

Many patients with PPA develop symptoms of dementia, such as problems with memory, reasoning, and judgment. Some patients with PPA may also experience significant behavioral changes as the disease progresses.

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