ITV star Fiona Phillips says GMTV career might have contributed to Alzheimer’s

Fiona Phillips opens up about her Alzheimer’s diagnosis

Former breakfast host Fiona Phillips has admitted that she thinks her Alzheimer’s diagnosis could have been partially brought on by her GMTV career.

The ITV presenter, 62, believes that the gruelling early morning starts she endured for over a decade could be the reason why she has developed the disease.

Alzheimer’s disease causes the brain to shrink and brain cells to eventually die. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia”.

As it progresses it eventually causes a gradual decline in “memory, thinking, behaviour and social skills”.

Fiona spent 15 years getting up at 3:30am to front the ITV show.

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In an interview that will feature in the January Christmas edition of Woman & Home magazine, she discussed her diagnosis and the heartbreak it has caused for her family.

She looked back at her successful broadcasting career on GMTV [which has since been replaced by Good Morning Britain] and said: “I wonder if all the years of getting up so early contributed to me developing Alzheimer’s so young”.

Revealing the impact of the news Fiona added: “Getting my diagnosis was devastating.”

She is now taking part in a clinical trial for a new treatment and said the “signs are positive”.

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The former breakfast presenter said that the trial “involves a brand-new drug and a placebo”.

Although she revealed: “I have no idea which one I am on”.

Despite the diagnosis, Fiona says she is trying to keep positive and is “hopeful”.

“When I went for my six-month check-up, they did cognitive tests to see where my brain was at, which showed I was in the same place as I was the previous year”.

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The mother of two admitted that she is “hopeful” that the drug is “holding” the disease where it is and not progressing.

Fiona has two sons, Nathaniel, 24, and Mackenzie, 21, with husband Martin Frizell whom she married in 1997. He is also the boss of This Morning.

She added: “I’m not giving it any space in my life at the moment. I’ve still got so much I want to do.

“I am determined to live the best life I can.”

Discussing her children, she feared they may be frightened but admitted they have been “incredible”.

She confessed: “My sons have been incredible about my diagnosis.

“I thought they may be scared or treat me differently, but I couldn’t have asked for a better reaction.

“They’re much more affectionate with me now, and they’ll sit and cuddle me while we’re watching telly. It’s lovely.”

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