Courtesy of Blackdoctor.org

This is an originally article from Blackdoctor.org

Media personality Wendy Williams has been diagnosed with primary progressive aphasia and frontotemporal dementia, according to a press release from the former talk show host and her medical team. Multiple news reports state Williams is currently being treated in a facility.

Williams, 59, who hosted her popular talk show “The Wendy Williams” show for more than a decade, has been open in the past about her prolonged health struggles, which included Graves’ disease and a thyroid condition.

She was diagnosed with primary progressive aphasia and frontotemporal dementia in 2023 and those diagnoses have “enabled Wendy to receive the medical care she requires,” according to the press release. Primary progressive aphasia is a form of frontotemporal dementia.

“The decision to share this news was difficult and made after careful consideration, not only to advocate for understanding and compassion for Wendy, but to raise awareness about aphasia and frontotemporal dementia and support the thousands of others facing similar circumstances,” the press release also noted.

Courtesy of Astrid Stawiarz

Symptoms

Primary progressive aphasia symptoms vary based on which part of the brain’s language areas are involved. The condition has three types. Each type causes different symptoms. Symptoms develop over time and gradually get worse.

Semantic variant primary progressive aphasia

Symptoms include:

  • Trouble understanding spoken or written language, particularly single words.
  • Trouble understanding the meaning of words.
  • Not being able to name objects.
  • Trouble formulating sentences.

Logopenic variant primary progressive aphasia

Symptoms include:

  • Trouble understanding spoken language, particularly long sentences.
  • Pausing and hesitancy during speech while searching for words.
  • Not being able to repeat phrases or sentences.

Nonfluent-agrammatic variant primary progressive aphasia

Symptoms include:

  • Poor grammar in written and spoken language.
  • Trouble understanding complex sentences.
  • Using grammar incorrectly.
  • May have problems speaking. This includes making errors in speech sounds, known as apraxia of speech.

Primary progressive apraxia of speech is related to primary progressive aphasia, but people with this disorder don’t have trouble with language. They have problems speaking. This includes making errors in speech sound or having trouble saying words quickly.
“Wendy is still able to do many things for herself,” the press release continued. “Most importantly she maintains her trademark sense of humor and is receiving the care she requires to make sure she is protected and that her needs are addressed. She is appreciative of the many kind thoughts and good wishes being sent her way.”

Williams’ niece, Alex Finnie, recently opened up to “Good Morning America” about the upcoming Lifetime documentary “Where Is Wendy Williams?” which premieres Feb. 24 and

executive produced by Williams herself.

Finnie told “GMA” she asked her aunt why she wanted to do the documentary, which would touch on her health struggles, and if it was the right time.

“And she said, ‘Now is the perfect time because I wanna take ownership of my story,’” Finnie recalled.

But the film is already embattled in a lawsuit.

While speaking to PEOPLE for this week’s cover story about Williams, Mark Ford, the executive producer of the documentary, said that “Wendy’s attorneys and the guardianship attorneys were consulted and signed off on” the project.

“The film was signed off on by Wendy, her management, her attorneys, the guardianship,” he said. “They were aware of the filming all the way through. So, we did go by the book and get all the permissions that we needed to get. We went into this film thinking it was one thing, and the truth turned out to be another. Once we started seeing the truth of the situation, we couldn’t ignore it. And the film had to go in the direction of the truth.”

Williams claims in the documentary that her guardian, whose identity remains private in the film, has stolen money from her. Filmmakers say she didn’t provide evidence.

When the Lifetime documentary crew began filming in August 2022, it set out to follow Williams’ comeback as she prepared to launch a new podcast. The film quickly evolved into something entirely different, as the crew captured Williams in the throes of alcohol addiction and struggles with health issues including Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disorder that can cause bulging eyes, and lymphedema, a condition that causes swelling in her feet.

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