David Attenborough health: Dynasties presenter is still ‘coming to terms’ with condition

Sir David Attenborough, 93, is the man behind the iconic voice narrating shows such as Planet Earth and more recently, Dynasties. He is best known for writing and presenting, in conjunction with the BBC Natural History Unit, the nine natural history documentary series forming the Life collection that together constitute a comprehensive survey of animal and plant life on Earth. Despite his growing success, David was struggling with a condition that meant he struggled with remembering things.


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Two years ago, while preparing for Blue Planet II, he admitted he was taking longer to write the script because of the struggles with recalling “proper names.

Speaking to The Sunday Telegraph 24 hours after a trip to the Jura Mountains in Switzerland, David said: “There were these searing yellow fields and I can’t think of the damn name.

I wanted to say something about it but I couldn’t and it wasn’t until we got quite close to Geneva that I thought, of course, oil seed rape.”

David admitted that he was “coming to terms” with the fact that it takes longer to find the right words and how he sometimes “runs into problems”.

Many medical problems can cause memory loss or other dementia-like symptoms. Most of these conditions can be treated.

Your GP can screen you for conditions that cause reversible memory impairment.

Coming to terms with memory loss and the possible onset of dementia can be difficult. Getting a prompt diagnosis is important, even if it’s challenging.

What causes memory loss

Memory loss can be a natural part of getting older. Sometimes it may be caused by something common and treatable like stress, anxiety or depression or sleeping problems.

Occasionally, memory loss can be a sign of something more serious, such as dementia.

Normal age-related memory loss doesn’t prevent a person from living a full, productive life.

What is dementia

The word “dementia” is an umbrella term used to describe a set of symptoms, including impairment in memory, reasoning, judgment, language and other thinking skills.

Dementia usually begins gradually, worsens over time and impairs a person’s abilities in work, social interactions and relationships.

Often, memory loss that disrupts your life is one of the first or more recognisable signs of dementia.

Other early signs might include asking the same questions repeatedly, forgetting common words when speaking, taking longer to complete familiar tasks, misplacing items in inappropriate places.

Most people forget things from time to time, but it’s strongly recommended to speak with your GP if you keep having problems with your memory.

It could be caused by something that can be treated. The NHS said: “See your GP if memory problems are affecting day-to-day living.

“It’s problems nothing serious but it’s best to get checked because any treatment you need may work better if it’s started early.

“Your GP will ask you some questions to try to find the cause of your memory problems.

“Your GP may refer you to a memory specialist for an in-depth assessment.”

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