ITV newsreader Alastair Stewart announces dementia diagnosis

alastair stewart
Alastair Stewart announces dementia diagnosisMike Marsland - Getty Images

Newsreader Alastair Stewart has announced that he has been diagnosed with early onset vascular dementia.

After stepping down from ITV in 2020, Stewart worked for broadcaster GB News, before retiring from regular presenting in March 2023. He recently appeared again on the channel, where he shared more about his diagnosis.

"I mean, the headline story, and it is relatively dramatic, I suppose, is that about six, nine months ago, I began to feel, one of my favourite words, a bit discombobulated," Stewart explained.

"I wasn't becoming forgetful, but things like doing up your shoelaces properly – that's how I wear these lovely moccasins now – making sure your tie was straight, remembering that the call time for your programme is four o'clock and not five o'clock, not turning up early or late, and stuff like that."

alastair stewart
Mike Marsland - Getty Images

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Continuing, Stewart explained that after a visit to his GP, a scan revealed that he had been experiencing "minor strokes that are called infarct strokes" – but also that he had "no idea" that they had been occurring.

Stewart, who has hosted a range of current affairs programmes for more than 45 years, urged those with similar symptoms as him to see their GP.

He also gave a touching tribute to his wife Sally, saying that a condition such as dementia affects someone's partner disproportionately.

"We've been married for nearly half a century, and, you know, your life partner, your lover, all of those descriptions that are personal and intimate, that person is reduced – I choose my words very carefully – almost to a carer," he said.

The NHS website describes vascular dementia as "a common type of dementia caused by reduced blood flow to the brain", and the health service estimates that around 180,000 people are living with the condition in the UK.

alastair stewart
Chris Jackson - Getty Images

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Samantha Benham-Hermetz, the executive director at Alzheimer's Research UK, commended Stewart's "brave decision" to speak about his diagnosis publicly and raise awareness of living with dementia.

"By speaking so openly and honestly about his experience, we hope this will put a further spotlight on the desperate need to find new treatments for all forms of dementia," she said.

"As Alastair said, dementia doesn't only impact the person living with the condition, it has a heartbreaking impact on their loved ones too."

Stewart stepped down from his position as a presenter for ITV News in 2020, following "errors of judgement in [his] use of social media".

ITN did not confirm specific reasons behind Stewart's departure, but the network stated at the time that he had breached editorial guidelines.

More information about dementia is available via organisations including the NHS and Dementia UK. Resources for readers in the US are available via the National Institutes of Health.

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