Bruce Willis Illness: When Did His Family Share the Last Info About His Health?
Bruce Willis, the iconic star of movies such as “Die Hard”, “Pulp Fiction” and “The Sixth Sense”, has been diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia (FTD), a rare and progressive brain disorder that affects his behavior, personality, language, and movement. His family has been open about his condition and has shared updates on his health since they first announced in 2022 that he had to retire from acting due to a disorder called aphasia, which is a symptom of FTD. Here are some questions and answers about Bruce Willis’ health in 2023.
Bruce Willis Illness: What Disease Does He Have?
According to his family, Bruce Willis’ condition has progressed since his initial diagnosis of aphasia, which is a symptom of FTD that affects how a person speaks and understands language. They said that challenges with communication are just one of the symptoms he faces and that they are relieved to have a clear diagnosis after years of uncertainty.
Frontotemporal dementia is a disease that causes the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain to shrink, leading to cognitive decline. It is different from Alzheimer’s disease, which mainly affects memory. FTD can manifest in various ways, such as changes in personality, loss of empathy, impulsivity, apathy, compulsive behaviors, and problems with speech and comprehension. FTD is also progressive, meaning it worsens over time and has no cure.
How Common is FTD and Who Gets It?
FTD is a rare disease that affects an estimated 50,000 to 60,000 people in the United States. It usually occurs in people between the ages of 45 and 65, but it can also affect younger or older people. FTD is more common in men than women.
The exact cause of FTD is unknown, but some cases are linked to genetic mutations that affect the proteins in the brain cells. However, most cases of FTD are sporadic, meaning they occur without a family history of the disease.
How is FTD Diagnosed and Treated?
There is no specific test for FTD. The diagnosis is based on the symptoms, medical history, physical examination, and brain imaging tests. Sometimes, a lumbar puncture (spinal tap) or a brain biopsy may be done to rule out other conditions.
There is no cure for FTD. The treatment focuses on managing the symptoms and providing support for the person with FTD and their family. Some medications may help with behavioral problems or depression, but they do not stop the progression of the disease. Non-drug therapies, such as speech therapy, occupational therapy, or physical therapy, may also help with communication or movement difficulties.
Bruce Willis’ family announced in February 2023 that he had been diagnosed with FTD after previously revealing that he had aphasia in March 2022. Aphasia is a disorder that affects how a person speaks and understands language. It can be caused by various conditions, including stroke, brain injury, or dementia.
According to his family’s statement on Instagram, Bruce Willis’ condition has “progressed” since his aphasia diagnosis and he faces “challenges with communication” as well as other symptoms of FTD. They said that “while this is painful, it is a relief to finally have a clear diagnosis” and that they are grateful for the “incredible outpouring of love, support and wonderful stories” they have received from his fans.
Emma Heming Willis said in an Instagram video, “I have to make a conscious effort every single day to live the best life that I can.”
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His family also shared some moments of his life on social media, showing that he still enjoys spending time with his loved ones. For example, in June 2023, he met his grandchild Louetta, who was born in April 2023 and is the daughter of his oldest daughter Rumer. Rumer wrote on Instagram that “seeing my father hold my daughter today was something I will treasure for the rest of my life” and that “his sweetness and love for her was so pure and beautiful“.
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His wife Emma Heming Willis also posted a selfie with him on her birthday in June 2023, along with a message encouraging her followers to support the caregivers in her life. She wrote that she has “deep appreciation and respect” for her husband as he continues to father their daughters Mabel and Evelyn, as his illness progresses. She said that “where it might not be ‘conventional,’ what he’s teaching them will span generations. Unconditional love, kindness, strength, compassion, patience, generosity, resilience”.
Emma Heming Willis posted a photo of herself with him on Instagram:
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What is the Prognosis and Life Expectancy for Someone With FTD?
The prognosis and life expectancy for someone with FTD vary depending on the type, severity, and progression of the disease. According to the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration (AFTD), the average life expectancy for someone with FTD is seven to 13 years after diagnosis. However, some people may live longer or shorter than this average.
There are also some factors that may influence the survival rate, such as age at onset, co-existing medical conditions, availability of care and support, and participation in clinical trials. As of now, there is no effective treatment or cure for FTD.
The current management of the disease focuses on alleviating the symptoms and improving the quality of life for the patients and their caregivers. Some of the interventions that may help include medication, behavioral therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, social services, and palliative care.