Much-loved British actress Dame Barbara Windsor revealed her heartbreaking Alzheimer’s diagnosis earlier this year, but now the 81-year-old Eastenders icon has had to have a pacemaker fitted after complications with her Alzheimer’s medication left her feeling dizzy and unable to catch her breath.
Dame Barbara’s husband Scott Mitchell, 55, told The Sun that the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang star underwent the procedure in August after she was rushed to hospital, having collapsed at their home in London, with doctors attributing the health problems to medication she was taking for her Alzheimer’s.
“She’s looking forward to getting out on the town again soon,” he told the UK newspaper. “Barbara was suffering from a low heart rate which doctors thought was being caused by some of her medication.
“She was getting very dizzy and short of breath and fainted one day at home, so she had an eight-day hospital spell about four weeks ago and they’ve put in a pacemaker for her.”
“But she’s recovering really well and is looking forward to getting out on the town again soon,” he added.
Scott broke the news that Windsor was suffering Alzheimer’s back in May, telling The Sun about the moment that his wife found out the shocking news.
At the time, he said: “When the doctor told us, she began crying then held it back, stretched her hand out to me and mouthed, ‘I’m so sorry…’ I squeezed her hand back and said, ‘Don’t worry, we’ll be OK’.”
The UK national treasure, who played Peggy Mitchell in the iconic BBC soap opera for decades, was initially diagnosed with the degenerative brain disease more than four years ago, but kept her battle a secret until Scott spoke out earlier this year, over fears that they would be judged when they’re out together.
Barbara began struggling to remember her lines for television shows and, after undergoing a brain scan and mental agility tests, she received the heartbreaking diagnosis that she had the progressive disease, which can affect multiple brain functions including memory.
Globally, as many as 44 million people are living with Alzheimer’s or related dementia. It typically impacts one in 10 people over the age of 65, although that number increases to one in three for people over the age of 85.