What are the early signs of dementia?
Dementia is a term that describes a variety of symptoms affecting a person’s cognitive functioning, including their ability to think, remember, and reason. It tends to get worse over time, so there are a few key early warning signs.
Dementia occurs when nerve cells in a person’s brain stop working. Although it typically happens in older people, it is not an inevitable part of aging. The brain’s natural deterioration happens to everyone as they grow older, but it occurs more quickly in people with dementia.
There are many different types of dementia. According to the National Institute on Aging, the most common is Alzheimer’s disease. Other types include:
- Lewy body dementia
- frontotemporal dementia
- vascular disorders
- mixed dementia, or a combination of types
There are 10 typical early signs of dementia. For a person to receive a diagnosis, they would usually experience two or more of these symptoms, and the symptoms would be severe enough to interfere with their daily life.
These early signs of dementia are:
1. A person developing dementia may have trouble remembering dates or events.
Memory loss is a common symptom of dementia.
A person with dementia may find it difficult to recall information they have recently learned, such as dates or events, or new information.
They may find they rely on friends and family or other memory aids for keeping track of things.
Most people occasionally forget things more frequently as they age. They can usually can recall them later if their memory loss is age-related and not due to dementia.
2. Difficulty planning or solving problems
A person with dementia may find it difficult to follow a plan, such as a recipe when cooking, or directions when driving.
Problem-solving may also get more challenging, such as when adding up numbers to paying bills.
3. Difficulty doing familiar tasks
A person with dementia may find it difficult to complete tasks they regularly do, such as changing settings on a television, operating a computer, making a cup of tea, or getting to a familiar location. This difficulty with familiar tasks could happen at home or work.
4. Being confused about time or place
Dementia can make it hard to judge the passing of time. People may also forget where they are at any time.
They may find it hard to understand events in the future or the past and may struggle with dates.
5. Challenges understanding visual information
Visual information can be challenging for a person with dementia. It can be hard to read, to judge distances, or work out the differences between colors.
Someone who usually drives or cycles may start to find these activities challenging.
6. Problems speaking or writing
Handwriting may become less legible as dementia progresses.
A person with dementia may find it hard to engage in conversations.
They may forget what they are saying or what somebody else has said. It can be difficult to enter a conversation.
People may also find their spelling, punctuation, and grammar get worse.
Some people’s handwriting becomes more difficult to read.
7. Misplacing things
A person with dementia may not be able to remember where they leave everyday objects, such as a remote control, important documents, cash, or their keys.
Misplacing possessions can be frustrating and may mean they accuse other people of stealing.
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8. Poor judgment or decision-making
It can be hard for someone with dementia to understand what is fair and reasonable. This may mean they pay too much for things, or become easily sure about buying things they do not need.
Some people with dementia also pay less attention to keeping themselves clean and presentable.
9. Withdrawal from socializing
A person with dementia may become uninterested in socializing with other people, whether in their home life or at work.
They may become withdrawn and not talk to others, or not pay attention when others are speaking to them. They may stop doing hobbies or sports that involve other people.
10. Changes in personality or mood
A person with dementia may experience mood swings or personality changes. For example, they may become irritable, depressed, fearful, or anxious.
They may also become more disinhibited or act inappropriately.
When to see a doctor
A person who experiences any of these symptoms or notices them in a loved one should speak to a medical professional.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, it is a myth that cognitive functioning always gets worse as a person gets older. Signs of cognitive decline may be dementia or another illness for which doctors can provide support.
Although there is no cure for dementia yet, a doctor can help slow the progression of the disease and ease the symptoms, and so improve a person’s quality of life.
MEDICAL WORDS in the news
VOCABULARY list with explanations
to describe – to explain something in full detail, to depict
a symptom – a sure sign of an illness or a disease
to affect – to have an effect on something, to put at risk
ability - skill, being able to do something, capability , aptitude
reason = logic, rationality, sanity, common sense
inevitable - unavoidable, something that cannot be avoided
aging, ageing – the process of growing old
deterioration – degradation, decay, decline, the downfall, the collapse
to occur – to happen, to occur, to emerge, to appear
vascular - : of, relating to, or affecting a channel for the conveyance of a body fluid (such as blood of an animal or sap of a plant) or a system of such channels
to interfere- to interrupt, to disrupt, to impede, to stop, to block, to make something difficult to do
severe- serious, risky, detrimental, harmful, pernicious
memory loss – the fact of losing the ability to remember and/or memorize
to recall – to remember, to retrieve information from one’s memory
memory aid – a tool, a device or a gadget to help a person remember
to keep track of something – to pay attention in order to remember and control things we do
due to – because of, owing to, thanks to , as a result of
challenging – difficult, tiring, puzzling , daunting
confused – puzzled, bewildered
to struggle - to find it difficult to cope with something physically or emotionally
legible – easy to read a person’s handwriting, readable ; illegible- opp.ant.
handwriting – using one’s hand to write other than a typewriter or a computer
to progress – to continue, to proceed, to go on
to misplace – to leave an object somewhere without being able to find it easily if at all
possessions – things a person owns/ possesses , his or her belongings
judgment – assessment, evaluation
reasonable – rational, logical, sensible
a withdrawal - introversion, becoming more introvert, distanced and not involved ; to withdraw v.
presentable- well presented, clean , neat and tidy, well turned out
to socialize – to mingle, to make friends, to befriend, to get along
mood swings – changeable mood too often, volatility ( similar to temper tantrums)
fearful – scared, afraid, terrified
anxious – suffering from anxiety , anxiety n.
irritable – prone to irritability, vexed, angry , exasperated
disinhibited – lacking in mental inhibition to do inappropriate things
to act – to behave, to do things, to have a certain conduct
inappropriately – in a way that is not appropriate, proper, well mannered, civil
to experience – to live through something especially unpleasant or traumatic
cognitive decline – the deterioration of a person’s mental faculties , the worsening of mental acuity
a cure – a remedy, a medicine, a health treatment to cure a disease
to improve – to make something better, to better, to enhance
prepared and submitted by angloland www.angloland.rs