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Early warning signs of dementia you shouldn't ignore

Many people with dementia can maintain their independence and enjoy life.

Early warning signs of dementia [Health]

Dementia represents a group of symptoms affecting memory, thinking, and social abilities severely enough to interfere with daily functioning.

It's not a specific disease, but several diseases can cause dementia. Understanding the early warning signs, the types of dementia, its symptoms, and available treatments can empower individuals and families to seek timely medical advice and support.

Dementia is a term used to describe a decline in cognitive function beyond what might be expected from normal ageing. It affects a person's ability to perform everyday activities. The condition is marked by deterioration in memory, reasoning, language, and other mental functions.

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Recognising the early signs of dementia can lead to an earlier diagnosis, which may help manage the disease more effectively. Here are some signs you shouldn't ignore:

  1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life: Forgetting recently learned information, important dates or events, and increasingly needing to rely on memory aids or family members for tasks they used to handle on their own.
  2. Difficulty planning or solving problems: Changes in the ability to develop and follow a plan or work with numbers, including trouble following a familiar recipe or keeping track of monthly bills.
  3. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships: This includes difficulty reading, judging distance, and determining colour or contrast, which may cause problems with driving.
  4. New problems with words in speaking or writing: Struggling to follow or join a conversation, stopping in the middle of a conversation and not knowing how to continue, or repeating themselves.
  5. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps: Putting things in unusual places, losing things, and being unable to go back over their steps to find them again.
  6. Decreased or poor judgment: Experiencing changes in judgment or decision-making, such as paying less attention to grooming or being easily misled.
  7. Withdrawal from work or social activities: Withdrawing from hobbies, social activities, work projects, or sports.
  8. Changes in mood and personality: The development of new feelings of confusion, suspicion, depression, fear, or anxiety, especially in unfamiliar situations.

Dementia encompasses a range of conditions, including:

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  • Alzheimer's disease: The most common type of dementia, characterised by a gradual worsening of memory and other cognitive functions.
  • Vascular dementia: Caused by damage to the vessels that supply blood to the brain, often after a stroke.
  • Lewy body dementia: Associated with abnormal deposits of a protein called alpha-synuclein in the brain.
  • Frontotemporal dementia: Involves damage to brain cells, especially in the front and side regions of the brain.
  • Mixed dementia: A condition in which a person has more than one type of dementia.

While there is no cure for most types of dementia, there are ways to manage its symptoms. Treatments may include medications to temporarily improve symptoms or slow their progression. Non-drug therapies, such as cognitive stimulation and physical activity, can also be beneficial. Support from medical professionals, family, and support groups can provide significant help to those affected.

This content was created with the help of an AI model and verified by the writer.

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