Dementia is a term used to describe a group of symptoms that impair a person’s cognitive performance. Memory loss and confusion are common early symptoms of the disease.

It happens when nerve cells in the brain stop working. It can impair their capacity to think, recall, and reason.

Although it is more common in older people, it is not an inevitable aspect of the ageing process. The brain deteriorates naturally as people age, but patients experience this degeneration more quickly.

Read on to discover more about the many varieties of the disease and the early warning symptoms of the condition.

Types of dementia

There are various assortments of this condition. The most frequent is Alzheimer’s disease. Other types include:

  • Lewy body dementia
  • Frontotemporal dementia, 
  • Vascular dementia, 
  • Mixed dementia, or a combination of the above

Also read: 7 Brain-Boosting Foods That Help Prevent Dementia

Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease is the most frequent type of dementia. It can induce memory loss, difficulty speaking, and impulsive conduct. The disease typically worsens with time.

Alzheimer’s symptoms include:

  • Forgetfulness
  • Decision-making difficulties
  • Having difficulty finishing tasks
  • Personality changes
  • Having difficulty speaking

Frontotemporal disease

This is an uncommon type of dementia that affects the front and sides of the brain. It has the potential to alter a person’s behaviour, language skills, or both.

A person suffering from the frontotemporal disease may experience:

  • Personality shifts
  • Alterations in emotional reactions
  • Planning difficulties
  • Difficulty speaking 
  • Difficulties interpreting sentences

10 early signs of dementia that one should know about to act on time:

Memory loss

Memory loss is a common symptom. A person with this disease may struggle to recall information they have just learned, and they may rely on friends and family or other memory aides to keep track of things.

Most people forget things more frequently as they become older. They can generally recall the knowledge later if their memory loss is age-related rather than dementia-related.

Difficulty planning and solving problems

A person suffering from dementia may struggle to stick to a plan. For example, people may struggle to follow a recipe when cooking or follow directions while driving.

Problem-solving may also become more difficult, such as when adding up amounts to pay bills.

Difficulty performing familiar tasks

A person suffering from this condition may find it difficult to do routine duties. For example, individuals may have difficulty adjusting television settings, operating a computer, preparing a cup of tea, or travelling to a familiar spot.

This difficulty with familiar duties could occur at home or at work.

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Confusion about time and place

Dementia can make it difficult to judge the passage of time. People may also forget where they are, how they got there, and why they are there.

They may struggle with dates and events in the future or past.

Difficulties comprehending visual information

Visual information can be challenging for a person suffering from dementia. It can be difficult to read, judge distances, and distinguish between colours.

Someone who generally drives or cycles may find these activities difficult. They may become disoriented while visiting familiar sites.

Problems with speaking and writing

Conversations may be difficult for someone suffering from dementia. They may forget what they are saying or what someone else has said, making it difficult to initiate a discussion.

People may also notice that their spelling, punctuation, and grammar deteriorate. A person’s handwriting can become difficult to understand at times.

Tendency to misplace items

A person suffering from dementia may be unable to recall where they left commonplace items such as a TV remote control, phone, wallet, and keys. Misplacing goods can be aggravating and may lead to a person suspecting others of stealing.

Poor judgement or decision making

Dementia patients may struggle to recognise what is fair and reasonable. This could imply they pay too much for goods or buy things they don’t need.

Some patients also pay less attention to personal hygiene or presentation.

Withdrawal from social activities

A person suffering from dementia may lose interest in associating with others at home and at work.

They may withdraw and refuse to interact with others or pay attention when others speak to them. They may also quit participating in hobbies, sports, or group activities.

Changes in personality or mood

Dementia patients may experience mood swings or personality changes. For example, they may become irritated, depressed, afraid, or nervous.

They may also become more disinhibited or act inappropriately.

Final thoughts

Anyone who has any of these symptoms or notices them in a loved one should consult a medical practitioner without any delay.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, it is a misconception that cognitive capacity constantly deteriorates with age. While slight forgetfulness is a typical part of the ageing process, when symptoms begin to interfere with a person’s daily life, they may be problematic. 

Signs of cognitive impairment may indicate dementia or another illness for which doctors can provide treatment.

Although there is no cure for this disease, a doctor can assist slow the growth of the disease and alleviate symptoms. This can improve a person’s quality of life.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. What age does dementia commonly start?

Ans. The risk increases with age, particularly after the age of 65. However, dementia is not a typical aspect of ageing, and it can arise in younger people as well.

Q2. What sign of dementia occurs first?

Ans. Memory loss is frequently the first and most noticeable symptom of early Alzheimer’s disease. It is also present, though less frequently, in early vascular dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). Memory loss is uncommon in early Frontotemporal dementia (FTD).

Q3. Can I test myself for early dementia?

Ans. There is no single test for dementia. A diagnosis is made using a mix of assessments and tests. These can be performed by a general practitioner or a specialist at a memory clinic or hospital.

Written by: Anjali Dharra

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