taken from Medical News Today

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