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  1. Dementia Symptoms | Alzheimer's Research UK
  2. The early stages of dementia
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The following strategies can help. Regular exercise.

Dementia Symptoms | Alzheimer's Research UK

Starting a regular exercise routine, including cardio and strength training, may significantly reduce your risk of developing dementia. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most days of the week. Social engagement. The more socially active you are, the more you connect face-to-face with others, the stronger your memory and cognition is likely to be.

Healthy diet.


Brain-healthy eating habits, such as those promoted in the Mediterranean diet, can help reduce inflammation, protect neurons, and promote better communication between brain cells. Daily servings of fruit and vegetables and weekly servings of fish may help to lower your risk for dementia. Mental stimulation. By continuing to learn new things and challenge your brain, you can strengthen your cognitive skills, stay mentally sharp, and may delay or prevent dementia symptoms.

Quality sleep. Getting quality sleep may help to flush out brain toxins and avoid the build-up of damaging plaques. Stress management. Unchecked stress takes a heavy toll on the brain, shrinking a key memory area, hampering nerve cell growth, and worsening dementia symptoms. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. What is Dementia? Authors: Monika White, Ph. Last updated: August Share Your Experience. But the more you understand about the condition, the more you can do to improve the outcome.

What is dementia? Signs and symptoms of dementia As we age, many of us experience lapses in memory. Common signs and symptoms include : Memory loss Impaired judgement Difficulties with abstract thinking Faulty reasoning Inappropriate behavior. Loss of communication skills Disorientation to time and place Gait, motor, and balance problems Neglect of personal care and safety Hallucinations, paranoia, agitation.

Someone with dementia symptoms may: repeatedly ask the same questions become lost or disoriented in familiar places be unable to follow directions be disoriented about the date or time of day not recognize or be confused about familiar people have difficulty with routine tasks such as paying the bills neglect personal safety, hygiene, and nutrition. Early dementia or mild cognitive impairment MCI Early dementia, also known as mild cognitive impairment MCI , involves problems with memory, language, or other cognitive functions.

Symptoms of MCI include: Frequently losing or misplacing things Frequently forgetting conversations, appointments, or events Difficulty remembering the names of new acquaintances Difficulty following the flow of a conversation. Recommended video. Other resources. Worldwide support. Print PDF.

Vascular Dementia. Pin Share Has HelpGuide Helped You? Yes No. Yes Yes, anonymously No. This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. You or a loved one complain about memory loss but are able to provide detailed examples of forgetfulness. You complain of memory loss only if asked but are unable to recall specific instances. The early signs of dementia are very subtle and vague, and may not be immediately obvious. Early symptoms also depend on the type of dementia and vary a great deal from person to person. Early symptoms of dementia Although the early signs vary, common early symptoms of dementia include: memory problems, particularly remembering recent events increasing confusion reduced concentration personality or behaviour changes apathy and withdrawal or depression loss of ability to do everyday tasks.

Sometimes, people fail to recognise that these symptoms indicate that something is wrong. They may mistakenly assume that such behaviour is a normal part of the ageing process. Symptoms may also develop gradually and go unnoticed for a long time. Also, some people may refuse to act, even when they know something is wrong.

Ten warning signs of dementia Go through the following checklist of the common symptoms of dementia. If the person affected has several of these signs, consult a doctor for a complete assessment. A person with dementia may forget things more often or not remember them at all. Dementia and difficulty with tasks People can get distracted and they may forget to serve part of a meal. A person with dementia may have trouble with all the steps involved in preparing a meal.

Dementia and disorientation A person with dementia may have difficulty finding their way to a familiar place or feel confused about where they are, or think they are back in some past time of their life. Dementia and language problems Everyone has trouble finding the right word sometimes, but a person with dementia may forget simple words or substitute inappropriate words, making sentences difficult to understand. They may also have trouble understanding others.

Dementia and changes in abstract thinking Managing finances can be difficult for anyone, but a person with dementia may have trouble knowing what the numbers mean or what to do with them. Dementia and poor judgement Many activities require good judgement.

The early stages of dementia

When this ability is affected by dementia, the person may have difficulty making appropriate decisions, such as what to wear in cold weather. Dementia and poor spatial skills A person with dementia may have difficulty judging distance or direction when driving a car. Dementia and misplacing things Anyone can temporarily misplace a wallet or keys. A person with dementia may not know what the keys are for. Dementia and mood, personality or behaviour changes Everyone becomes sad or moody from time to time. Someone with dementia can have rapid mood swings, for no apparent reason.

They can become confused, suspicious or withdrawn. Some can become disinhibited or more outgoing. Dementia and loss of initiative It is normal to tire of some activities. Dementia may cause a person to lose interest in previously enjoyed activities or require cues prompting them to become involved.

Conditions with symptoms similar to dementia Remember that many conditions have symptoms similar to dementia, so it is important not to assume that someone has dementia just because some of the above symptoms are present. Strokes, depression, excessive long-term alcohol consumption, infections, hormonal disorders, nutritional deficiencies and brain tumours can all cause dementia-like symptoms.

Many of these conditions can be treated. Only a doctor can diagnose dementia. A correct diagnosis of dementia at an early stage is important for early treatment, support and planning for the future. Six types of assessment can help to confirm or exclude a diagnosis of dementia.

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Medical history The doctor will ask about past and current medical problems, family medical history, any medications being taken and the problems with memory, thinking or behaviour that are causing concern. The doctor may also wish to speak to a close family member who can help provide all the necessary information. Physical examination To help rule out other conditions, a physical examination may include tests of the senses, movement, and heart and lung function.

Laboratory tests These will include a variety of blood and urine tests to identify any possible illness that could be responsible for the symptoms. In some cases, a small sample of spinal fluid may be collected for testing. Cognitive testing A variety of tests are used to assess thinking abilities, including memory, language, attention and problem-solving. This can help identify specific problem areas, which in turn helps identify the underlying cause or the type of dementia. Brain imaging There are certain scans that look at the structure of the brain and are used to rule out brain tumours or blood clots in the brain as the reason for symptoms.

Alzheimer's Disease & Dementia, explained by Frank Longo, MD, PhD, at Stanford Hospital

Some scans can also detect patterns of brain tissue loss that can differentiate between different types of dementia. Other types of scans look at how active certain parts of the brain are and can also help determine the type of dementia. Psychiatric assessment Psychiatric assessment helps to identify treatable disorders, such as depression and to manage any psychiatric symptoms, such as anxiety or delusions that may occur along with dementia.

Some people may be resistant to the idea of visiting a doctor. In some cases, people do not realise, or else they deny, that there is anything wrong with them. This can be due to the brain changes of dementia that interfere with the ability to recognise or appreciate the changes occurring. Others have an insight of the changes, but may be afraid of having their fears confirmed. One of the most effective ways to overcome this problem is to find another reason for a visit to the doctor.

Perhaps suggest a check-up for a symptom that the person is willing to acknowledge, such as blood pressure, or suggest a review of a long-term condition or medication.

Another way is to suggest that it is time for both of you to have a physical check-up. Any expressed anxiety by the person is an excellent opportunity to suggest a visit to the doctor. Be sure to provide a lot of reassurance. A calm, caring attitude at this time can help overcome the person's very real worries and fears.