What are Some of the Early Signs of Dementia?

In the beginning, at the onset of dementia, the signs are very subtle.  The symptoms may not even seem very unusual or abnormal.  For this reason, we have drawn up 10 of the early signs of dementia.  Each symptom is of itself more or less insignificant, but when all ten of the symptoms appear on a regular basis, it may be time to consult a doctor.  Only a doctor can give an accurate assessment of the mental health of the person in question.

A List of Signs to be Aware of:

  • Regular and increasing confusion
  • Problems with memory, particularly in remembering recent events
  • An inability to concentrate
  • Personality changes
  • Behavioral changes
  • Withdrawal
  • Depression or apathy
  • Inability to perform basic tasks
  • Incoherent speech
  • Inability to understand what people are saying

These are 10 early signs of dementia.  However, the symptoms of individuals may vary.  Because symptoms usually develop gradually, they can go unnoticed.  Family members may even accept changes in behavior as a normal result of the aging process.  In other cases, family members may be slow to respond, even though they sense that something is wrong.

Memory loss

As we age, it’s quite normal to occasionally gap on things like appointments and then later remember them.The difference with an individual who has dementia is that they will forget things more frequently andoften not remember them at all.

Difficulty Performing Basic Tasks

It’s normal to forget to serve part of a meal because you’ve been distracted.However, someone who has dementia may become confused with every step involved in preparing and/or serving a meal.

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Someone who has dementia might find it difficult to remember how to get to a familiar place, or they may feel confused about where they are, or even when they are, thinking they’re back in the past.

Language Difficulties

We’ve all experienced a little difficulty in finding the correct vocabulary word at times. Someone who has dementia will often forget simple words. They may use an inappropriate word which makes them sound incoherent. In addition, they can often misunderstand others.

Problems with Abstract Thinking

Anyone can have problems managing their finances.But, someone who has dementia may not even know what the numbers mean or what they’re supposed to do with them.

Poor Judgement

In everyday life, we use our judgement to make decisions, such as what clothes to put on for different occasions or weather conditions. We take this ability for granted but when it’sweakened by dementia, the individual may not be able to make simple decisions.

Depleted Spatial Skills

When driving, a person with dementia can be unable to accurate judge distance or direction.

Misplacing Items

It’s normal to misplace a wallet or forget where you left the keys.  However, someone with dementia may not remember what the keys are for.

Personality Changes

Depending on what part of the brain is being affected by the dementia, the individual can have drastic mood swings without any reason. The person with dementia may suddenly become suspicious, withdrawn, or confused. In other case, they can become more outgoing than they were before.

Behavioral Changes

If your mother or a close relative is suffering from dementia, their behavior may seem to change. They may not be as warm and attentive as before or they may have some new habits that can be puzzling to someone who has known them a long time.

Lack of Motivation

It is normal to lose interest in some activities. However, a person who has dementia may become unmotivated to do much at all. They’ll need encouragement to get back in the game.

Diagnosis of Dementia

It’s critical to get a diagnosis at the earliest stage of dementia. If a diagnosis of dementia is confirmed, treatment, support and future plans can make all the difference in the patient’s quality of life. And, since a doctor is the only one who can provide a correct diagnosis, the first thing to do is to talk with the individual’s personal doctor. They may recommend visiting a Cognitive Dementia and Memory Service (CDAMS) clinic.

A Thorough Medical Assessment

In order to ascertain whether the patient has dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, or possibly another type of dementia or disease, a complete medical assessment will be required. Typically, there are six types of assessments that will either confirm or exclude the disease.

A General Physical Examination

This will probably include tests of the senses, movement, and the functions of the lungs and heart. The doctor will want to rule out all other possibilities.

A Look at Their Medical History

When looking at the patient’s medical history, the doctor may want to speak to a family member or someone who can supply all the required information they’ll need. They will probably ask about current and past medical problems, medications they’re taking. In addition, they want to know about family medical history and any and all problems concerning memory, thinking or behavior.

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Lab Tests

The laboratory tests will probably be blood and urine tests to identify any other possible illnesses that might be causing the symptoms. The doctor may also request a sample of spinal fluid to analyze.

A Cognitive Test

There are several tests that can be used to assess memory, problem-solving, coherence, focus, and language. These tests will not only uncover problem areas but identify the root case of the dementia and how far it has progressed.

Brain Scans

Brain imaging looks at the structure of the brain. This can discover or rule out brain tumors or blood clots in the brain as a possible cause of symptoms. Various brain scans are able to detect brain tissue loss and the identifying patterns that different types of dementia cause. The amount of activity in different parts of the brain also help to indicate what type of dementia is present.

Psychiatric Assessment

A psychiatrist can identify treatable disorders, such as depression and also help manage any psychiatric symptoms that exist, such as anxiety or delusions that may accompany dementia.