Early Signs and Symptoms
Dementia is an age related health issue in which there is deterioration in memory, thinking, behaviour and the ability to perform everyday activities. The fact is that it is not a disease as such, but a set of conditions characterised by impairment of two main brain functions, memory loss and judgement.
Signs and Symptoms Of Dementia
The most common early symptoms of dementia include:
- Memory loss, particularly difficulty in remembering recent events
- Increase in confusion
- Reduced concentration
- Personality or behaviour changes
- Apathy and withdrawal or depression
- Loss of ability to do everyday tasks
Warning signs of dementia
- Memory Loss
It’s common to forget things and important appointments due to dementia.
- Difficulty with tasks
The affected individual may get distracted and may forget to serve complete meal. A person with dementia may have trouble with all the steps involved in preparing a meal too.
A person with dementia may find it difficult to find the way back home or even be confused about the most common and known location.
- Language Problems
A person with dementia may find it difficult to remember simple words and may use inappropriate words. That may make sentences difficult to be understood. They may also have trouble understanding others.
- Changes in abstract thinking
Individuals with dementia may have trouble understanding numbers and managing finances.
- Poor judgement
People suffering from dementia may have difficulty making right decisions. These decisions can be as simple as what to wear in cold weather.
- Poor spatial skills
A person with dementia may have difficulty in finding distance or direction while driving.
- Loss of initiative
Individual suffering from Dementia may lose interest in activities which were being enjoyed earlier.
- Mood, Behavioural changes
Individuals with dementia may have quick mood swings, with confusion as well as suspicion.
Diagnosis of Dementia
If you find any of above symptoms then consulting doctor is recommended. A correct diagnosis is important for proper planning and treatment. Six types of assessment can help to confirm whether there is Dementia or not.
- Medical History
The doctor might enquire about past and ongoing medical problems. Even the family medical history, medications being taken and the problems with memory, thinking or behaviour that are cause of concern might be enquired about.
- Physical Examination
To help rule out other conditions, a physical examination may include tests of the senses, movement, and other physical functions like that of heart and lung.
- Laboratory tests
A variety of blood and urine tests might be conducted to identify possible illness responsible for dementia.
- Cognitive testing
A variety of tests are used to assess thinking abilities, including memory, language, attention and problem-solving.
- Brain imaging
Most of the times brain scans are conducted to look at the structure of the brain and rule out brain tumours or blood clots in the brain as the reason for symptoms.
- Psychiatric assessment
The doctor also goes for psychiatric assessment so as to identify treatable disorders, such as depression, anxiety or delusions that come as a package with dementia.
In order to treat dementia, doctors need to treat whatever is causing it. About 20% of the causes of dementia are reversible but otherwise it is a progressive disorder.
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