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Early Warning Signs of Dementia

Overview

Dementia is not a disease but a general term used to describe changes in brain function. It is not just about memory loss as it can also affect your personality and emotions. In some cases the dementia is considered reversible because it is due to a medication you are taking, insomnia, poor diet or an illness. If you recognize the early warning signs of dementia, see your physician to discuss a treatment plan. The early warning signs may vary by person because some forms progress slowly while others occur rapidly.

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Memory Loss

According to the National Institute on Aging, as you age there are normal changes to the brain that can cause mild loss of memory and forgetfulness. Occasionally misplacing items, forgetting someone’s name or having trouble learning a new task is expected as you grow older. However, if you start misplacing the same items on a regular basis, forget important events or appointments or constantly have difficulty retrieving common words, you should speak with your doctor. If on a regular basis you forget things like putting your coat on before going outside or that you have something cooking, it may be a warning sign. Your memory loss will actually interfere with everyday functioning vs. being an occasional occurrence. At this stage you may have amnestic mild cognitive impairment, which is a mild form of dementia. Your physician can perform an evaluation to see if your memory loss is part of aging or a signal that something is wrong.

Disorientation

Other common early warning signs of dementia include getting lost in familiar places, forgetting how to get home, being confused about the day, time or year and not being able to follow directions for simple tasks. There may be a tendency to not take care of yourself and forget to bathe, brush your teeth, dress appropriately and other common grooming skills. You may use poor judgment when making decisions and begin to have trouble managing your finances. These may be early warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease. In the case of Alzheimer’s disease the confusion or disorientation gets progressively worse over time vs. just happening once in a while.

Personality Changes

The Family Caregiver Alliance states that with some forms of dementia a warning sign may come in the form of unusual behavior. There may be episodes of being restless, lethargic, overly emotional, aggressive, disinterested, fearful, suspicious and easily distracted. Extreme mood swings may occur and you may react to a situation in a way that is totally out of character. Changes in personality may tend to occur when you are in unfamiliar places or feeling confused. All of the symptoms of dementia may also cause you to isolate yourself.

 

 

Via : livestrong

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