Stage : Mild Cognitive Impairment
Clear cognitive problems begin to manifest in stage 3. A few signs of stage 3 dementia include:
- Getting lost easily
- Noticeably poor performance at work
- Forgetting the names of family members and close friends
- Difficulty retaining information read in a book or passage
- Losing or misplacing important objects
- Difficulty concentrating
Patients often start to experience mild to moderate anxiety as these symptoms increasingly interfere with day to day life. Patients who may be in this stage of dementia are encouraged to have a clinical interview with a clinician for proper diagnosis.
Campaigning For A Better Deal
Without something meaningful and challenging to do in life, a persons health and wellbeing are likely to deteriorate more quickly. Many people with dementia including younger people with dementia are finding a valuable role in campaigning for a better deal for people with dementia from society and from the services they receive or may one day receive. Dementia campaigning organisations can give people a real sense of achievement and purpose in life.
The Scottish Dementia Working Group is one example. James McKillop set up the SDWG in 2002 after he was told he could not attend a dementia conference, even though he had dementia. He thought a campaign group might change that and raise awareness of the social exclusion that people affected by this condition often face. Now, the SDWG has over 100 members, all of whom have a diagnosis of dementia.
The SDWG seeks to influence policies and attitudes about dementia. The group employ a paid support worker to assist the smooth running of the group, which is based in Glasgow and has strong links with Alzheimer Scotland. The group is extremely active and members meet regularly. The group continues to evolve. It has produced DVDs to raise awareness among health professionals and the general public , a joke book, a website and an annual newsletter. A core group of members regularly speak at national and international conferences.
You Can’t Remember Anyone’s Name
Recalling information is another issue many people with dementia can struggle with, so consider it a red flag if you can no longer remember people’s names.
“When at a social gathering, you forget names of people you just met,” Dr. Schreiber says. Or you might not be able to remember a friend’s name when telling a story.
If you’ve always been bad with names then this shouldn’t be a cause for concern. But if you find yourself blanking on a more regular basis, it may be time to get yourself checked.
Recommended Reading: Does Meredith Grey Have Alzheimer’s
What Is Young Onset Dementia
Dementia is a degeneration of the brain that causes a progressive decline in peoples ability to think, reason, communicate and remember. Their personality, behaviour and mood can also be affected. Everyones experience of dementia is unique and the progression of the condition varies. Some symptoms are more likely to occur with certain types of dementia.
Dementia is described as young onset when symptoms develop before the age of 65, usually between 30 to 65 years of age. It is also referred to as early onset or working age dementia, but these terms can cause confusion. Early onset can be interpreted as the early stages of dementia and working age is now less defined as retirement age is more flexible.
As dementia is frequently, and wrongly, thought of as a condition that is just associated with old age, the early symptoms of young onset dementia are not always recognised and may be attributed to other causes including depression, stress, menopause, physical health problems and relationship issues. This can lead to a significant delay in getting an accurate diagnosis and access to appropriate support. This can have a negative impact on not just the person with dementias life but also the whole family.
About Young Onset Dementia
- Dementia is young onset when it affects people of working age, usually between 30 and 65 years old. It is also referred to as early onset or working-age dementia.
- Dementia is a degeneration of the brain that causes a progressive decline in peoples ability to think, reason, communicate and remember. Their personality, behaviour and mood can also be affected. Everyone’s experience of dementia is unique and the progression of the condition varies. Some symptoms are more likely to occur with certain types of dementia.
You May Like: Does Meredith Grey Have Alzheimer’s
Early Dementia Risk Factors Can Show Up In Teens
Alcohol abuse topped the list in large study of Swedish men
TUESDAY, Aug. 13 — Swedish researchers have identified nine risk factors — many occurring during a person’s teens — that are tied to early onset dementia.
The good news is that several of these symptoms and behaviors can be prevented or treated, experts noted.
Early onset dementia occurs before the age of 65. Alcohol abuse was the most important risk factor found in the study, said lead researcher Peter Nordstrom. “In contrast, the influence of hereditary factors, that is dementia in the parents, was very small.”
For the study, published online Aug. 12 in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, Nordstrom’s group collected data on men drafted into the Swedish military from mid-1969 through 1979. They were about 18 years old when they were drafted.
During the follow-up period of roughly 37 years, 487 men developed young-onset dementia at an average age of 54, the researchers found.
The risk factors identified “were multiplicative, most were potentially modifiable and could be traced to adolescence, suggesting excellent opportunities for early prevention,” said Nordstrom, from the department of community medicine and rehabilitation at Umea University
Alcohol intoxication, stroke, use of antipsychotic drugs, depression, drug abuse, a father with dementia, poor mental function as a teen, being short and having high blood pressure were the risk factors they found.
Difficulty Completing Familiar Tasks
Some people may experience a greater problem with concentration. Routine day-to-day tasks requiring critical thought may take longer as the disease progresses.
The ability to drive safely may also be called into question. If you or a loved one gets lost while driving a commonly traveled route, this may be a symptom of AD.
Stage : Moderate Dementia
Patients in stage 5 need some assistance in order to carry out their daily lives. The main sign for stage 5 dementia is the inability to remember major details such as the name of a close family member or a home address. Patients may become disoriented about the time and place, have trouble making decisions, and forget basic information about themselves, such as a telephone number or address.
While moderate dementia can interfere with basic functioning, patients at this stage do not need assistance with basic functions such as using the bathroom or eating. Patients also still have the ability to remember their own names and generally the names of spouses and children.
Physiological Changes With Dementia
A person with dementia will experience physiological changes that is, changes within their body as the dementia slowly affects different parts of the brain. Many people with dementia report that they tire easily this fatigue is due to the extra demands the illness places on their cognitive processes. Dementia affects the parietal lobe or the body-senses lobe so a person will often experience strong emotions and sensations within their body that they cannot explain or predict. For instance, Diana McGowin experienced changes to her sex drive: it increased so dramatically that it became a problem for her and her husband .
Dementia also affects the occipital lobe or the visual lobe. This is the bit that lets us see and also processes what we see. Damage to this area of the brain means that people are unable to interpret what they see properly, and see shapes and shadows instead of meaningful objects. It is why someone with dementia might see patterns on a carpet as a moving entity, such as spiders crawling on the floor. Visual disturbances are one of the earliest symptoms of dementia but they often go unnoticed by other people.
Read Also: Smelling Fart Prevents Cancer
Changes To Social Life
Another area of change is to a persons social network . People with dementia and their families often say, You find out who your friends are when youre diagnosed with dementia. They report feeling that people avoid them once they found out theyve had a diagnosis.
On a positive note, people often make new friends as and when they make contact with organisations like the Alzheimers Society, Lewy Body Society or Frontotemporal Dementia Support Group. Some couples report an improvement in their marriage following a diagnosis of dementia, perhaps because they both have something to rally around and deal with, particularly after what has usually been a long period of uncertainty and stress.
Your Behaviors & Moods Have Changed
While it’s totally normal to experience mood changes throughout the day, a major shift in your personality can be a sign of early-onset dementia. And this is something you may pick up on, or it may be pointed out by a friend.
As Dr. Tawwab says, “A significant shift in personality, like shy to outgoing, can represent a decrease in awareness of inhibitions,” which can be a sign of dementia-related changes in the brain. Usually, this is due to the loss of neurons, and the type of behavioral change involved can depend on the part of the brain affected.
When the frontal lobe is impacted, for example, a person might experience changes in their ability to focus or pay attention, since that’s the area responsible for those actions.
Don’t Miss: Does Smelling Farts Help Prevent Dementia
The Seven Stages Of Dementia
One of the most difficult things to hear about dementia is that, in most cases, dementia is irreversible and incurable. However, with an early diagnosis and proper care, the progression of some forms of dementia can be managed and slowed down. The cognitive decline that accompanies dementia conditions does not happen all at once – the progression of dementia can be divided into seven distinct, identifiable stages.
Learning about the stages of dementia can help with identifying signs and symptoms early on, as well as assisting sufferers and caretakers in knowing what to expect in further stages. The earlier dementia is diagnosed, the sooner treatment can start.
Dementia In Younger People
People whose symptoms started when they were under the age of 65 are often known as younger people with dementia or as having young-onset dementia. This is not for a biological reason, but is based on the fact that 65 was the usual age of retirement for many people.People sometimes use the terms early-onset dementia or working-age dementia. This information uses the term young-onset dementia.
Dementia is caused by a wide range of different diseases. This is similar for younger and older people , but there are important differences in how dementia affects younger people. These include the following:
- A wider range of diseases cause young-onset dementia.
- A younger person is much more likely to have a rarer form of dementia.
- Younger people with dementia are less likely to have memory loss as one of their first symptoms.
- Young-onset dementia is more likely to cause problems with movement, walking, co-ordination or balance.
- Young-onset dementia is more likely to be inherited this affects up to 10% of younger people with dementia.
- Many younger people with dementia dont have any other serious or long-term health conditions.
Understanding the genetics of dementia
Read more about the risk factors behind dementia that may be genetic or hereditary.
You May Like: Does Meredith Grey Have Alzheimer’s
Young Onset Vs Early Stage
It’s important to know that term “young onset dementia” does not mean the early stage of dementia. While most people diagnosed with young onset dementia are likely experiencing mild symptoms that indicate they are in the early stage, “young onset” and “early stage” have different meanings. A 57-year-old living with young onset dementia could already be in the late stage, while a 80-year-old just diagnosed with dementia might be in the early stage.
It’s also important to note that young onset dementia encompasses all types of dementia. If a person is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease â the most common type of dementia âunder the age of 65, then that person can be said to have young onset Alzheimer’s disease. Likewise, if a person is diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia under 65, then that person has young onset frontotemporal dementia.
However, each person living with young onset dementia has their own preferred term to describe their dementia â ask them what they prefer!
You Keep Getting Lost
The confusion associated with dementia can cause you to feel lost more often, possibly while on your way somewhere new. But it can even happen when heading somewhere you’ve been dozens of times.For example, as Dr. Schreiber says, “you may find that you are using your GPS to go to places that you knew how to get to previously.”
Of course, we all get turned around on occasion, so you won’t want to assume you have dementia just because you get lost while out driving or walking. And the same is true if you’ve always been bad with directions, or simply prefer sticking to a beaten path.
If you develop a new sense of disorientation, however, or find yourself getting lost on familiar roads, let a doctor know.
You May Like: What Is The Difference Between Dementia And Senility
Stage : Mild Dementia
At this stage, individuals may start to become socially withdrawn and show changes in personality and mood. Denial of symptoms as a defense mechanism is commonly seen in stage 4. Behaviors to look for include:
- Difficulty remembering things about one’s personal history
- Difficulty recognizing faces and people
In stage 4 dementia, individuals have no trouble recognizing familiar faces or traveling to familiar locations. However, patients in this stage will often avoid challenging situations in order to hide symptoms or prevent stress or anxiety.
How Does Young Onset Dementia Develop
The early symptoms of young onset dementia may not be memory loss. Symptoms can differ from one person to another depending on the type of dementia a person has, and which parts of the brain it affects.
Dementias affecting the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain are more common in younger people so it is more likely that the early symptoms may include changes in:
- vision and spatial awareness
In addition, the person may not recognise the changes or may be reluctant to accept there is anything wrong when they are otherwise fit and well, and so put off visiting their doctor.
You May Like: What Shampoos Cause Alzheimer’s
Teaching Training And Speaking To The Media
Increasingly people with dementia are becoming involved in teaching health and social care staff. Through talking to nursing, social work and medical students about their experiences of living with dementia they are helping to break down some of the negative stereotypes and stigma that still exist. See the article by Hope and others for more details of this development.
In a similar way, the Alzheimers Society invites members with dementia to become a media volunteer and have their stories appear in the media to help portray a realistic story about what its like to live with dementia.
You’re Suddenly Bad At Making Decisions
Indecisiveness isn’t always a sign of dementia. Some folks just aren’t good at making up their mind, and that’s OK. But a sudden inability to plan and organize, in a way that negatively impacts your life, may indicate a problem with your “executive function.”
As Dr. Fillit says, “This covers our ability to plan, organize, focus, and reason. You might find it difficult to make decisions or to focus enough to complete tasks with multiple steps, such as cooking or getting dressed.”
If this problem is out of character for you, or seems to be getting worse, let a doctor know.
Recommended Reading: Smelling Farts Prevents Cancer
When To See A Doctor
Forgetfulness and memory problems dont automatically point to dementia. These are normal parts of aging and can also occur due to other factors, such as fatigue. Still, you shouldnt ignore the symptoms. If you or someone you know is experiencing a number of dementia symptoms that arent improving, talk with a doctor.
They can refer you to a neurologist who can examine you or your loved ones physical and mental health and determine whether the symptoms result from dementia or another cognitive problem. The doctor may order:
- a complete series of memory and mental tests
- a neurological exam
- brain imaging tests
If youre concerned about your forgetfulness and dont already have a neurologist, you can view doctors in your area through the Healthline FindCare tool.
Dementia is more common in people over the age of 65, but it can also affect younger people. Early onset of the disease can begin when people are in their 30s, 40s, or 50s. With treatment and early diagnosis, you can slow the progression of the disease and maintain mental function. The treatments may include medications, cognitive training, and therapy.
Possible causes of dementia include:
Feeling Forgetful In Your 20s Could Be A Symptom Of These 5 Underlying Medical Conditions
When forgetting things at a young age of 20 or 30 becomes a pattern, you might need to reconsider your overall health.
We’ve all been in a situation where we forget the name of the person we are meeting, the hilarious movie weve seen a million times or even just where we kept those pesky car keys again. We also often notice our grandparents and parents forgetting things we told them every now and then. To forget things is a natural part of being human. After all, we arent machines.
Representational image.Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay.
But when forgetting things at a young age of 20 or 30 becomes a pattern, then you might need to reconsider your overall health. Here are five medical reasons that could be responsible for forgetfulness at a young age:
You May Like: Did Margaret Thatcher Have Dementia