Thursday, June 16, 2022
HomeEditor PicksHow Early Can Dementia Start

How Early Can Dementia Start

Word Finding And Communication

early onset dementia

Communication difficulties are often a common warning sign for dementia sufferers, but it can be more difficult to notice this trend if Dad is a bit soft-spoken or a man of few words. You may have to look a bit harder to notice a change, but if Dad cannot find the word for a common thing, or if he seems unable to keep up with conversation around him, bring it up at the next doctor appointment. This change could indicate dementia, or a hearing loss issue; either problem should be addressed.

Decreased Or Poor Judgement

This is different to: making a bad decision once in a while.

Changes in decision-making or judgement might include dealing with money or paying less attention to keeping clean and groomed.  This can be one of the more obvious parts of your observation list for early signs of dementia.

Look out for signs that your parent might not be looking after themselves the way they used to.  They may forget to wash regularly, wear the same clothes continuously throughout the week, forget to brush their teeth, forget to brush their hair, shave or to visit the toilet.

Its vital to make sure your parent is keeping up with any regular appointments they may have. Make sure theyre keeping up with their health and hygiene routines with our guide to keeping healthy.

Changes In Mood Or Emotion

The person may be more anxious, frightened or sad, and so at risk of depression. It is also common to become more irritable perhaps in frustration at lost abilities or easily upset. A person can often be more withdrawn, lack self-confidence and lose interest in hobbies or people.

Changes in behaviour are not common in early-stage dementia, other than in FTD. A person with behavioural variant FTD may lose their inhibitions and behave in socially inappropriate ways. They may also act impulsively and lose empathy for others.

Significant physical changes at this stage tend to be limited to DLB, where problems with movement are similar to Parkinsons disease. If someone with vascular or mixed dementia has a stroke, this can lead to weak limbs on one side.

Need help finding dementia information?

Everybody forgets things from time to time. But if you or other people are noticing that memory problems are getting worse, or affecting everyday life, it could be a sign of dementia.

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:

Loss Of Daily Life Skills

Early Dementia Signs and Medicaid Planning

A home that may not be as well kept as usual may be a sign that the person living there has dementia. They may lose the ability to do many of the things they normally do themselves, such as preparing meals, household chores and eating and drinking properly.

They may also struggle to maintain their personal hygiene and getting dressed. Deciding what to wear, how to put things on and in the right order may become increasingly difficult. Getting around the house without walking into furniture and other items may also be a problem.

How Accurate Is It

This quiz is NOT a diagnostic tool. Mental health disorders can only be diagnosed by licensed healthcare professionals.

Psycom believes assessments can be a valuable first step toward getting treatment. All too often people stop short of seeking help out of fear their concerns arent legitimate or severe enough to warrant professional intervention.

If you think you or someone you care about may be suffering from dementia or any other mental health condition, PsyCom.net strongly recommends that you seek help from a mental health professional in order to receive a proper diagnosis and support. For those in crisis, we have compiled a list of resources where you may be able to find additional help at: https://www.psycom.net/get-help-mental-health.

What To Know About Dementia

Here’s what you should know about about dementia signs, symptoms, causes, and coping:

  • Dementia is a catchall term to describe the symptoms of the group of brain disorders associated with cognitive decline.
  • Types of dementia include Alzheimers, vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, and frontotemporal dementia.
  • Early signs of dementia include trouble remembering newly-learned information, misplacing items, trouble reasoning, and poor judgment.
  • Conditions linked to dementia include traumatic brain injury, Parkinsons disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, and Huntington’s disease. 
  • Development of dementia symptoms increases with age, but people of all ages can experience them, depending on the cause. 
  • Some conditions associated with dementia-like symptoms are treatable or reversible, such as brain tumors, nutritional deficiencies, thyroid problems, and immune disorders.
  • Diet and exercise, managing cardiovascular health, and refraining from drinking and smoking, are some steps people can take to maintain their cognitive health.

Signs Of Early Onset Dementia

It is important to recognize the signs of early-onset dementia. Even though we dont have a cure or treatment for dementia, having a diagnosis can help families plan for the future and address quality of life issues. These are some of the signs of the mental decline associated with early-onset dementia.

  • Memory problems and difficulty learning and retaining new information
  • Asking the same information over and over again
  • Trouble solving problems like keeping up with paying bills, cooking, or following directions
  • Losing track of the day or time of year
  • Trouble with depth perception or other visual problems
  • Getting lost or wandering

The Importance Of Language

New 5 Minute Test Can Detect Dementia 10 Years Early
  • The language used to talk about younger people with dementia can strongly influence how others treat or view them, and how they feel about themselves.
  • For example, referring to people with dementia as sufferers or as victims implies that they are helpless.  This not only strips people of their dignity and self-esteem, it reinforces inaccurate stereotypes and heightens the fear and stigma surrounding dementia.
  • Young onset dementia is not necessarily the defining aspect of someones identity.  They are a person first and should always be described, and treated, as such.  Life does not stop when dementia starts.
  • Using the correct terms avoids confusion.  There are many forms of dementia.  Alzheimers disease is just one of them and the terms are not interchangeable.
  • Young onset or working-age dementia are preferable terms to early onset dementia so as to avoid confusion with the early stages of dementia generally.
  • The Dementia Engagement & Empowerment Project  has published a dementia language guide. ‘Dementia words matter: guidelines on language about dementia’ has been written in collaboration with people who have dementia.  To download this useful and informative guide, please click here

Can Dementia Suddenly Get Worse

The progression of dementia depends on the underlying disease. Some diseases have a rapid progression. Others progress more slowly. Any sudden change with either slow or rapid progression should be evaluated for another cause. In most cases, changes with dementia may seem like they came out of the blue when they actually may have been slowly developing in the background. The best way to prepare for changes and manage expectations is through information. Your doctor and medical team will be a valuable resource. There are a variety of educational resources that are also available through the Alzheimer’s Association.

Difficulty Finding The Right Words

Another early symptom of dementia is struggling to communicate thoughts. A person with dementia may have difficulty explaining something or finding the right words to express themselves. Having a conversation with a person who has dementia can be difficult, and it may take longer than usual to conclude.

Current Practice In Diagnosing Dementia

The remainder of this information will provide an overview of the diagnosis process and a guide to what happens after diagnosis. 

It is important to remember that there is no definitive test for diagnosing Alzheimers disease or any of the other common causes of dementia. Findings from a variety of sources and tests must be pooled before a diagnosis can be made, and the process can be complex and time consuming. Even then, uncertainty may still remain, and the diagnosis is often conveyed as possible or probable. Despite this uncertainty, a diagnosis is accurate around 90% of the time. 

People with significant memory loss without other symptoms of dementia, such as behaviour or personality changes, may be classified as having a Mild Cognitive Impairment . MCI is a relatively new concept and more research is needed to understand the relation between MCI and later development of dementia. However, MCI does not necessarily lead to dementia and regular monitoring of memory and thinking skills is recommended in individuals with this diagnosis.  

What Conditions Can Be Mistaken For Dementia

Early Signs Of Dementia

The term dementia refers to a specific group of symptoms related to a decline in mental ability. Often, people who experience subtle short-term memory changes, are easily confused, or exhibit different behaviors or personality traits are mistakenly thought to have dementia. These symptoms could be the result of a variety of other conditions or disorders, including other neurocognitive disorders such as Parkinsons disease, brain growths or tumors, mild cognitive impairment , and mood disorders, like depression.

What Causes Dementia To Progress So Quickly

Dementia symptoms are typically mild at first and progress over time to moderate and then severe, over several years. The speed as which dementia progresses varies between individuals, but some factors can cause dementia to progress more quickly. These include the persons age, the type of dementia, and other long term health problems. Dementia tends to progress more slowly in people over 65 compared to younger people below 65.

What Differences Are There To Late Onset Dementia

When compared to older people, younger people affected by dementia are more likely to:

  • have a rarer form of dementia affecting behaviour and social functioning
  • have a familial/inherited form of dementia
  • report significantly higher psychological and physical distress
  • experience employment issues
  • have significant financial commitments such as a mortgage
  • have a younger and more dependent family
  • have additional caring responsibility for parents

There are differences in the types of dementia commonly diagnosed in younger people with dementia compared to those of an older age. For example, only about a third of dementias diagnosed in younger people are of the Alzheimers type in comparison to about 60% in the older age group. For more information visit our facts and figures page.

Difficulties In Thinking Things Through And Planning

A person may get confused more easily and find it harder to plan, make complex decisions or solve problems.

Symptoms In The Later Stages Of Dementia

Why Getting an Early Diagnosis for Dementia Can Make All the Difference

As dementia progresses, memory loss and difficulties with communication often become severe. In the later stages, the person is likely to neglect their own health, and require constant care and attention.

The most common symptoms of advanced dementia include:

  • memory problems people may not recognise close family and friends, or remember where they live or where they are
  • communication problems  some people may eventually lose the ability to speak altogether. Using non-verbal means of communication, such as facial expressions, touch and gestures, can help
  • mobility problems many people become less able to move about unaided. Some may eventually become unable to walk and require a wheelchair or be confined to bed
  • behavioural problems  a significant number of people will develop what are known as “behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia”. These may include increased agitation, depressive symptoms, anxiety, wandering, aggression, or sometimes hallucinations
  • bladder incontinence is common in the later stages of dementia, and some people will also experience bowel incontinence
  • appetite and weight loss problems are both common in advanced dementia. Many people have trouble eating or swallowing, and this can lead to choking, chest infections and other problems. Alzheimer’s Society has a useful factsheet on eating and drinking

What Causes Younger Onset Dementia

Many different types of dementia can affect younger people. Each type has its own symptoms and is caused by a specific type of change in the brain. Some causes of early onset dementia are:

  • Alzheimers disease
  • problems with blood flow to the brain
  • deterioration to the front part of the brain
  • chronic overuse of alcohol over many years

Common Types Of Dementia In Younger People

  • Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia in younger people, accounting for around a third of young people with dementia.
  • Vascular dementia is the second most common form of dementia in young people.  Around 20% of young people with dementia have vascular dementia.
  • Around 12% of young people with dementia have frontotemporal dementia.  It most commonly occurs between the ages of 45-65.  In about 40% of cases there is a family history of the condition.
  • Korsakoff’s syndrome – around 10% of dementias in young people are caused by a lack of vitamin B1 , most commonly associated with alcohol abuse.
  • Around 10% of young people with dementia have dementia with Lewy bodies.
  • Around 20% of young people with dementia have a ‘rarer’ form of the condition.  Examples include conditions that can lead to dementia including Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease and Creutzfeld Jakob disease.

John took the first step himself and went to his GP.  His doctor told him he needed to use his brain more.  John had recently completed his Masters degree!

– Liz, supporting her brother John, with FTD

You Can’t Remember That Restaurant’s Name

If you constantly forget what you had for breakfast, or can’t recall the name of that restaurant you just went to, consider it a red flag. “The most common sign is memory problems that interfere with your daily life,” Dr. Fillit says. “You may have trouble remembering familiar names or places on a regular basis.”

It may not seem like a big deal. But if you find yourself struggling to remember details like these, or if this has become a frustrating problem, point it out to a doctor so they can monitor the situation.

About Young Onset Dementia

Symptoms of dementia can become present in various ways ...
  • 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 Struggle To Recall What You Just Read

Most dementia symptoms will have an affect on your memory, in some way, shape, or form. So it makes sense it can impact your ability to read â and remember what you just read â as well.

As Zerling says, many people with early-onset dementia find that they need to start taking notes while they’re reading, in order to remember what’s going on in the story.

Taking notes, of course, can be a good way to keep track or information, especially if you’re studying. And thus it isn’t a surefire sign of dementia. But if your note-taking is due to a newly developed memory problem, it may a symptom worth looking into.

What Are The Risk Factors For Dementia

    The risk factors for developing dementia include age and family history. Age and a family history of dementia are non-modifiable risk factors. Abnormal genes which are associated with Alzheimer’s disease have been identified, but are only rarely involved in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes increase the risks of developing either Alzheimer’s disease or multi-infarct dementia. Some medications can lead to memory problems which look like dementia.

    Recognition And Coordination Difficulties

    A person showing early signs of dementia may put everyday things in unusual places . They may have difficulty recognising familiar items such as a chair, soap, toothbrush, cutlery, kettle, coffee jar, cooker or fridge.

    Signs of a loss of coordination skills can include struggling to undo or do up buttons, to tie or untie shoes and neckties, and to use a hair brush or razor. They may be more subtle, such as putting down a cup of tea too close to the edge of a table or having difficulties lifting a teapot or kettle or using a knife to cut vegetables or fruit.

    Stage 3: Mild Cognitive Impairment

    An insider’s perspective on what you can do to help a person with dementia – with Christine Bryden

    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.

    Symptoms Specific To Dementia With Lewy Bodies

    Dementia with Lewy bodies has many of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, and people with the condition typically also experience:

    • periods of being alert or drowsy, or fluctuating levels of confusion
    • visual hallucinations
    • becoming slower in their physical movements
    • repeated falls and fainting

    Read more about dementia with Lewy bodies.

    How Can You Cope With Being The Caretaker Of Someone With Dementia

      It is important for someone who is the primary caregiver of a patient with dementia to have a strong network of support. This is needed both to aid in caring for the patient and to give the caregiver some intermittent relief. In the early stages, many caregivers function more as a helper or guide, providing reminders for different tasks. Later in the disease, caregivers may have to supply basic care to the patient, including assistance with bathing, dressing, and going to the bathroom.

      Obtaining power of attorney status for financial and medical matters and determining when a patient is no longer able to perform certain activities, such as driving, are difficult but necessary actions. Local Alzheimer’s Association chapters are often helpful in completing these tasks. Enlisting the help of a patient’s physician or mandating an on-the-road driving assessment can place the responsibility of determining when a patient is no longer safe to drive on someone other than a caregiver or family member, as driving is often an action that many patients attempt to perform far past the time when it is safe to continue. There are many sources of assistance for caregivers of patients with dementia:

      Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregiver CenterAlzheimer’s Association

      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.

      How Can You Test For Dementia At Home

      Recognise These 12 Early Signs of Dementia

      The Self-Administered Gerocognitive Examination is an online test that promises to detect the early stages of Alzheimers disease or dementia. Developed by researchers at Ohio State University, the test is designed to be done at home and then taken to a physician for a more formal evaluation.

      What Are The Causes Of Young

      The causes of young-onset dementia are similar to the diseases that usually cause dementia in older people. However, some causes, such as frontotemporal dementia , are more common in younger people. Dementia in younger people often has different symptoms, even when its caused by the same diseases as in older people.There is more information about some common causes of dementia, and how they can affect younger people, below.

      What Is The Treatment For Dementia

        Treatment options for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia are limited. While there are medications available to try to improve the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, the effect of these medications is limited. Physical exercise has been shown to be of some benefit in helping to maintain cognition. Staying engaged and participating in social events may also be of some help. To date, no treatment which can reverse the process of Alzheimer’s disease has been identified.

        What Are The Exams And Tests To Diagnose Possible Early Dementia

        Pinpointing the cause of memory loss is a challenge to your health care provider. Alzheimer’s disease and many other causes of dementia cannot be diagnosed with certainty by lab tests or brain scans. Your health care provider will ask you many questions about your symptoms and how they started, your other medical problems, your familys medical problems, your medications, your habits and lifestyle, and your work and travel history.

        The medical interview is followed by a careful physical examination and, possibly, lab tests and scans. Cognitive processes are tested by how well you answer certain questions and follow simple directions. Part of the process of making the diagnosis is ruling out conditions that do not fit the facts. At any time in this process, your health care provider may refer you to a specialist in diseases of elderly persons or in diseases of the brain .

        Lab tests

        No specific laboratory test confirms the diagnosis of MCI. Most tests are done to rule out reversible conditions such as thyroid disorders, chemical imbalances, vitamin deficiencies, and infections.

        Imaging studies

        CT scan and are used to “see” the brain and surrounding organs. Like lab tests, these brain scans do not give a definitive diagnosis of MCI. They may show abnormalities in the brain that are consistent with Alzheimer’s-like dementia. They also are used to rule out potentially reversible causes of MCI.

        Neuropsychological testing

        Who Is This Dementia Quiz For

        1 Early signs of dementia

        Below is a list of 10 questions designed for people who are concerned about memory loss. The questions relate to life experiences common among people who have been diagnosed with dementia, a neurocognitive disorder, and are based on criteria in the DSM-5 .

        Please read each question carefully, and indicate how often you have experienced the same or similar challenges in the past few months.

        RELATED ARTICLES

        Most Popular