Changes In Personality Behaviour Or Mood
Perhaps your partner is usually a soft-spoken, mild man, and now he has sudden outbursts of anger. Maybe your mom was generally fastidious about how she dressed, and now most days she looks like she just fell out of bed.
These situations reflect a change in behaviour. Sure, we can all have a bad hair day or get upset from time to time, but it is a pattern of repeated behaviour that we are looking for. These changes in patterns are a signal that something is going on.
Pay attention to these changes and observe them over a period of time. Sometimes it can be challenging to know which changes in patterns are relatively normal and which patterns point to something more serious.
Behavioural changes may include:
- Withdrawing from social activities, hobbies, projects or sports.
- Losing interest in daily activities or in others events.
- Becoming confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious.
- Accusing others of stealing.
- Feeling out of ones comfort zone.
- Becoming easily upset with others.
What To Do When A Loved One Is Exhibiting Symptoms Of Alzheimers
If these symptoms persist and are interfering with a loved ones ability to lead a normal life, its time to intervene or at least start carefully monitoring their well-being. Don’t let yourself or a family member remain in denial about what may be Alzheimers. With early diagnosis, treatment and proper support, the progression of Alzheimers can sometimes be mitigated. Its never too soon to learn what can be done to ensure a loved ones health, happiness, and safety.
Attention And Language Impairment
While memory challenges can be involved in early onset Alzheimers, signs that something could be wrong can be much broader. In fact, experts note that memory loss, which is closely associated with Alzheimers, may actually be less prominent in people with early onset Alzheimers.
Instead, people with early onset Alzheimers often complain about difficulties finding words in conversation. They can experience problems with attention and orientation, as well as with simple math.
In the aggregate, patients with early-onset Alzheimers Disease, compared to similarly impaired patients with late-onset Alzheimers Disease, have better memory recognition scores and semantic memory but worse attention, language, executive functions, ideomotor praxis, and visuospatial skills, a research paper by Dr. Mario Mendez noted.
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What Is The Difference Between Alzheimer’s And Dementia
First, some explanation of dementia vs. Alzheimer’s. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability that interferes with daily life. Not a normal part of aging, most dementias are typically caused by damaged brain cells.;
Of all the dementias, Alzheimer’s disease is the most common, accounting for 60-80% of the cases. In other words, it is a specific disease while “dementia” is a general term for a life-altering decline in brain function .;
Challenges Planning Or Completing Familiar Tasks
Some people may experience changes in their ability to develop and follow a plan or work with numbers. Experiencing difficulty with cooking a familiar recipe or keeping track of monthly bills are common signs. They may also have trouble driving to a familiar location, organizing a grocery list or remembering the rules of their favorite game.
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Watch For These 12 Early Signs Of Dementia
As you interact with an aging loved one, watch for these early signs of dementia and Alzheimers. One symptom doesnt necessarily mean that they are developing dementia. However, several may mean that your loved one needs to be seen by a neurologist. The top twelve early signs and symptoms of dementia include
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.
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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.
Discussing Dementia Symptoms With Dr Alex Bailey
In a new episode of the Age Space Podcast, we talk to Dr Alex Bailey, an old age psychiatrist working in Westminster, sharing his thoughts and advice on dementia. This includes identifying the early signs of dementia, details of memory services, supporting those with dementia to live well, psychological therapies, supporting carers and much more. Listen to the dementia explained podcast.
What to read next…
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Early Signs Of Dementia And How To Spot Them
Spotting the early signs of Dementia can make all the difference to the progression of the disease. If it is diagnosed during the early stages there is a chance that medication will slow down the diseases that cause the damage to the brain.
Weve put together this guide to the early signs of dementia for you to look out for, and some specific symptoms you can monitor. Please use the links below to navigate the article:
What Is Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible brain disorder. It is a progressive condition that causes issues with memory, cognition, and behavior.;
It was first discovered in 1906 by Dr. Alois Alzheimer, a German psychiatrist and neuropathologist. He examined the brain of a woman who had died;following symptoms including memory loss, language problems, and altered behavior. He found unusual clumps in her brain, known as amyloid plaques, as well as;tangles in her brain fibers that are some of the main features of Alzheimer’s disease.
Since this initial discovery, many other complex changes in the brain have been discovered among people suffering from disease, including the loss of connection between neurons.
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How Long Do Dementia Patients Live After Diagnosis
Dementia symptoms typically progress slowly. People with dementia will progress from mild to severe dementia at varying speeds and may be diagnosed earlier or later in life. Some people with dementia may live for up to 20 years after their diagnosis, though according to the Alzheimer’s Association research shows that the average person lives for four to eight years after a diagnosis of dementia. It’s important to point out that the diagnosis of dementia is often missed, delayed, or diagnosed when the illness is moderate or advanced. The impact of that variable may not be accurately reflected in the research regarding the years of life post-diagnosis.
Unexpected Early Warning Signs Of Dementia
Last night on Netflix I watched an episode of Frankie and Grace, a show about two older women played by Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda.
In this episode, their adult children decided it was time for the two women to move into a care home. The children read from a list of conditions to watch for in their loved ones. It made for great comedy, but often there is truth in comedy.
We primarily think of care homes as providing for the physical needs of the individual. But what about the relatively agile person who may be showing signs of dementia? What are those signs and how can we spot them?
For many people, the progression of dementia may be very slow. And, many individuals with very early stages of dementia learn how to cover it up.
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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.
When To See A Gp
If you’re worried about your memory or think you may have dementia, it’s a good idea to see a GP.
If you’re worried about someone else’s memory problems, encourage them to make an appointment and perhaps suggest that you go along with them.
Memory problems are not just caused by dementia they can also be caused by depression, stress, medicines or other health problems.
A GP can carry out some simple checks to try to find out what the cause may be, and they can refer you to a specialist for more tests if necessary.
Read more about diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease.
Page last reviewed: 05 July 2021 Next review due: 05 July 2024
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Key Points About Early
Alzheimer disease commonly affects older people, but early-onset Alzheimer disease can affect people in their 30s or 40s.
It affects memory, thinking, and behavior.
Although there is no known cure, early diagnosis and treatment can lead to better quality of life.
Stay healthy with a good diet and regular exercise.
Avoid alcohol and other substances that may affect memory, thinking, and behavior.
Withdrawing From Work And Social Life
People with early onset Alzheimers, who were once industrious and focused at their challenging jobs, may begin noticing a drop in concentration, motivation or productivity thats out of character for them. They may also find themselves isolating from family, friends, coworkers or hobbies that they used to previously enjoy.
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Previous Research Has Found Another Driving Habit That’s Been Linked To Dementia
Another study out of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, which was published in the medical journal Geriatrics in April, found that the number of times someone hard brakes while driving is another reliable early indicator of dementia. These researchers installed recording devices in the cars of 2,977 participants between the ages of 65 and 79. When they started recording in August 2015, none of the participants had medical histories of mild cognitive impairment or other degenerative medical conditions.
Over the course of the four-year study, however, 33 participants were diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment and 31 were diagnosed with dementia. Looking at their driving habits, the researchers determined that age was most predictive of mild cognitive impairment and dementia, but behind that risk factor were the length of driving trips and the number of hard-braking and hard-accelerating events, similar to the University of Toronto study’s findings.
“Driving is a complex task involving dynamic cognitive processes and requiring essential cognitive functions and perceptual motor skills,” the study’s senior author Guohua Li, MD, DrPH, professor of epidemiology and anesthesiology at Columbia Mailman School of Public Health and Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, said in a statement. “Our study indicates that naturalistic driving behaviors can be used as comprehensive and reliable markers for mild cognitive impairment and dementia.”
Other Imaging Options That Can Diagnose Dementia
Several other brain imaging procedures exist. Each can help detect dementia in different ways.
The procedure involves placing several electrodes at different points on the scalp to check for abnormalities in the brain through the recorded patterns of electrical activity.
The electrical activity shows instances of cognitive dysfunction that plague parts of the brain or the entire organ.
People with MODERATE to SEVERE cases of dementia present abnormal EEGs.
The procedure can also identify seizures, which 10% of people with Alzheimers are reported to experience.
Functional Brain Imaging
Functional brain imaging procedures are not often used as diagnostic tools. But they help researchers in the process of studying people with dementia.
They include functional single-photon emission computed tomography , MRI , magnetoencephalography , and positron emission tomography scans.
Nowadays, they have a hand in the EARLY DETECTION of dementia.
fMRI measures metabolic changes happening within the brain using strong magnetic fields.
SPECT scans reveal blood distribution within the brain. This aspect is responsible for discovering increased brain activity.
PET scans pick up on blood flow, glucose, and oxygen metabolism, and if amyloid proteins are present within the brain.
MEG scans record the electromagnetic fields that the brain produces through neuronal activities.
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.
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:
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Confusion With Spacing And Time
Sometimes those with Alzheimers find familiar surroundings suddenly foreign and insist theyve never been there before. Or, they may forget how to get to places they visit often, like the grocery store or pharmacy. Its also common to express confusion over the day, date, month or the current season.
The Benefits Of An Early Alzheimers Diagnosis
People on the onset of Alzheimers may experience just one early warning sign or several and signs will show in varying degrees.
If youre concerned that a loved ones memory loss;may be serious, consult with a doctor.
While Alzheimers currently has no cure, an early diagnosis means early treatment. That increases a persons chances of maintaining independence for as long as possible and having a voice in planning for their future.
Did any early signs of Alzheimers lead to a diagnosis for you or a loved one? Share your story with us in the comments below.
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What If I Have Early Signs Of Dementia
If you are having serious dementia-like symptoms, the path to improving your brain health lies in addressing some of the root causes of cognitive decline.;
Always check with your health professional if you experience a change in your ability to complete everyday tasks to rule out any possibility of stroke, traumatic brain injury, or other acute injury to the brain. If you are not struggling with any of those issues, some of the most common problems that lead to cognitive decline are related to the brain/gut axis or even the brain liver axis.;