The Quiet Early Signs Of Dementia And What You Can Do About Them
Research suggests there could be a link between certain eye conditions and Alzheimers here are other symptoms to look out for
A decline in sensory functions can often be an early sign of Alzheimers. Hence, its important to lower your risk of dementia by looking out for such conditions.
Its well known that memory loss and confusion are a sign of dementia. But scientists are discovering that other subtle and perhaps surprising signs can herald the onset of the disease.
These smaller and quieter signs occur in our daily lives, making them fairly easy to identify – if you know what to look out for. With our senses being linked to the brain, it’s not surprising that occurrences, such as those relating to our eyesight or hearing, could be signs of early dementia.
It’s important to make a note of these seemingly small things as they could be huge tell-tale signs. However, it is also key to understand that some of these changes, such as mood or occasional moments of forgetfulness, can simply be signs of old age – which are not as concerning.
Read below for the quiet, early signs of dementia for which you should be keeping an eye out and some advice on how to prevent their progression.
Skin May Help Spot Alzheimer’s And Parkinson’s Disease
Health editor, BBC News online
Scientists have proposed a new idea for detecting brain conditions including Alzheimer’s – a skin test.
Their work, which is at an early stage, found the same abnormal proteins that accumulate in the brain in such disorders can also be found in skin.
Early diagnosis is key to preventing the loss of brain tissue in dementia, which can go undetected for years.
But experts said even more advanced tests, including ones of spinal fluid, were still not ready for use.
Memory Loss That Impedes Daily Activities
The most noticeable symptom of Alzheimers disease is often memory loss. A person may start forgetting messages or recent events in a way that is unusual for them. They may repeat questions, having forgotten either the answer or the fact that they already asked.
It is not uncommon for people to forget things as they get older, but with early onset Alzheimers disease, this happens earlier in life, occurs more often, and seems out of character.
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Cognitive Changes For Dementia Patients
- Disorientation: A person with dementia becomes lost in familiar places, expresses confusion about the date or time of day, or has difficulty with directions.
- Memory loss: Failure to recognize people and faces, in later stages even family members or close loved ones. Dementia patients can also experience decreases in short term memory, such as asking the same questions repeatedly or forgetting recent events and conversations.
- Problems communicating: Loss of social skills and lack of interest in socializing, frequently forgetting words, or being unable to follow a conversation.
- Difficulty with complex tasks: Difficulty planning or organizing events, paying bills, following recipes, writing letters, or traveling to new locations.
- Difficulty staying focused and concentrating, decreased ability to learn and memorize new information.
- Problems with coordination: Decreased motor functions and coordination, sometimes manifested as trembling, shaking, or difficulty walking.
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What Is Vascular Dementia
The word dementia describes a set of symptoms that can include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language. In vascular dementia, these symptoms occur when the brain is damaged because of problems with the supply of blood to the brain.
These pages outline the causes, types and symptoms of vascular dementia. It looks at how it is diagnosed and the factors that can put someone at risk of developing it. It also describes the treatment and support that are available.
Press play to watch a three-minute video about vascular dementia:
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Not Understanding What Objects Are Used For
Now and again, most people find themselves desperately searching for the right word. In fact, failing to find the word you are thinking of is surprisingly common and not necessarily a sign of dementia, says Rankin. But losing knowledge of objects not just what they are called, but also what they are used for is an early dementia symptom. Oddly enough, people who are losing this knowledge can be very competent in other areas of their lives.
Darker Area Of Skin That Feels Like Velvet
A dark patch of velvety skin on the back of your neck, armpit, groin, or elsewhere could mean that you have too much insulin in your blood. This is often a sign of prediabetes.The medical name for this skin condition is acanthosis nigricans.
Often causing darker skin in the creases of the neck, AN may be the first sign that someone has diabetes.
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Stage : Very Severe Decline
In Global Deterioration Scale stage 7 of Alzheimer’s disease termed “very severe decline,” affected individuals have declined so much that they require continual assistance to carry out basic activities such as getting out of the chair or feeding themselves . Those people affected:
- Can decline so far that they may not be able to talk or respond to their environment
- Will not be able to control muscle movement
- That talk may have only meaningless verbiage
- May not be able to even sit without support, while others may become rigid
- Eventually will not be able to swallow foods and/or liquids
Difficulty Remembering Or Trouble Finding Words
Its normal for older adults to have lapses in thought here and there. But showing signs of forgetfulness every day is an early warning sign of dementia.
If your mom is consistently losing track of her thoughts mid-sentence, or if your dad has trouble finding words in casual conversations, these are dementia signs to note.
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What To Do If This Sounds Like You
If youre experiencing any of these symptoms, especially in conjunction with memory loss, you should see your doctor. For starters, it may not even be Alzheimers but, instead, another treatable illness. But if it is Alzheimers, early detection is important for a number of reasons: It gives you the ability to get medication that could lessen or slow symptoms of Alzheimers like memory loss and confusion it gives you the option of participating in clinical trials it lets you make lifestyle changes that may benefit cognitive function and it also can help you stay safe and plan for the future. Check out these 50 habits that can reduce your risk of Alzheimers.
- Reisa Sperling, MD, director of the Center for Alzheimer Research and Treatment at Brigham and Womens Hospital in Boston
- A4 Study: Welcome to the A4 Study
- EurekAlert!: “First-of-its-kind Alzheimer’s disease prevention study extended”
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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Inappropriate Behavior And Loss Of Empathy
If someone who is usually sweet, considerate, and polite starts to say insulting or inappropriate things and shows no awareness of their inappropriateness or concern or regret about what theyve said they could be exhibiting an early sign of dementia. In the early stages of some types of dementia, symptoms can include losing the ability to read social cues and, therefore, the ability to understand why its not acceptable to say hurtful things.
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Who Does It Affect
Changes in perception and less commonly, hallucinations, can affect anyone who has physical changes to either their sensory organs, or their brain or both. This means that it can affect people who have sight or hearing problems, delirium, an infection, side effects or adverse effects from taking medication, or the over-use of alcohol.
Changes in perception are more common in people with dementia as they may experience these physical changes to their sensory organs, as well as experiencing changes in the brain. People who are diagnosed with dementia with Lewy bodies are more likely to have visual hallucinations than people with any other form of dementia, due to the particular changes in the brain that take place with this kind of dementia.
Changes in perception and hallucinations in dementia
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How To Help Prevent Itching And Scratching
If your loved oneâs scratching or picking is related to Alzheimerâs disease, it may help to give them something to do with their hands. Give them a safe object, like a washcloth, busy blanket, or a small, soft squeeze ball. You can also give them something theyâve used as part of their job or a favorite hobby. It may help to trim nails short, cover the area with a gauze bandage, or have them wear long-sleeved shirts that are difficult to roll up or unbutton. They may need to wear gloves, especially at night.
Also help your loved one with hygiene. They should bathe every other day with unscented, gentle soap. Use lotion, creams, or ointments after a bath or shower and as needed to keep skin hydrated. Keep them away from things theyâre allergic to.
If they scratch and pick repeatedly, prescription medications may help. Talk with their doctor for advice.
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The Four Hidden Signs Of Dementia To Look Out For In Your Loved Ones
- 8:53 ET, Nov 5 2021
AGE-related changes can happen to all of us but it’s important to know when these are a little more serious.
Dementia affects one in six people over the age of 80 in the UK, with 850,000 Brits believed to be suffering with the condition.
Memory-loss and confusion are key signs of dementia but can sometimes be confused with general ageing.
There are many different types of dementia and it cant be guaranteed that you can prevent the most common type, Alzheimers.
But a healthy lifestyle helps, the NHS says.
Experts say there are more subtle signs that need to be addressed when it comes to Dementia.
Here are the four less-common signs you should be looking out for.
What Are The Signs Symptoms And Stages Of Alzheimer’s Disease
Although the course of Alzheimer’s disease varies from person to person, several stages are recognized. How many stages are recognized depends on what expert you consult . Almost all experts agree that there at least three major stages:
- Memory loss that disrupts daily life
- Problems with speaking or writing
- Misplacing things in unusual places and not being able to retrace steps to find items
- Avoiding work and/or social activities
- Changes in personality, behavior, and mood.
Although some of the signs and symptoms may appear occasionally with age-related changes and not be due to Alzheimers disease, if the above signs and symptoms cause anyone to worry about a potential diagnosis of Alzheimers, the individual should be seen and evaluated by a health-care professional.
- May become withdrawn from social contacts
- May shun challenging situations
Since the above problems become prominent and mood swings are usually out of character for the individual, this is the stage when most of the people have theirs doctors diagnose them with Alzheimer’s disease .
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How To Get Help For Your Parents Dementia Symptoms
Its important to find professional help after noticing early symptoms of dementia.
- Find the right doctor. Doctors specializing in dementia will ask about problems related to common dementia behaviors. You should look for a physician whose specialty is geriatrics, neurology, or clinical psychiatry, according to the Fisher Center for Alzheimers Research Foundation.
- Communicate observations in detail. The more details you can share regarding warning signs of dementia, the easier it can be for a doctor to determine the cause and tests needed for a diagnosis. The doctor can also develop more effective treatment options for dementia symptoms based on the specificity of the data collected.
- Prepare for a diagnosis. A dementia diagnosis is determined through a series of steps. There are many different possible tests to rule out other health conditions like vitamin B12 deficiency, brain tumors, thyroid conditions, and more, as some of these conditions also may cause dementia symptoms. A dementia evaluation can include:
- Reviewing a persons medical history
- Physical or mental exam
- Lab tests
- Brain imaging
Neuropathic And Neurogenic Causes
Damage to nerve fibers or to the brain can lead to a particular form of pruritus known as itch without rash. This type of neuropathic itching is processed in the thalamus after the stimulation of dorsal horn neurons. The itching can be caused by a variety of nerve-related disorders, including multiple sclerosis and brain tumors.
After a stroke, damage to the central nervous system can lead to neurogenic pruritus., In these cases, the sensation of intense itching arises from lesions in the thalamus or parietal lobe without localized skin irritation.
Pruritus has also been associated with neuralgia following a herpes infection.
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Alzheimers Disease And Cutaneous Amyloidosis
Amyloidosis might occur locally both in brain and skin, leading to neurodegenerative and skin conditions, respectively. Studies indicated that there might be a connection between the amyloid deposits in Alzheimers disease and cutaneous amyloidosis.4,105,106 The pathology for skin and brain amyloidosis might be similar, and their amyloid deposits shared a common ultrastructure. Presenilin-1 and ApoE4, which were involved in Alzheimers disease, also played a role in the amyloidogenesis in the skin. In 2018, a patient with small, brownish macules and severe itching on the face, upper back, and abdomen was diagnosed with both Alzheimers disease and macular amyloidosis.107 However, more studies are needed to prove the skin-brain axis.108
Mood Or Personality Changes
Someone with Alzheimers disease may start to experience a low mood. They may feel irritable, confused, anxious, or depressed. They may also lose interest in things they used to enjoy.
They may become frustrated with their symptoms or feel unable to understand the changes taking place. This may present as aggression or irritability toward others.
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What Is Frontotemporal Dementia
Dementia describes a group of symptoms that can include problems with memory, thinking or language, and changes in mood, emotions and behaviour. It is caused when the brain is damaged by disease.
The word frontotemporal refers to the two sets of lobes in the brain that are damaged in this type of dementia. FTD occurs when disease damages nerve cells in these lobes.
This causes the connections between them and other parts of the brain to break down. The levels of chemical messengers in the brain also get lower over time. These messengers allow nerve cells to send signals to each other and the rest of the body.
As more and more nerve cells are damaged and die, the brain tissue in the frontal and temporal lobes starts to get smaller.
Problems Writing Or Speaking
The person may also have difficulty with words and communication. They may find it hard to follow or contribute to a conversation, or they may repeat themselves. They may also have difficulty writing down their thoughts.
The person may stop in the middle of a conversation, unable to figure out what to say next. They may also struggle to find the right word or label things incorrectly.
It is not uncommon for people to occasionally struggle to find the right word. Typically, they eventually remember it and do not experience the problem frequently.
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Alzheimers Disease And Bullous Pemphigoid
Bullous pemphigoid is an autoimmune skin disease, characterized by limited or diffuse tense subepidermal bullae on urticarial, erythematous bases. This disease occurs mostly in the elderly, with an incidence rate of 1266 new cases per 1 million people per year.13
Many comorbidities have been identified in BP patients, such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus, neurological diseases, psychiatric diseases, and malignancies, and the strongest association has been found between BP and neurological diseases.14 A recent meta-analysis including twelve case-control and two cohort studies revealed that BP was associated with an increased risk for dementia , stroke , epilepsy , and multiple sclerosis .15 Meanwhile, existing neurological diseases also increased the risk for BP.6 For most patients, at least one neurological disorder was diagnosed prior to BP, with a median duration of 5.5 years.16 In 2019, a study evaluated demographic features and autoantibody levels in 77 BP control patients and 33 BP patients with preceding neurological disorders. They found that patients with BP who had preceding neurological diseases had a shorter elapsed time between the onset of skin disease and BP diagnosis. No significant differences in clinical presentation, BP severity scores, or autoantibody responses were observed among the groups. The clinical phenotype of BP was not affected by preceding neurological diseases despite the age difference.17