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What Are The 10 Warning Signs Of Dementia

Symptoms Specific To Frontotemporal Dementia

10 Warning Signs of Dementia

Although Alzheimer’s disease is still the most common type of dementia in people under 65, a higher percentage of people in this age group may develop frontotemporal dementia than older people. Most cases are diagnosed in people aged 45-65.

Early symptoms of frontotemporal dementia may include:

  • personality changes reduced sensitivity to others’ feelings, making people seem cold and unfeeling
  • lack of social awareness making inappropriate jokes or showing a lack of tact, though some people may become very withdrawn and apathetic
  • language problems difficulty finding the right words or understanding them
  • becoming obsessive such as developing fads for unusual foods, overeating and drinking

Read more about frontotemporal 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:

What To Watch For

Here are some of the warning signs identified by dementia experts and mental health organizations:

Difficulty with everyday tasks. Everyone makes mistakes, but people with dementia may find it increasingly difficult to do things like keep track of monthly bills or follow a recipe while cooking, the Alzheimers Association says.

They also may find it hard to concentrate on tasks, take much longer to do them or have trouble finishing them.

Repetition. Asking a question, hearing the answer and then repeating the same question 15 minutes later, or telling the same story about a recent event multiple times, are causes for concern, internist and geriatric specialist Jason Karlawish, a professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, noted in a 2018 article for AARP.

Communication problems. Observe if a loved one has trouble joining in conversations or following along with them, stops abruptly in the middle of a thought or struggles to think of words or the name of objects.

Getting lost. People with dementia may have difficulty with visual and spatial abilities. That can manifest itself in problems like getting lost while driving, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Personality changes. A loved one who begins acting unusually anxious, confused, fearful or suspicious becomes upset easily or loses interest in activities and seems depressed is cause for concern.

People with mild cognitive impairment are at an increased risk of developing dementia.

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New Problems With Words In Speaking Or Writing

While aging can cause an occasional problem with finding the right word, communication issues are much more significant in the early stages of dementia. Following conversations and finding the correct words for objects is difficult for those with dementia, and this early warning sign should be brought to a doctors attention. Aphasia, a type of language disorder, impacts communication including speech, writing, and language comprehension. According to the Mayo Clinic, Primary progressive aphasia is a type of frontotemporal dementia. Of course, there are other medical conditions that can cause language and communication issues including strokes, brain tumors, and brain injuries.

Forgetting Things You Just Learned

Recognise Dementia

We all forget a random bit of trivia now and then, but with dementia, you have trouble retaining new information to a point where it impacts your life, says Caccappolo. Many friends and relatives notice this when a loved one starts to ask the same question over and over in the same conversation, or they are unable to remember the details of a TV show they just watched. It also becomes increasingly more difficult to learn new tasks, such as using a cell phone or a new computer program, even if the steps are clearly written down for them.

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What Are The 10 Warning Signs & Symptoms Of Dementia

These are not the only warning signs of dementia. Signs of the condition vary depending on the cause of it. However, the warning signs listed below are a good place to start.

Also important to note is that if you or a loved one show some of these signs, it does NOT mean you/they have dementia. All of these signs can be caused be other things. Sometimes theyre just a normal part of the aging process. Other times, its a sign of some other disease or condition.

With that said, heres a list of the 10 common warning signs and symptoms of dementia:

  • Memory loss
  • Loss of sense of direction
  • Problems with thinking or problem solving
  • Hard time finding the right words
  • Confusion
  • Mood or behavior changes
  • Difficulties performing everyday tasks
  • Again, just because someone has one or more of the signs of dementia above, it doesnt mean they have dementia. Other things can cause these symptoms.

    If you has symptoms of dementia, go see a doctor sooner rather than later. You want to get an accurate diagnosis so you know how to treat things the right way.

    The more of the signs you/your loved one had and the more severe they are, the more important it is to seek medical advice.

    What Is The Outlook For Frontotemporal Dementia

    In the early stages, the symptoms and signs of frontotemporal dementia can be cared for and treated with good results. Late-stage frontotemporal dementia can take years to develop. As the disease progresses, 24-hour care may become necessary.

    Frontotemporal dementia shortens a persons life span. The condition will eventually cause a person to have difficulty with bodily functions such as:

    • swallowing

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    Trouble Comprehending Visual Imagery

    In as much as dementia affects communication, the receptiveness aspect might also further the problem. We can trace the effect to memory and vision impairment which affect their interpretation of things.

    Youll notice this problem majorly when they cant identify colors or even judge distances. Dementia patients also have trouble reading and associating images with specific things.

    The problem in comprehension of visual imagery is not typical for older adults. It is a warning sign for early dementia, for which you need to seek the appropriate care.

    Symptoms Specific To Dementia With Lewy Bodies

    Dealing with Dementia: 10 Warning Signs

    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.

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    Confusion About Time And Day

    When you eat breakfast, but then realize its dinner time, or you cant remember the day of the week without looking at a calendar, that can be a sign of cognitive impairment. Caccappolo says patients who have more advanced dementia may get up in the middle of the night and get dressed. It may also become increasingly difficult to know what season or even what year it is.

    Being Confused About Time Or Place

    Dementia can make it hard to judge the passing of time. People may also forget where they are at any time.

    They may find it hard to understand events in the future or the past and may struggle with dates.

    Visual information can be challenging for a person with dementia. It can be hard to read, to judge distances, or work out the differences between colors.

    Someone who usually drives or cycles may start to find these activities challenging.

    A person with dementia may find it hard to engage in conversations.

    They may forget what they are saying or what somebody else has said. It can be difficult to enter a conversation.

    People may also find their spelling, punctuation, and grammar get worse.

    Some peoples handwriting becomes more difficult to read.

    A person with dementia may not be able to remember where they leave everyday objects, such as a remote control, important documents, cash, or their keys.

    Misplacing possessions can be frustrating and may mean they accuse other people of stealing.

    It can be hard for someone with dementia to understand what is fair and reasonable. This may mean they pay too much for things, or become easily sure about buying things they do not need.

    Some people with dementia also pay less attention to keeping themselves clean and presentable.

    Read Also: What Is Vascular Dementia Life Expectancy

    Loss Of Interest In Hobbies

    You might have noticed a steep decline in enthusiasm from your loved one. This could be the apathy symptom that occurs in early dementia patients.

    The loss of interest in hobbies or fun activities is part of the symptoms they show with the illness. There is a need for the patients to avoid social activity and sometimes appear emotionally flat. Be on the lookout for these to promptly get them the assistance they need.

    Short Term Memory Changes

    Gout &  Dementia

    Memory problems can indicate early-onset dementia. The changes, however, occur subtly and involve short-term memory.

    Dont be confused when your loved one can tell what happened in the past but cant recall what they had for lunch. It might be an indicator for developing dementia.

    Short-term memory changes are a huge warning sign for dementia in aged persons. Youll need to start seeking dementia treatment options.

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    Forgetting How To Do Everyday Tasks

    This is different to: more typical age-related forgetfulness such as needing help to record a tv programme or how to use the settings on a microwave oven.

    Your parent may start to find it hard to complete daily tasks these might include the setting of a table, driving to a familiar location or remembering the rules of their favourite game.

    Forgetting how to do everyday tasks is one of the signs of dementia and can be spotted in-person or by completing a Self-Administered Gerocognitive Exam an early signs of dementia test which can be taken online.

    However, this shouldnt be used as an official diagnostic tool you should always seek the advice of a GP. Other examples of forgetting how to do simple everyday tasks can include:

    • Closing the fridge door
    • Making a cup of tea or coffee
    • Locking / closing the front door
    • Managing a budget

    Your parent may start to find it difficult to complete tasks they used to be able to do with ease. For example, if they used to be a fantastic baker, they may now find it hard to bake the sponge cake theyve made over and over again.

    Are There Different Types Of Dementia

    Alzheimers disease is the most common cause, affecting between 60 to 80% of those with dementia, but there are other types to be aware of:

    When a person has symptoms of more than one type, its called mixed dementia. In some cases, memory loss and confusion can be caused by factors that can be treated or even reversed, such as vitamin deficiencies, hypothyroidism, medication side effects, and depression, says Caccappolo.

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    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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    An Increase In Compulsive Ritualistic Behaviors

    10 Warning Signs You Already Have Dementia

    One sign of dementia that most people dont expect is the need to complete extreme rituals or compulsive behaviors. Plenty of people have odd habits and like things done a certain way, says Rankin. But while these habits are within the realm of normal, extreme hoarding or detailed rituals or compulsions, such as buying a crossword puzzle book every time they go to the store even if they have hundreds of them, can be dementia symptoms.

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    Challenges Finding The Right Words

    Is your loved one having trouble expressing themselves? Dementia impairs the communication aspect for the patients. They thus have a hard time articulating their thoughts.

    As among the early symptoms of dementia, the problem might occur intermittently. The frequency between patients difficulty expressing themselves and normalcy has to be monitored to identify patterns. If theyre regular, consider seeking dementia treatment early.

    You could identify the problem within holding a conversation, with their point taking longer to come across.

    Common Early Symptoms Of Dementia

    Different types of dementia can affect people differently, and everyone will experience symptoms in their own way.

    However, there are some common early symptoms that may appear some time before a diagnosis of dementia. These include:

    • memory loss
    • difficulty concentrating
    • finding it hard to carry out familiar daily tasks, such as getting confused over the correct change when shopping
    • struggling to follow a conversation or find the right word
    • being confused about time and place
    • mood changes

    These symptoms are often mild and may get worse only very gradually. It’s often termed “mild cognitive impairment” as the symptoms are not severe enough to be diagnosed as dementia.

    You might not notice these symptoms if you have them, and family and friends may not notice or take them seriously for some time. In some people, these symptoms will remain the same and not worsen. But some people with MCI will go on to develop dementia.

    Dementia is not a natural part of ageing. This is why it’s important to talk to a GP sooner rather than later if you’re worried about memory problems or other symptoms.

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    Potential Early Signs Of Dementia

    According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , Dementia is not a specific disease, but is rather a general term for the impaired ability to remember, think, or make decisions that interfere with doing everyday activities. The most common type of dementia is Alzheimers disease, though there are several types of dementia including frontotemporal dementia , dementia with Lewy bodies , and vascular dementia to name a few. Globally, more than 50 million people have dementia, and an estimated 10 million new cases are reported each year. Projections show that the number of affected individuals will reach 82 million in 2030 and 152 million by 2050.

    A dementia diagnosis comes after a series of tests of memory, problem-solving, and other cognitive abilities performed by a health care provider. Blood tests, brain scans, and physicals are carried out to help doctors figure out the underlying cause. Dementia is broken down into early, mid, and late stages, with a worsening of symptoms as the condition progresses.

    Neural Effects consulted the CDCs list of warning signs for dementia and Alzheimers disease to review what adults should look for before seeking an official medical diagnosis. This list may also prove helpful for those whove noticed loved ones who are experiencing one or more early signs of dementia.

    Difficulty Completing Familiar Tasks At Home At Work Or At Leisure

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    Often in early dementia, the simplest tasks become increasingly difficult. While older people may have trouble with operating a computer or the settings on a television remoteand this can be a normal symptom of agingthose with dementia cant perform daily tasks that were once a part of their routine. Getting dressed can become a major undertaking. The real difficulty actually comes with the sequence or order of doing things. Writing out the steps to tasks such as preparing a meal and leaving them in easily accessible places can be helpful.

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    Early Signs Of Dementia Checklist

    Signs of early onset dementia usually affect people in their 50s and early 60s. But is it really a dementia sign or is it just a something we do as we get older?

    Signs of Dementia/Alzheimers:
    Making a bad decision once in a while
    Inability to manage a budget Missing a monthly payment
    Losing track of the date or the season Forgetting what day it is and remembering later
    Difficulty having a conversation Sometimes forgetting which word to use
    Misplacing things and being unable to retrace steps to find them Losing things from time to time

    As dementia is a progressive neurological disorder, there are many stages and dementia symptoms. The changes are gradual, and this may give your parent time to receive an early diagnosis and to slow down or prevent the disease from progressing.

    Fortunately, the first signs of dementia can be spotted before the symptoms make a big impact on day-to-day living and overall quality of life. For more information on the various stages of dementia, download our free and comprehensive dementia guide.

    Sometimes dementia diagnosis can be difficult as there is no one simple test to carry out and early symptoms can be similar to the age-related changes listed above. Here are 10 early signs of Dementia to look out for.


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