Dementia symptoms: Nine cognitive troubles indicative of early stage Alzheimer’s

Alzheimers Research UK explain 'what is dementia?'

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Research from the charity Dementia UK stated that these brain changes can occur up to a decade before outward symptoms of the condition emerge. Would you know what to look out for? One of the most common cognitive signs of Alzheimer’s is “memory loss that disrupts daily life”, said the Alzheimer’s Association. This is usually picked up when recently learned information is forgotten for good.

Usual memory lapses can involve forgetting an important birthday, for example, but then remembering it again at some point.

With Alzheimer’s, the person not only forgets an important date, they don’t remember it again.

Another cognitive sign of the condition includes “challenges in planning or solving problems”.

An example of this is now having difficulty with following a recipe or keeping track of monthly bills.

Another sign of deteriorating cognition is when someone struggles to complete familiar tasks.

To illustrate, a person becoming lost on their way to their regular supermarket is a clear signal that something is up.

Cognitive issues might extend to trouble identifying the time, date, and seasons.

“They may have trouble understanding something if it is not happening immediately,” said the Alzheimer’s Association.

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As plaques and tangles (i.e. abnormal proteins) form more heavily in the brain, vision issues might become apparent.

This may lead to the person having trouble with judging distances and determining colour or contrast.

Clearly this would become a hazard if the person still drives, putting themselves and other people in danger.

Getting an early diagnosis of dementia is so crucial to help slow down the progression of the condition and to sort out care.

A decline in cognitive abilities can extend to poor decision making and the person may become socially reclusive.

The changes in the brain can also lead to changes in mood and personality.

People with the condition are more prone to become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious.

Nine early signs of cognitive decline:

  • Memory loss
  • Challenges in planning
  • Difficulty completing familiar tasks
  • Easily confused
  • Difficulty with spatial awareness
  • Misplacing things and not able to retrace steps
  • Decreased or poor judgement
  • Social withdrawal
  • Changes in modo or personality

There’s not a simple test to determine whether a person has Alzheimer’s or not.

A diagnosis usually involves looking at a person’s medical history, mental health status, neurological exams, and brain imaging.

The first step in any diagnosis, however, is making an appointment with your doctor.

An early diagnosis allows you to access treatment options and to participate in your planning for the future.

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