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The low down on Dementia and how to recognise the early symptoms

The low down on Dementia and how to recognise the early symptoms

New Age Care News

The low down on Dementia and how to recognise the early symptoms

Dementia is one of the leading causes of Death in the UK. According to Alzheimer’s Research UK, there are 944,000 people estimated to be living with dementia in the UK. They are also predicting that this will increase and that 1 in 3 people born in the UK today will develop Dementia.

What is Dementia?

Dementia is not a disease but rather an umbrella term for a range of progressive conditions that affect the brains function. It is not a normal part of aging and is caused when a disease damages nerve cells in the brain.

The Different Types of Dementia

There are four main types of dementia. Below is a brief descriptions of each.

Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia and is a physical disease that affects the brain. It is thought to be caused by abnormal deposits of protein in the brain. Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease which means more parts of the brain are damaged over time.

Vascular Dementia

Vascular Dementia is the second most common form of dementia. It occurs when the brain is damaged as a result of reduced blood flow to the brain.

Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB)

DLB is a less common form of dementia and is caused by Lewy Body Disease. This disease involves tiny clumps of proteins known as Lewy bodies appearing in the nerve cells of the brain. It is closely related to both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease and is often misdiagnosed.
Frontotemporal dementia (FTD)
FTC is also known as Pick’s disease or frontal lobe dementia. With this type of dementia, the nerve cells in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain are damaged.

Early symptoms of dementia

Different types of dementia affect people in different ways so the early signs of dementia can vary. However, there are some common signs to keep an eye out for:

Short term memory loss. Remembering things from years ago but regularly forgetting things that have just happened or have happened in the last few days. For example, not being able to recall what you had for breakfast or forgetting recent conversations.
Struggling to find the right words or take part in conversations. We all forget the occasional word but if you struggle to find the right word regularly or follow the flow of a conversation, then it may be a sign of dementia.
Forgetting or finding it hard to do everyday tasks. For example, how to make a cup of tea or closing and locking the front or back door. Along with completing simple tasks someone with dementia may also struggle to learn how to do new things.
Confusion about time and place. This is not forgetting what day it is and remembering later. It is more about losing track of the days, weeks and the passage of time. It can also mean getting lost or confused about where you are in familiar places.
Mood swings or a shift in personality. People in the early stages of dementia can often feel more anxious, fearful, suspicious or depressed. They can also suddenly go from calm to angry without real cause, or their personality can change from shy and reserved, to loud and extroverted.

When to see a Doctor

The symptoms of dementia are often mild in the beginning, so it can be difficult to recognise. However, early diagnose can make a difference to how dementia progresses with treatments available to potentially help slow it’s progress. If you think you or someone you know may have dementia then it’s best to see a GP as soon as possible.

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