Early Warning Signs Of Dementia

August 29, 2023

Early indicators of dementia are often vague and subtle, and in many cases, individuals don't realize there is a health problem at all. Dementia symptoms are often ascribed to mere forgetfulness or absent-mindedness, but it is far more severe. It's important to become familiar with the early warning signs of dementia, as early detection can lead to treatment at a much earlier stage than late detection, which can help slow the progression of the disease and prevent more severe symptoms from cropping up. Individuals who notice symptoms in themselves or a loved one, it is best to get in contact with a doctor for an assessment. Even if patients feel it's nothing, it is better to double-check than to risk worsening symptoms. Doctors will use a variety of different assessment techniques to rule out or confirm a dementia diagnosis.

Let's review the warning signs now.

Reduced Concentration

One of the most common early symptoms of dementia is reduced concentration. Patients may find themselves having more and more trouble focusing on tasks, which can be incredibly frustrating, as the ability to memorize information and learn new things is also greatly affected. Book lovers may find they can't read a paragraph without their attention wandering, or they have to read the same passage several times to absorb it. Affected individuals might have trouble paying attention to tasks both at work and during their leisure time. It's normal to have periods when concentration on work is difficult, but if an individual's focus is being severely impaired while doing hobbies they can usually manage, it is a good idea to talk to a doctor.

Of course, reduced concentration isn't necessarily caused by dementia. A whole host of other conditions could be behind it, which is why a professional medical assessment is so critical. Depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are two common psychological illnesses that cause a lack of concentration, while hormonal disorders like hypothyroidism might point to a physical cause.

Continue reading to learn what to watch for in personality when it comes to dementia.

Personality Changes

Individuals with dementia will usually undergo some personality changes. One cognitive change might be a loss of interest in hobbies and activities they previously enjoyed, and they may also have completely changed behavioral patterns and priorities.

Dementia alters the brain as it progresses. The earliest personality changes individuals might see are increased anxiety and depression. The changes will become more severe and unpredictable as the disease progresses. Patients may also make impulsive decisions or become angry for no reason. There's also a phenomenon called sundowning, in which a patient will become more upset during the night. Dementia patients often have their aggression triggered when they are in pain, overstimulated, or stressed and confused. If individuals have experienced any unusual changes in their personality, it's important to talk to a doctor. Even if the cause isn't dementia, it is likely a treatable neurological or psychological illness.

Get the details on more early indicators of dementia now.

Apathy And Withdrawal

Dementia patients will often experience apathy and withdrawal. In many cases, these symptoms are paired with a lack of concentration or depressed mood. Patients who are apathetic may cease to have an interest in any aspect of their lives, from hobbies and relationships to self-care. In its most extreme state, this withdrawal from life may resemble a sort of catatonia.

If an individual experiences extreme apathy and withdrawal, seeing a medical professional is imperative. Studies show increased apathy in dementia patients might be a sign the disease is progressing more quickly than normal. In addition, even if the cause isn't dementia, such behavior can be a sign of other neurological or psychological illness.

Read more now to avoid being confused by the next sign of dementia.

Increased Confusion

An increase in confusion is an often-overlooked early warning sign of dementia, typically played off as no big deal. By the time the confusion reaches a point that requires medical intervention, it may be too late to use preventative treatment measures.

Dementia patients will become confused more easily in different situations. They might find themselves having difficulty following or contributing to a complex conversation. They may also forget what they're doing in the middle of a task, or forget where they are and where they're going. This confusion might occur over mild things, but if individuals notice an increase in their overall confusion or the confusion of a loved one, a doctor should do an assessment. The confusion and forgetfulness will also come with a decrease in the affected individual's ability to reason. They might make dangerous decisions, ignore hygiene requirements, or forget to eat.

Continue reading to learn more about a sign an individual's memory is being impacted.

Remembering Recent Events

Memory loss is the most characteristic symptom of dementia. In many cases, dementia patients will forget recent events, but they will remember things from years ago like they happened yesterday. Dementia patients might become confused enough to believe they're younger or interacting with people who have passed away.

Difficulty remembering recent events isn't limited to just the 'forgetting people' experience. In the early stages of the disease, an affected individual might repeat a task several times after forgetting they have already done it. They might wash their face three times in the morning, change their clothes several times, or repeat tasks unnecessarily in the workplace. It's also common for individuals to forget events that just occurred. One example is getting gas and then forgetting if they closed the fuel gauge or not and repeating the action to make sure.

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