9 Most Commons Signs of Dementia

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Known as a major neurocognitive disorder, dementia is a group of symptoms that are caused by multiple medical conditions.

It causes a person to have problems with reasoning, memory, and thinking. This happens when sections of the brain responsible for language, memory, learning, and decision making is affected by disease or become damaged.

signs-of-dementia

There is still no cure for dementia, which progresses into various stages.

Dementia is normally not easy to diagnose, especially in its initial stages. There are some warning signs, however, that can help experts with the diagnosis process.

Check out the nine most common signs of dementia below.

1. Forgetfulness

forgetfulness

Memory loss is among one of the most common signs of dementia. However, it is important to note that almost all persons experience forgetfulness at one point in their lives and this does not mean that they are developing dementia.

Other factors relate to memory issues, including medical conditions, aging, and emotional problems. With dementia, affected individuals usually experience short-term memory. This implies that a person will have a hard time remembering recent events.

It can be instructions from the doctor in the morning or the activities they took part in the previous week. The inability to remember recent events contrasts with an individual’s ability to recall events from earlier years or minor details. Memory loss problems for people with dementia also become more persistent and severe as time goes by.

Memory loss is also accompanied by changes in the way an individual feels, behaves, and thinks. Like with all other aspects of dementia, memory affects people differently.

2. Self-Neglect
A high percentage of people with dementia will start to showcase signs of self-neglect, where they disregard hygiene and personal grooming. This is where some individuals may begin to lose interest or forget about taking a shower, using the toilet, brushing their teeth, or changing their clothes.

Others will also not cut their nails short, shave, wash or brush their hair. Most people will not remember when they are supposed to do all these things. This can be quite dangerous when left to go on because it can cause skin breakdown, offensive odors, and discomfort.

When this happens, the responsibility normally falls back to the caregivers to ensure that the sick person takes good care of themselves. Caregivers can offer support by creating the ideal environment for persons with dementia to practice good hygiene and grooming so that they can avoid the problems that come with self-neglect.

3. Peculiar Eating Habits

peculiar-eating-habits

Appetite changes also count as common signs of dementia. You may notice that your aging loved one has sudden changes in what they want to eat or drink.

Many will start to experience unhealthy cravings for sugary foods and meals with high calories. This happens because taste buds diminish as the illness progresses. Most people with dementia no longer experience flavor or taste food as they used to.

The brain’s insulin levels may also drop, leading to these cravings. While some people overeat leading to weight gain, some will have no appetite, which can lead to unhealthy weight loss.

Preferences may also change where a person who was once a staunch vegetarian now wants to eat meat. Some may even want to disregard their religious beliefs and eat foods that are forbidden in their faith.

As time passes, a person may start to put things into their mouths that are not food. These can include stuff like soap, flowers, or napkins.

4. Loss of Everyday Skills

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Dementia also affects how people go about their day to day lives. It is not uncommon to enter the house of someone you once thought of as a “clean-freak” and find it looking like a hurricane went through.

The person may not have the energy or motivation they need to keep their house as neat as it was in the past. Dementia makes it hard for someone to keep up with the day to day activities. A person may conduct tasks they do every day halfway or not do them at all.

Medics evaluate an individual’s ability to perform daily activities when assessing cognitive functioning. Dementia impacts many brain functions that help to perform activities of daily living. This includes executive functioning where planning, organization, and sequencing becomes very challenging.

5. Language Problems
Communication problems also make a considerable part of signs of dementia. This is where a person may start using a preservative language where they keep repeating the same question or statement over and over again.

Some people also experience stereotypy of speech where they economize their utterances mainly because they do not have much to say or have few ideas and have difficulties executing them.

Additionally, many persons will find it challenging to follow conversations while speaking to others. They may have a hard time finding the correct words to complete a sentence or phrase. Language problems often go beyond speech. Some persons will also have challenges when writing.

Their texts may feature loads of grammatical errors, which might include incorrect use of jargon, prepositions, articles, auxiliary verbs, etc. Reading texts may also become difficult. Persons who are proficient in more than one language may find themselves regressing to their primary language.

6. Impaired Recognition

impaired-recognition

Recognition problems make part of the warning signs of dementia. The most common problem persons with dementia have is recognizing the faces of people who are dear to them. This mostly happens for people with Alzheimer’s disease.

For some, they may still recognize familiar faces, but because of short-term memory loss, expect to see someone who is younger in front of them.

With others, the part of the brain responsible for recognizing faces becomes damaged. In the course of the illness, a person may also lose the ability to recognize themselves when they look in the mirror or their photos.

Other than problems recognizing faces, a person with dementia may also have difficulties remembering familiar things. These include stuff like chairs, toothbrushes, kettles, cutlery, cooker, fridge and so forth. This is where you can find a person misplacing things. For instance, one may want to put their shoes inside the oven or keys inside flour.

7. A Host of Psychological Changes
When talking about signs of dementia, it is also prudent to mention that persons with the illness can experience different types of psychological changes. Among these include personality changes.

For instance, a bubbly outgoing person may all over sudden become reserved and quiet. Some people may also fall into depression, especially after getting confirmation of diagnosis.

Anxiety levels may also increase.

Some persons even exhibit inappropriate behavior that they would have never done if they were not sick. You may find that a person wants to undress in public or becomes vulgar with other people for no apparent reason. Most people with dementia will also experience episodes of paranoia or hallucinations.

8. Disorientation
Wandering and getting lost, especially in familiar places, is another sign that could be an indication that a person has dementia. Disorientation also comes as a result of forgetting the time, day of the week or date.

Some will not know which year or season it is. Most will have a hard time getting home or remembering how they got to a friend’s place. They may also have a difficult time getting about familiar shops, offices, and other buildings.

Many people will also find themselves confusing night and day. Such individuals will want to sleep most of the day and stay awake at night. You may also find that such a person experiences confusion in their home to the extent that they start looking for kitchen appliances in the bathroom or bedroom.

9. More Doctor Visits

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It is safe to conclude that among the signs of dementia is a person always getting sick even when they were “perfectly” healthy before. This is because the illness affects many body systems that lose their functioning abilities.

Various health conditions may affect a person because of dementia, including:

Pneumonia
This usually comes about when the sick person has difficulties swallowing. It increases the risk of choking and food aspiration into the lungs, which can cause a blockage that leads to pneumonia.

Nutritional problems
This makes the body’s immune system to go down because the body does not get enough nutrients and minerals to fight off infections and diseases.

Fever
Many people with dementia also have to treat frequent fevers where their temperatures rise by 2 degrees or more of the average body temp. Fevers can a sign of dehydration that is caused by a lack of fluids, infections, constipation, and heatstroke.

Falls are also quite common with people who have dementia. This is because some people have trouble keeping balance and walking. Others also have changes in-depth perception; thus usually have a hard time judging distances. For example, a person may find themselves trying to step down hard when walking from a tile floor to a carpet one. Such moves put one at risk of falls.

Dental Problems
As dementia progresses, a percentage of people with the disease will start to develop problems with their dental health. This is where they can get lumps, sores, decayed teeth and food pocketed on the roof of the mouth or in the cheek, etc.

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Summary
Title
9 Most Commons Signs of Dementia
Description
Known as a major neurocognitive disorder, dementia is a group of symptoms that are caused by multiple medical conditions.

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