Signs of Dementia
Dementia results in a loss of mental skills to the point of affecting a person’s daily life. It often results in memory loss, but it can also affect an individual’s ability to plan and think clearly. Dementia is the result of changes in or damage to the brain. Depending on the particular cause and the area of the brain that is affected, dementia symptoms will vary from person to person.
The earliest and most glaring symptom of dementia is usually memory loss. Memory loss will often first occur surrounding recent events or may manifest itself as a failure to recognize familiar people or places. Those being affected by dementia may also struggle to find the right word, or become distracted while performing a multi-step task and following instructions.
Decision making is another area in which people with dementia will struggle. Knowing what actions to take during an emergency, or understanding what words, phrases, or information is appropriate for a given situation may also be difficult.
Lapses in grooming, bathing, and overall hygiene may be a sign of dementia onset. Dementia sufferers have difficulty keeping up simple personal attention, and the problem may extend to mood and behavior regulation as well. Depression is a common symptom, along with aggression and agitation.
Some symptoms may indicate a particular type of dementia:
- Frontotemporal dementia often causes changes in personality and unusual behavior. The condition may cause people to seem callous toward others, make rude or explicit comments, or even expose themselves.
- Dementia with Lewy bodies may frequently fall, and they experience visual hallucinations.
- Vascular dementia, which is often caused by a stroke, is characterized by a sudden onset this symptoms.
The most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, and stroke is the second. Sometimes it can be reversed, but it most often cannot.
Other causes, for which there is no cure, include:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Atherosclerosis (severe hardening of the arteries)
- Long-term high blood pressure
- Loss of consciousness from a serious head injury
- Huntington’s disease
- Leukoencephalopathies (diseases affecting deep, white-matter brain cells)
- Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
- Brain injuries sustained from boxing or accidents
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS) or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Late-stage syphilis
Sometimes dementia symptoms may result from a treatable condition. When the condition begins to improve with treatment, so will it be. These treatable causes are:
- Hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid gland)
- Deficiency in Vitamin B12
- Lead or heavy-metal poisoning
- Drug interactions and side effects
- Brain Tumors
- Normal-pressure hydrocephalus
- Chronic alcoholism
Everyone experiences degrees of memory loss and a slowing of mental capabilities as they grow older. Hence, the degeneration may not be drastic enough to affect day to day activities and qualify as dementia. It can develop quickly, or it may occur slowly over a number years. Seek the advice of a physician if you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms.
Sara N. Larson has a passion for a healthy lifestyle. As a result, she thought that it is important for everyone, especially seniors to maintain an active lifestyle along with a wholesome diet for their well-being. This is what she writes about. Sara has recently joined the Marketing team of Fort Myers Home Care.