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What are the initial signs of having dementia?

What are the initial signs of having dementia?

When a group of symptoms significantly interfere with day-to-day functioning, including memory, thinking, and social skills, it is referred to as dementia. There are many conditions that can cause dementia, even if there isn’t one specific illness that does.

Memory loss is a common symptom of dementia, but it can have many different causes. Memory loss alone does not necessarily indicate dementia, despite the fact that it is frequently one of the first symptoms of the illness.

The most frequent cause of a progressive dementia in older persons is Alzheimer’s disease, although there are several other dementia-related conditions as well. Some dementia symptoms could be reversible, depending on the underlying reason.

Types of Dementia

Although some of these dementias are treatable, they cannot be reversed:

  • Alzheimer’s condition
  • arterial dementia
  • Parkinson’s disease and other conditions that can cause dementia
  • Mental illness with Lewy bodies
  • Dementia frontotemporal (Pick’s disease)
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

Depending on which area of the brain is affected, dementia can be divided into two categories.

Problems with the cerebral cortex, the brain’s outer layer, create cortical dementias. They are essential for language and memory. These varieties of dementia are characterised by significant memory loss, inability to understand language or remember words. The cortical dementias Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and Alzheimer’s are two examples.

Subcortical dementia: Problems in the areas of the brain below the cortex create subcortical dementias. It patients frequently experience alterations in their capacity to initiate tasks and their rate of thought. People with subcortical dementia typically do not have forgetfulness or linguistic difficulties. These forms of dementia can be brought on by Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and HIV.

Some dementias have an impact on both hemispheres of the brain. Lewy Body dementia, for instance, has both cortical and subcortical components.

Other Types of Memory Loss vs. Dementia

The transient disorientation or amnesia that could be caused by an infection that goes away on its own without treatment is not dementia. It might also result from an underlying condition or a drug’s negative effects. Typically, dementia gets worse with time.

Initial Causes of Dementia

The following are the dementia’s most typical causes:

Neurological illnesses that progress over time. These consist of:

Over time, these illnesses worsen.

Vascular conditions. The circulation of blood to your brain is impacted by these diseases.

  • Traumatic brain injuries brought on by traffic collisions, slips and falls, concussions, etc.
  • central nerve system infections Meningitis, HIV, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease are a few of these.
  • long-term usage of drugs or alcohol
  • many forms of hydrocephalus, a fluid collection in the brain

Dementia can have reversible causes, such as:

  • Alcoholism or other drug abuse
  • Tumors
  • Blood clots that form beneath the brain’s covering, known as subdural hematomas
  • A collection of fluid in the brain known as normal-pressure hydrocephalus
  • metabolic diseases like a lack of vitamin B12
  • Hypothyroidism, the medical term for low thyroid hormone levels.
  • Hypoglycemia, a term for low blood sugar.
  • HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND)

Initial symptoms of dementia

Dementia affects a person’s capacity to manage their daily life since it impairs their ability to think and remember.

Some warning indicators include the following:

  • Problems with short-term memory, such as forgetting where you put something or repeatedly asking the same subject
  • difficulties with words coming to mind during communication
  • Losing direction
  • difficulty with complex but common chores, such as preparing food or paying expenses
  • Mood swings, despair, agitation, and other personality changes

Stages of Dementia

Dementia often progresses through these stages. However, it might differ according on the part of the brain that is afflicted.

  1. No disability: A person in this stage won’t exhibit any symptoms, although tests could find a problem.
  2. Very mild decline: Your loved one will remain autonomous, though you could observe subtle behavioural changes.
  3. A slight drop: More shifts in their logic and way of thinking will become apparent. They could struggle with creating plans and frequently speak in the same way. They could also struggle to recall recent occurrences.
  4. Modest deterioration: They’ll struggle harder to remember recent events and make plans. Traveling and managing money may be difficult for them.
  5. Moderately severe decline: They might not be able to recall their phone number or the names of their grandchildren. They can be uncertain of the time or the day of the week. They will now require assistance with some fundamental daily tasks, like choosing what to dress.
  6. Significant drop: They’ll start to lose track of their spouse’s name. Both eating and using the restroom will require assistance. Additionally, their emotions and demeanour may have changed.
  7. Extremely rapid fall. They are unable to express their ideas verbally. They are unable to walk and will be in bed for the majority of the day.


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