Dementia– a progressive brain disorder that can affect cognition, judgment and the ability to lead independent lives – is a serious disease with one unavoidable risk factor: Become older. According to the World Health Organization, the number of dementia cases is expected to triple from the current number by 2050, simply because so many of us are getting older. Early detection is crucial because in many cases the treatments are available that can slow the progression of the disease. These are some of the signs that may indicate dementia, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Read on to find out more – and to ensure your health and that of others, don’t miss this one Certain Signs You May Have Already Had COVID.
A person with dementia may develop problems with reading, writing, or complex mental tasks such as balancing a checkbook, following directions, or making calculations. Familiar tasks, such as paying bills, cooking commonly used recipes, can become difficult, the CDC says. Conversely, coping with the unknown can be difficult for a person with dementia, who may have difficulty coping with unexpected events or changes in routine.
Someone with dementia will likely experience memory loss as an early symptom. It could be recent or important events, names and places, or where they left certain items.
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A person with dementia may have trouble focusing on tasks or find it difficult to follow directions or conversations. It’s very rare for older adults to be newly diagnosed with attention deficit disorder, experts say; new problems with attention are more suspect for dementia.
A common early sign of dementia is the decreased ability to communicate, the CDC says. The affected person may have difficulty finding the right words or finishing sentences.
A person with dementia can get lost in previously known places, such as in their own neighborhood or on a frequently driven route. They may forget how they got there and how to return home.
Dementia can cause an affected person to have difficulty walking or maintaining coordination or motor skills, the CDC says. They may have trouble balancing or judging distance, tripping over things at home, or dropping or spilling objects more often.
If you or a loved one experiences symptoms that may indicate dementia, please contact your doctor. You may be referred to a specialist — a geriatrician, neurologist, or neuropsychologist — to make a full diagnosis. Although dementia is a progressive disease that currently has no cure, early diagnosis is important so that its progression can be stopped or slowed down if possible. (It’s important to note that not every symptom listed here means you have dementia; there are other possible causes.)
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