Recognizing the early dementia signs and symptoms is crucial for ensuring that the patient has access to the best treatment and care available. Dementia is a progressive disease affecting the brain and although Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, there are several other different causes.
Early dementia signs and symptoms will sometimes vary depending on what the underlying reason for the dementia is, plus which part of the brain is affected, but as the dementia progresses, there will be a marked similarity in the general symptoms exhibited by patients with dementia.
The first recognizable symptom in patients with Alzheimer’s disease is generally memory loss. Forgetting names of loved ones as well as places is very common. Patients also tend to suffer from short term memory loss and will continually repeat the same question or information multiple times.
As the name suggests, frontal lobe dementia affects the frontal lobe, which is where speech and language skills are centered. A patient with frontal lobe dementia will usually exhibit problems with speech in the early stages of the disease, which marks this type of dementia out as different to Alzheimer’s disease.
Changes in personality and social behavior are common to all types of dementia and in the early stages of the disease most people will start to notice subtle differences in the behavior of their loved ones. Some people show signs of depression and withdraw from all aspects of normal life, whereas others begin to behave in an inappropriate manner or become very aggressive and paranoid. In many cases the changes are very subtle, but in others the changes in personality are much more apparent.
Early dementia signs and symptoms often include poor judgment and confusion. When a person who previously took great pride in their appearance suddenly loses all interest in personal hygiene and grooming, it is a definite warning sign that something is wrong. If that person also seems confused a lot of the time, progressive dementia is a very likely explanation. Poor judgment is often illustrated by cases of dementia patients becoming unable to handle their own finances, or hoarding large sums of money in inappropriate locations because of a paranoid fear that the bank is stealing their life savings.
Many patients in the early stages of dementia struggle to cope with routine everyday tasks they previously had no problems with. Even a simple task such as making a cup of tea becomes impossible and it is not uncommon for dementia patients to forget to eat or drink for long periods of time.
It is to wise be aware of the early dementia signs and symptoms. If you spot anything amiss in an elderly relative, seek medical advice in order that a full assessment can be carried out before the patient’s condition deteriorates even further. Although dementia is incurable, there are various treatments available that can help to slow down the onslaught of the disease, so an early diagnosis is preferable in order to help the patient enjoy a reasonable quality of life for as long as possible.