Steve Thompson recalls signs of his early-onset dementia
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Dementia describes a cluster of symptoms linked to an ongoing cognitive decline. While the greatest known risk for dementia is increasing age, this condition is not considered a normal part of ageing. Being able to identify the warning signs promptly can buy you precious time to intervene before it’s too late. Here are five “early” signs that shouldn’t be ignored.
While there’s currently no treatment for dementia, an early diagnosis could help you get the right treatment straight away, making symptoms awareness front and centre.
Memory loss is one of the best-known red flag signs of Alzheimer’s disease but other more subtle signs can also appear.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are five warning signs that could ring alarm bells.
Challenges in planning or solving problems
Whether you struggle to follow a family recipe or keep on top of your monthly bills, some dementia patients find it difficult to follow a plan or work with numbers.
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Alzheimer’s can also cause problems concentrating which might mean you need to take much longer to do familiar things.
One typical sign in this category is making “occasional errors” when managing finances or household bills.
Difficulty completing familiar tasks
Similarly to the struggle of following a family recipe, things you’ve done hundred times might suddenly become foreign.
From driving to a familiar location to recording your favourite TV show, people with Alzheimer’s often struggle to complete simple daily tasks.
Confusion with time or place
When you are on holiday or taking time off work, it’s easy to forget what day it is and let the time pass.
However, people with Alzheimer’s don’t only lose track of dates but seasons as well.
Patients might even forget where they are and how they got there.
Problems with words in speaking or writing
If you keep finding yourself unable to follow or join a conversation, it could be a red flag sign.
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Sometimes, patients stop in the middle of a conversation and have no idea how to continue or they may repeat what they have already said.
Furthermore, they may struggle with vocabulary, have trouble naming a familiar object or start using the wrong names.
Always looking for your phone and keys? Putting things in unusual places or losing objects is another “early” sign of Alzheimer’s disease.
What’s worse, patients often find they are unable to retrace their steps to find the misplaced objects again.
Furthermore, you might start accusing others of stealing your things, especially once the disease progresses.
The Alzheimer’s Association advises: “If you notice one or more signs in yourself or another person, it can be difficult to know what to do.
“It’s natural to feel uncertain or nervous about discussing these changes with others.
“However, these are significant health concerns that should be evaluated by a doctor, and it’s important to take action to figure out what’s going on.”
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