Signs of dementia usually appear in this order – Eat this, not that

Diagnosing dementia early can lead to better treatment, doctors say — so it’s important to know the signs when you see them. “It is estimated that more than 55 million people are living with Alzheimer’s disease and other causes of dementia worldwide, and that number is projected to rise to 78 million by 2030 and 139 million by 2050,” says Andrew E. Budson, MD. “There simply aren’t enough neurologists, psychiatrists, geriatricians, neuropsychologists and other specialists to diagnose these individuals with cognitive decline and dementia. Primary caregivers need to take the lead.” Here are the most common signs of dementia doctors say to look out for. Read on – and don’t miss these to protect your health and the health of others Sure signs you already had COVID.

While some forms of memory loss — forgetting where you left your keys, for example — aren’t a cause for alarm, dramatic changes in memory can be a sign of dementia. “For me it’s important when I try to understand the person I see in the clinic to find out where they come from.” says Samantha Holden, MD. “What’s your baseline? Was there a change or decline in their thinking and memory? Not that there was always a deficit – like a learning disability – but that a person was fine before and not now.”

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Portrait of a worried mature woman having problems with her finances

Confusion is one of the earliest signs of dementia and may not be immediately apparent. “Confusion is a common problem in people over the age of 65,” says a medical research article published in American family doctor. “The decline in normal cognitive abilities can be acute or chronic and progressive. In older people, confusion is most likely a symptom of delirium or dementia, although it can also be associated with psychosis and mood disorders, particularly major depression.”

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Sleep disorders are closely linked to dementia, with some people having symptoms years before a diagnosis. “We can diagnose the sleep disorder with a sleep study. And there is a high probability that a person with this disorder will develop LBD (Lewy body dementia) or Parkinson’s disease.” says neurologist James Leverenz, MD. “Often when someone comes in for an exam and we ask about sleep disorders, the bed partner will say, ‘Oh, they’ve been doing this for years.'”

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middle aged woman with memory loss or alzheimer's or dementia talking to doctor or nurse at home
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Dementia can cause people to see things that aren’t there, doctors warn. “The trouble is when people start believing their visual hallucinations are real,” says dr Levenz. “If they call the police or are afraid to fall asleep, we may need to treat that symptom.”

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Losing the ability to catch a joke could be an early symptom of dementia. “If you find that your sense of humor has changed significantly, it might be worth seeking medical advice.” says Katie Puckering, Information Services Manager for Alzheimer’s Research UK.

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