9 Early Signs of Dementia Explained

9 Early Signs of Dementia Explained

Dementia is a neurological disorder that progressively impairs cognitive functions affecting one’s analytical, reasoning, and memory skills. There is no cure for the condition, and it is only possible to improve the quality of life with suggested treatments, changes in nutrition, and daily lifestyle. For this, one must be able to learn and identify early dementia signs for a thorough diagnosis. Here are 9 noticeable signs and symptoms of the neurological disorder to help promptly diagnose the condition.

Trouble with memory
Dementia primarily affects the brain’s ability to retain information, impacting short-term and long-term memory. Note that there is no consistent or recognizable pattern here. A person who develops dementia will struggle with memory loss and reduced cognitive, analytical, and reasoning skills, impacting daily routine. Memory lapses can start with isolated events where one struggles to recall important things or remember them later in the day.

Lapses in retaining information will also create a lot of confusion. One might forget how to do a familiar task or swiftly adapt to a familiar situation. A person might even ask queries and repeat the question, forgetting it has already been answered. These are all early signs of cognitive decline, and the severity of these symptoms will vary from person to person.

Increased disorientation
Dementia progressively impacts a person’s ability to navigate, even if one is accustomed to the location. Disorientation can happen at home or outside with symptoms like forgetting the way home from the supermarket or losing a general sense of direction. As the condition worsens, one might struggle to follow or remember simple instructions for navigating. It is also possible to experience trouble adjusting and adapting to the surroundings in general as one loses general awareness. Even gauging distance can become difficult due to reduced awareness.

Repetition is a common sign of developing cognitive problems. It mainly happens because the affected person has forgotten whether the task has already been done or needs to be done. Memory loss and confusion trigger the repetition of routine actions. These include shaving multiple times, taking a bath multiple times, or any action that is part of one’s normal daily routine. In the initial stages, repetitive action is noticeable with familiar tasks. But as the condition progresses, these actions can get out of the patient’s control. Hoarding is another one of the major signs of progressive repetition, where the affected person begins to collect inanimate and useless objects impulsively. Even if the object has no significant value, dementia patients will compulsively hoard the object and become agitated if separated from the same.

Behavioral and personality changes
Dementia affects cognitive functions, and certain behavioral and personality traits develop as it worsens. It can begin with something as generic as losing interest in activities, developing suspicion about situations, and struggling to find the reason. However, progressive symptoms can trigger personality traits, including unexplained fear of everything and increased anxiety. A person is more likely to experience mood swings during the day triggered by any conversation or due to a situation. Combined, these symptoms impact decision-making and affect one’s daily routine. Also, no two behavioral changes will be similar as these symptoms progress based on the severity of the condition.

Increased impulsiveness
With personality changes, a person might develop certain impulsive habits and traits that impact their overall behavior. Dementia impairs cognitive function, and as a result, a person will struggle to complete some of the most basic tasks that one would otherwise have no trouble doing. This triggers frustration and upsets the psyche of the person, leading to anger and irritation. Suddenly losing one’s calm in the least provoking situation or conversation is a sign of increased impulsiveness. Dementia patients also develop an irrational fear and look at everyone with suspicion.

Aggressive behavior
Aggression is also one of the noticeable signs of dementia. A person gets angry or irritated purely due to the inability to perform basic actions. Aggressive actions can get out of control if not addressed in time, as there is simply no telling when the person might lose calm. It will also be difficult to gauge the outcome of the situation due to one’s uncontrolled aggression. So, immediate psychological consultation is advisable for these symptoms.

Problems with speech and language
Dementia also impairs the speech and language centers of the brain. The brain sends and receives electrical impulses using an intricate network of nerves to control these functions. The neurological disorder disrupts these signals causing speech impairment and language difficulties. It is not uncommon for dementia patients to misspell or mispronounce words or make grammatical errors while constructing a sentence. As the condition progresses, a person might also forget the names of everyday use objects, have trouble describing something, or even completely forget commonly used words. For example, patients might refer to a wristwatch as a hand clock because they cannot recall the correct usage. These symptoms should not be overlooked as the condition worsens with time, resulting in severe impairment.

Isolation from social gatherings
Progressive dementia will affect vital cognitive functions that control speech, behavior, and overall personality. As the symptoms worsen, the affected person will actively isolate oneself from social gatherings and situations due to the fear of acting out. One tends to avoid big gatherings, even if the event is hosted by known family members and friends. A person with dementia fears being unable to speak properly, comprehensively, or react appropriately in a situation. It is also possible to experience abrupt mood changes or develop unexpected fits of aggression during the social convention. These are the main reasons why dementia patients shy away from social activities and interactions altogether.

Understand that at any point, if these symptoms persist or progress beyond reasonable control, immediate consultation is advisable. Early diagnosis can help improve the future outlook on managing neurological disorders.