Dementia can be treated more effectively if it’s caught early, according to doctors—so recognizing the symptoms when they appear is crucial. “It is forecasted that there are over 55 million people worldwide living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, and this amount is expected to reach 78 million by 2030 and 139 million by 2050,” Andrew E. Budson, MD tells us. “There aren’t enough geriatricians neurologists, psychiatrists, neuropsychologists, and other specialists to examine these people for dementia and cognitive decline. Primary care physicians will need to take the initiative.” Here are the most frequent signs of dementia that doctors recommend being aware of.
1 — Memory Loss
Some forms of memory loss, such as not remembering where you left your keys, are nothing to be concerned about. Extreme changes in memory might be a sign of dementia. “It’s critical for me when I’m trying to figure out the person I’m seeing at the clinic to figure out where they’re coming from,” says Samantha Holden, MD. What is their starting point? Have their ideas and memory changed or worsened? As opposed to a learning disability, which implies there has always been a problem, this might indicate that someone was previously doing well but isn’t any longer.
2 — Confusion
The earliest indication of dementia is confusion, which may not be clear right away. “Confusion is a common issue among those over 65 years old,” according to an American Family Physician medical research article. Chronic and progressive deterioration of cognitive ability may be acute or continuous. Confusion is most likely to be a symptom of dementia or delirium in older people, but it can also be a sign of psychoses and emotional problems, especially severe depression.
3 — Sleep Disorders
Sleep problems are associated with dementia, with some people showing symptoms years before a diagnosis. “We can diagnose the sleep problem with a sleep study. And there’s a good chance that someone suffering from this condition will acquire LBD (Lewy Body Dementia) or Parkinson’s disease,” says neurologist James Leverenz, MD. “When people come in to be evaluated and we ask them about sleep issues, the bed partner often replies, ‘Oh, they have been doing that for years.'”
4 — Hallucinations
Dementia may lead to hallucinations that aren’t there, according to doctors. “It becomes an issue when people start thinking their visual hallucinations are real,” says Dr. Leverenz. We may need to deal with this symptom if they call the cops or can’t go to sleep because they’re afraid.