Catch Dementia Early!

Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a range of progressive neurological disorders, that is, conditions
affecting the brain. There are various types of dementia, of which Alzheimer’s disease is the most common. Some
people may have a combination of types of dementia. Regardless of which type is diagnosed, each person will
experience their dementia in their own unique way.
The four most common types of dementia are:
Alzheimer’s disease
Vascular dementia
Dementia with Lewy bodies
Symptoms of dementia can include:
Memory problems – People with dementia might have problems retaining new information. They might get lost in
previously familiar places and may struggle with names. Relatives might notice the person seems more forgetful,
misplacing things regularly. However, we all forget a name or face once in a while and this is nothing to worry about. If it
happens on a frequent basis, it’s advisable to visit the GP who can check why this may be happening.
Cognitive ability, i.e. processing information – People with dementia may have difficulty with time and place, for
example, getting up in the middle of the night to go to work, even through they’re retired. Also their concentration could
be affected. There may be a difficulty when shopping with choosing the items and then paying for them. For some
people with dementia the ability to reason and make decisions may also be affected. Some people with dementia get a
sense of restlessness and prefer to keep moving than sit still; others may be reluctant to take part in activities they used
to enjoy.
Communication – People with dementia may repeat themselves often or have difficulty finding the right words. Reading
and writing might become challenging. They might experience changes in personality and behaviour, mood swings,
anxiety and depression. People with dementia can lose interest in seeing others socially. Following and engaging in
conversation can be difficult and tiring, and so a formerly outgoing person might become quieter and more introverted.
Their self-confidence might be affected.
Dementia can be seen as a combination of one, or all of the above symptoms. If you or someone you know is
experiencing one or more of these symptoms, which have been occurring for a while and are progressively getting
worse, then please arrange a visit to the GP. There are many other reasons someone might be experiencing confusion
or memory problems, so it is best to get them checked out and treated if necessary.
How to reduce the risk of developing dementia
Dementia affects both men and women, with women more likely to develop Alzheimer’s and men more likely to develop
vascular dementia. We can’t rule out the risk of developing dementia entirely, but we can develop a healthy lifestyle
which reduces some of that risk. As a general rule, what’s good for the heart is good for the brain. Giving up smoking,
eating a healthy diet, regular exercise and reducing alcohol intake are all ways in which we can adopt a healthy lifestyle
protecting the heart and brain. Keeping socially active, reducing cholesterol and lowering blood pressure also have a
positive impact on your health and well being.

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