10 early signs of alzheimer's and dementia

10 Early Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer's and Dementia

Did you know that, globally, over 55 million people suffer from dementia, with more than 60% residing in low- and middle-income nations? Approximately 10 million new cases are reported annually.

As people age, mild forgetfulness may be a common problem. It is not a major memory issue if you can not recall someone's name right away but can later on. However, memory issues may be early warning signs of Alzheimer's disease if they are significantly interfering with your day-to-day activities. While the number and severity of your symptoms may vary, it is critical to identify the early warning signs. 

In this article, we will look at some of the most common dementia warning signs, as well as their causes, risk factors, and, most importantly, the prevention of them. So, let’s read on to find out!

A Quick Overview - Dementia and Alzheimer

Dementia and Alzheimer's are not the same, though they are closely related. Dementia is a broad term used to describe a range of symptoms affecting memory, thinking, and social abilities severely enough to interfere with daily functioning. It is a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to impact daily life. 

On the other hand, Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia. It is a specific brain disease that progressively affects memory and cognitive functions. While all Alzheimer's patients have dementia, not all dementia patients have Alzheimer's.

10 Early Signs & Symptoms of Alzheimer's and Dementia

Here are 10 early signs and symptoms to be aware of:

1. Memory Loss Affecting Daily Activities

One of the most recognizable early symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer's is memory loss, especially forgetting recently learned information. This includes forgetting important dates or events, asking for the same information repeatedly, and increasingly needing to rely on memory aids or family members for things they used to handle on their own.

2. Difficulty Planning or Solving Problems

Some people may experience changes in their ability to develop and follow a plan or work with numbers. They may have trouble following a familiar recipe, keeping track of monthly bills, or counting change. They might find it difficult to concentrate and take much longer to do things than before.

3. Trouble Completing Familiar Tasks

Daily tasks can become a challenge, such as driving to a familiar location, managing a budget at work, or remembering the rules of a favorite game. The routine activities that were once performed quickly and easily can become increasingly difficult and may require significantly more effort.

4. Confusion with Time or Place

People with Alzheimer's can lose track of dates, seasons, and the passage of time. They may have trouble understanding something if it is not happening immediately. Sometimes they may forget where they are or how they got there.

5. Trouble Understanding Visual Images and Spatial Relationships

For some, having vision problems is a sign of Alzheimer's. This may lead to difficulty with balance or trouble reading. They may also have problems judging distance and determining color or contrast, causing issues with driving.

6. New Problems with Words in Speaking or Writing

Alzheimer's patients may have difficulty following or joining a conversation. They may stop in the middle of a conversation and have no idea how to continue or they may repeat themselves. They may struggle with vocabulary, have problems finding the right word, or call things by the wrong name.

7. Misplacing Things and Losing the Ability to Retrace Steps

A person with Alzheimer's disease may put things in unusual places. They may lose things and be unable to go back over their steps to find them again. Sometimes, they may accuse others of stealing. This may occur more frequently over time.

8. Decreased or Poor Judgment

Changes in judgment or decision-making can also occur. For example, they may use poor judgment when dealing with money, giving large amounts to telemarketers. They may pay less attention to grooming or keeping themselves clean.

9. Withdrawal from Work or Social Activities

A person with Alzheimer's symptoms may start to remove themselves from hobbies, social activities, work projects, or sports. They may have trouble keeping up with a favorite sports team or remembering how to complete a favorite hobby. They may also avoid being social because of the changes they have experienced.

10. Changes in Mood and Personality

The moods and personalities of people with Alzheimer's can change. They can become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful, or anxious. They may be easily upset at home, at work, with friends, or in places where they are out of their comfort zone.

What are the Causes of Dementia?

signs and symptoms of alzheimer's and dementia

Fundamentally, dementia is caused by damage to the brain's neurons. However, dementia is not a single disease, but rather a broad category that includes a variety of cognitive dysfunctions. Notably, Alzheimer’s disease constitutes 60 to 80% of these cases, as per the Alzheimer’s Association.

The reasons for brain neuron damage are diverse and can include:

  • Protein buildup in the brain
  • Insufficient cerebral blood supply
  • Head injuries
  • Nutritional deficiencies, particularly in vitamins
  • Adverse effects from some medications

Risk Factors that Influence Alzheimer's and Dementia

Certain dementia risk factors are beyond individual control, including age, biological sex, gender identity, and genetic background. However, some risk factors are considered "modifiable," offering opportunities for change and intervention. Key risk factors for Alzheimer's and Dementia are:

  • Age: Research from 2020 indicates that advancing age is the most significant risk factor for dementia, with the incidence increasing notably after age 65.
  • Biological Sex and Gender Identity: A review from 2016 highlights that women have a higher likelihood of developing early symptoms of dementia & Alzheimer’s, whereas men are more prone to other forms of dementia, such as Lewy body dementia.
  • Genetic Factors: Having a family history of dementia, including Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia, elevates the risk. Frontotemporal dementia also shows a hereditary pattern.
  • Cardiovascular Health: Findings from 2005 point out that vascular health issues can escalate dementia risk. Contributing factors include high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, heart disease, and reduced cerebral blood flow, often resulting from strokes.
  • Nutritional Deficiencies: Research from 2014 suggests a link between vitamin D deficiency and an increased risk of developing dementia.
  • Ethnic and Racial Background: Studies in 2018 have shown that Latino and African American populations face a higher risk of Alzheimer’s & dementia disease, potentially due to healthcare disparities.

Get Help Managing Your Alzheimer's and Dementia Symptoms 

Dementia includes different brain conditions that can make it hard for people to remember things, communicate, think clearly, and take care of themselves. Even though many people think dementia and Alzheimer's disease are the same, they're actually different. Alzheimer's is just one type of dementia, but there are many others.

If you or someone you know starts having trouble with thinking or remembering things, it's important to talk to a doctor. Even though some types of dementia can't be cured, there are ways to help slow down how fast the disease gets worse.

Considering natural treatments, like what Deep Ayurveda offers with their Alzheimer's Management 30 Days Pack, might be helpful. These treatments use ancient Ayurvedic methods to help improve memory and thinking and could be part of taking care of brain health.

So, if you're noticing these kinds of issues, getting help early can make a big difference. Talk to a doctor and check out all your options, including natural ones like Ayurveda, to manage the condition better.

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