An early warning sign of dementia could be spotted when carrying out “familiar tasks”.
Experts at The Alzheimer’s Association have warned that memory loss impacting your daily life should not be ignored as it may be a sign of dementia.
Signs can vary between people with some barely noticeable and others experiencing obvious symptoms early on as a decline in memory begins to disrupt ‘simple’ activities.
The number of people diagnosed with dementia is growing, reports The Express.
This is perhaps because we are living longer, but the diagnosis can be concerning nevertheless.
More than one million people in the UK will be living with dementia by 2025, according to Dementia UK.
Early diagnosis can really help as it means the progression of the disease can be slowed down in some cases.
It is important to book an appointment with your GP if you notice any changes and are worried.
The Alzheimer’s Association said: “Alzheimer’s is a brain disease that causes a slow decline in memory, thinking and reasoning skills, and if you notice signs don’t ignore them and instead schedule an appointment with your doctor.”
The organization added: “With early detection, you can explore treatments that may provide some relief of symptoms and help you maintain a level of independence longer, as well as increase your chances of participating in clinical drug trials.”
It notes that one key early sign in some people living with dementia may show in their ability to develop and follow a plan or work with numbers.
“They may have trouble following a familiar recipe or keeping track of monthly bills.
“They may have difficulty concentrating and take much longer to do things than they did before,” the association states.
Other early signs include difficulty completing familiar tasks, confusion with time or place and trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships.
The organization also said: “People living with Alzheimer’s may have trouble 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.”
It adds: “A person living with Alzheimer’s disease may experience changes in the ability to hold or follow a conversation.
“As a result, he or she may withdraw from hobbies, social activities or other engagements. They may have trouble keeping up with a favorite team or activity.
“People living with Alzheimer’s and other dementia may have problems sleeping or experience increased confusion, anxiety or agitation.”
Dementia Australia says that the early signs of dementia “are very subtle” and may not be immediately obvious.
The Alzheimer’s Society notes that mid-life – from your 40s into your early 60s – is a good time to start taking steps to reduce your risk of developing dementia, though it is helpful to take steps at any age.
“The brain changes that cause dementia can start years or even decades before symptoms develop. If you live a healthy lifestyle now, you are reducing the chances that these brain changes will happen.” it adds.
Some dementia risk factors are impossible to change, such as age and genetics, however research suggests other risk factors may also be important, and may be possible to change.
The NHS suggests that risk factors such as hearing loss, untreated depression, loneliness or social isolation, or sitting for most of the day, may be important.
The general rule of thumb is what is good for the heart is good for the brain.
As the NHS explains, a healthy lifestyle can also help prevent cardiovascular diseases, such as stroke and heart attacks, which are themselves risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.
The NHS Health Check can help find early signs and tell you if you’re at higher risk of certain health problems that can also increase your risk of dementia.
It is a free check-up of your overall health for people aged 40 to 74 who do not have heart disease, diabetes or kidney disease, and have not had a stroke, and is offered every five years.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.