Do you have dementia

Impending dementia? 10 Important Symptoms You Should Know About

Dementia is one of the most common mental illnesses, and in an international comparison Germany ranks fifth for illnesses of this type. Fear of dementia therefore not only affects older people, but people over the age of 50 can also be confronted with the persistent memory impairment. That is why early detection is extremely important - you can find out all about it here.

The clinical picture of dementia is not clear, but summarizes certain symptoms. These can all occur in a single patient, but only some of them. In general, dementia describes a progressive condition in which the performance of the memory continues to decline. This also often leads to changes in personality and interpersonal behavior.

What are the first typical signs of dementia?

A dementia always starts creeping. This is what distinguishes them from delirium, an acute occurrence of loss of cognitive abilities. It is often difficult to tell the difference between the two diseases because the symptoms are quite similar.

In the following, we will introduce you to the most common symptoms of dementia that indicate an early stage. Good to know: We have put together an overview with all the facts about dementia for you on this page.

1. Forgetfulness & Confusion

Missed the birthday? Forgot the name? It happens to everyone. However, if forgetfulness and states of confusion increase, this can be a warning sign of dementia.

2. Depression

Here it is important to take a closer look: Depression can already be part of dementia or maybe a preliminary stage in the course of which cognitive skills are lost and then lead to dementia.

3. Aggression & irritability

As people get older, they often become more sensitive and picky. However, if the personality changes noticeably and previously friendly people are always more easily irritable or quarrelsome, the causes should be questioned.

4. Personality changes

However, further changes in personality can also tend in the other direction: Often, elderly people in particular are very tired. The relative may become whiny or anxious; sometimes there is an inexplicable restlessness.

5. Loss of smell

If you suddenly can't smell anything or lose your sense of taste (both are linked to one another), you should be certain of the trigger. Dementia and especially Parkinson's disease are often associated with loss of smell.

6. Hallucinations & delusions

This symptom may worsen as the disease progresses. At the beginning it is often more pictures from the past that mix with current events and you think, for example, that you recognize your own mother in the nurse. Delusions can be, for example: the postman withholds important letters or the neighbors deliberately annoy the patient. The important thing is not to ignore, but to take it seriously!

7. Language difficulties

Words are swapped or omitted, sentences become incomprehensible: language restrictions or problems following the conversation also indicate a gradual loss of memory.

8. Disorientation

Suddenly your loved one can no longer find their way around in their familiar surroundings and is surprised when you arrive at the agreed time. Or he often forgets which day is exactly or appointments are repeatedly called into question. He could even be standing in his own street and have lost his bearings. Spatial and temporal disorientation is a characteristic of early-stage dementia.

9. Problems in everyday life

Complex relationships that previously worked well are no longer recognized. This is how usual actions from everyday life no longer work. Shopping becomes a challenge and hailing a taxi becomes an insurmountable hurdle. Beware of sources of danger: irons are no longer switched off, the stove is left on, the door is not locked or strangers are invited into the house.

10. Decreasing activity

Many people perceive that they are no longer as efficient and try to hide this. This is how they limit their activity radius: the Skat round is canceled because the bus ride is too difficult or relatives are repeatedly asked to do the shopping because you no longer trust yourself to do it. It also includes giving reasons so that you do not have to leave your familiar, safe environment.

Important to know: These signs do not mean that you DEFINITELY have dementia. These are the first warnings that should be followed up. However, only a doctor can make a reliable diagnosis!

Various tests for dementia are offered on the Internet that can give you additional information. But here, too, the following applies: Without a medical examination, there is no definitive diagnosis!

You can find more information on how to recognize and treat dementia here.

What types of dementia are there?

A distinction is made between primary and secondary forms of dementia. In the former, the disease starts from the brain without external influences and is usually irreversible, but can be delayed. To do this, however, it has to be recognized at an early stage and the patient's skills have to be strengthened. Secondary dementia arises from a previous illness. There are forms that are treatable and lead to improvements.

Alzheimer's disease

The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer's disease. The nerve cells in the brain die in the process, so that mental performance continues to decline. Exactly which trigger is responsible for this has not yet been clearly researched.

Vascular dementia

This is the second most common and is caused by circulatory disorders in the brain. Risk factors for this type of dementia are irregular heart rhythm, persistently high blood pressure (hypertension), narrowed blood vessels (arteriosclerosis) and a stroke. Because dementia can also develop after a stroke.

Lewy body dementia

The symptoms are very similar to Alzheimer's disease. Characteristic (but not always a must) are strong fluctuations in performance, very present hallucinations, tremors and stiff joints, which can lead to falls, among other things.

Frontotemporal dementia

Dementia, which often occurs from around the age of 50: nerve cells in particular die in the frontal lobe and in the temporal lobe, which is expressed in personality changes.

Alcohol-related dementia (Korsakoff syndrome)

Alcohol is a neurotoxin - if you drink too much of it over the long term, your brain will be irreversibly damaged. Anyone who has practiced this for many years is at risk of considerable loss of speech and memory.

Dementia in children

Neural ceroid lipofuscinosis (NCL) is an insidious disease that affects children from a very young age. It is caused by defects in the genetic make-up and is associated with dementia.

How can I prevent dementia?

Doctors assume that dementia “slumbers” in people for many years before it breaks out. Because of this there is unfortunately no cure or any protection that can be used preventively.

What you have had good experiences with and what never hurts:

  • healthy lifestyle with little alcohol, no smoking, no drug abuse (alcohol-related dementia is definitely no longer an issue)
  • a lot of movement - stay active both physically and mentally!
  • good, balanced food with lots of fruits and vegetables, vitamin C, beta-carotene, unsaturated fatty acids, low cholesterol
  • Treatment of influencing diseases such as high blood pressure, cardiac arrhythmias and diabetes mellitus

Conclusion

If you notice one or more of the above symptoms in yourself or a loved one, don't be afraid to see a doctor. Only this can provide you with a reliable diagnosis. And the earlier the dementia is recognized, the sooner the therapy can begin. This is usually done with medication, but you can also make life easier for people with dementia at home, for example with aids such as walkers or bathroom modifications. Sensor doormats can also help to protect disoriented people. In the medical supply store you will also find small everyday helpers such as nurse call sets that simplify life with dementia or Alzheimer's.

Do you need help caring for someone with dementia? Do you know which care aids you are entitled to? We would be happy to advise you on this, also by phone 0202 43046 - 800.