Dementia is not a disease, it is a set of symptoms that can be caused by any number of diseases. Simple memory loss is not necessarily dementia, but if a loved one is exhibiting symptoms that interfere with their daily life, they might have dementia (remember, only a doctor can make a diagnosis). The most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. Early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s includes the following:
- Memory loss that disrupts daily life.
- Challenges in planning or solving problems.
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work, or at leisure.
- Confusion with time or place.
- Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships.
- New problems with words in speaking or writing.
- Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps.
- Decreased or poor judgment.
- Withdrawal from work or social activities.
- Changes in mood and personality.
Note, that some of the symptoms mentioned above can be common symptoms associated with aging, including slower thinking and problem solving, decreased attention and concentration, and slower recall. This article contains a helpful guide to distinguish between normal memory changes and symptoms of dementia. But remember, if you have any questions please seek the advice of a physician.
If you suspect your loved one has dementia, it is important to schedule an appointment with their primary care physician immediately. An appointment with a doctor can rule out other causes of the symptoms mentioned above - such as a stroke, vitamin deficiencies, thyroid problems, depression, and alcohol or drug abuse. If your relative does have dementia, it is best to get it diagnosed early so they can get treatment sooner and you can start to plan for long-term care.
As always, if you have questions do not hesitate to contact us.
The attorneys at Bennett & McClammer want to wish you and your family the best this holiday season. Have a great Thanksgiving!
What Exactly Is Dementia?, Healthline (Nov. 24, 2014, 3:05 PM), http://www.healthline.com/health/dementia/early-warning-signs#Overview1.
10 Early Signs and Symptoms of Alzhiemer’s, Alzheimer’s Association (Nov. 24, 2014, 2:53 PM), http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_10_signs_of_alzheimers.asp.
Understanding Dementia, Help Guide (Nov. 24, 2014, 3:10 PM), http://www.helpguide.org/articles/alzheimers-dementia/understanding-dementia.htm.
Early Warning Signs: When to Call the Doctor About Alzheimer’s, WebMD (Nov. 24, 2014, 3:20 PM), http://www.webmd.com/alzheimers/early-warning-signs-when-to-call-the-doctor-about-alzheimers.