Dementia and its Warning Signs
Robin Williams, Margaret Thatcher, Rita Hayworth, Pat Summit, Ronald Reagan, and Omar Sharif. There is a common thread connecting all these world-famous personalities. Well, they all suffered from some or other type of dementia.
What is Dementia?
Dementia is a broad term that assimilates various brain conditions. It is associated with a decline in cognitive function which hampers the ability to think, decide, behave, recall and remember. It is a rather progressive condition that escalates over time. The early stages of dementia display mild symptoms of forgetfulness, memory lapse, and personal mismanagement. During later stages, it leads to complete dependency on the caregivers. Dementia is commonly observed among the elderly population. Even so, dementia doesn’t always go hand in hand with aging.
What are the early signs of Dementia?
- Decline in memory
Dementia results in memory declination. While a common person may encounter instances of forgetfulness like missing a bill payment, misplacing phones, or keys. A dementia patient may tend to forget what a bill is, or what a phone or a key is used for. Dementia starts with short memory lapses like these. A dementia patient may struggle to keep track of day-to-day activities. At the onset the person may remember old memories and experiences, but, with the progression of the disease, that too diminishes gradually.
- Inability to perform daily tasks
The warning signs of dementia are — problems with following a step-by-step guide, forgetting daily activities like simple calculations, playing games, and difficulty in performing tasks that were easily done before. They also encounter difficulty in learning new things. Tracking their finances, bills, groceries, and laundry also become arduous for dementia patients.
Dementia hampers the spatial skills of the affected individual. This further intimates disorientation. The person is unable to judge distance, find directions, or follow instructions. They may begin their commute but may find it difficult to locate themselves a few minutes or hours later. These signs make it difficult for them to step out on their own and make them unable to keep track of the date, day, or month.
- Language troubles
The language difficulty with dementia includes putting together sentences or delivering a meaningful sentence. It is unlike our day-to-day struggles of finding the right word. A person with dementia has difficulties in putting across their thoughts and feelings. This can further decline to the inability to remember the people around them.
- Behavioral changes
A person with dementia shows abrupt changes in behavior. They may get repetitive with their daily activities, like striking up the same conversation over and over again. Dementia patients may showcase moody behavior, excessive inhibition, or blatant disinhibition.
- Loss of interest
The drop in the memory of dementia patients leads to disengagement in activities that were earlier enjoyed. These individuals may also untie themselves from conversations with family and friends. Their emotional response gets affected and they may become emotionally unavailable.
Dementia can be of different types depending on the region of the brain and the functions that are affected. This void in communication interrupts the basic functioning of the brain and deteriorates the quality and duration of a person’s life. Some brain-related disorders posing similar symptoms can be misdiagnosed as dementia. They can, however, be temporary and treated with suitable medications.