Warning signs of dementia
Some decline in brain function is a normal consequence of ageing, stress, side effect of medication, or certain illnesses. However, increased forgetfulness, memory loss, confusion, decline in cognition and changes in personality can herald the onset of neurodegenerative disorders like dementia. Read on to know more about the warning signs of dementia:
- Memory loss
One of the commonest and earliest signs of dementia is memory loss. This is usually involved with short-term memory and mostly involves everyday tasks. For instance, long term memories formed over the last few years can be intact, but what did you do a few hours ago can be forgotten.
- Confusion about place and time
As mentioned before, short term memories can be affected early on in dementia. Confusion regarding time and place are linked to loss in short-term memory and can be frustrating. Since these are the earliest signs, these symptoms should be discussed with top neurologist in Karachi for timely treatment.
- Difficulty in communicating
Finding the right words to communicate, is difficult for people with dementia. They don’t engage in conversation much, and withdraw socially. Often, they forget what the other person said, and this amplifies their apprehension in engaging socially. With time, their grammar, spelling and punctuation are also affected and their handwriting become less legible.
- Mood changes
Depression and mood changes are also evident in the early stage of dementia. While these changes are less noticeable in oneself, other people are quick to pick on these. Additionally, with mood changes, personality is also affected. Many people become irritable, anxious or fearful, while others can become disinhibited due to impaired judgement.
- Difficulty in completing normal everyday tasks
Somebody with early dementia finds it progressively difficult to complete everyday tasks. Not only are familiar tasks difficult to complete, but new routines and new things are even more difficult to establish. Patient’s sense of orientation to time and space starts to deteriorate slowly, and the once familiar landmarks and routes become difficult to remember. Even with step-by-step instructions, directions can be difficult to follow.
Risk factors associated with dementia
Dementia is more common in people with ages more than 65 years. In people with family history of dementia, the risk increases exponentially. However, many people even without family history go on to develop the disease, and vice versa. The risk is also higher in people who suffer from Down’s syndrome.
Other risk factors associated with dementia include increased alcohol intake, lack of exercise, hypertension, late-onset depression, smoking, diabetes, high blood cholesterol, and nutritional deficiencies.
How to reduce the risk?
While the genetic risk and age factor cannot be modified, changing the lifestyle and looking after the mind and body can delay and even prevent neurodegenerative diseases. Mentally stimulating activities like reading, word games, memory training and puzzles are like workout for the brain, and can delay dementia onset. Similarly, smoking cessation and supplementing with the right diet with intake of antioxidants are beneficial for brain health. Other health risk factors should also be managed with the help of best neurologist in Karachi.