Dementia: The ‘difficulty’ that may precede memory loss – shows up when boiling the kettle
Dr Zoe says walking can reduce risk of dementia
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According to Alzheimer’s Research UK, this is due to problems with recognition when it comes to objects or people. The charity says that “recognition – difficulty recognising people or knowing what objects are for”, is a sign that may precede memory loss in people who have frontotemporal dementia – one type of dementia. “For example, understanding that the kettle is used to boil water or that the remote controls the TV,” it says.
Frontotemporal dementia, or FTD, is a rarer type of dementia.
It is thought to make up less than one in 20 of all dementia cases.
Although it usually affects those between the ages of 45 and 64, it can also affect people of all ages.
It can be more difficult to spot than other forms of dementia, as the symptoms can be “very different to memory loss and confusion, which we may associate with more common types of dementia”.
As well as issues with recognition, Alzheimer’s Research UK says there are a number of other signs to look out for when it comes to FTD, including:
Changes in emotions – a change in how people express their feelings, or understand other people’s feelings. For example, not recognising when someone is upset.
Lack of interest – becoming withdrawn or losing interest in everyday life. People can stop looking after themselves, such as not washing or dressing properly.
Inappropriate behaviour – making inappropriate jokes or behaving strangely in front of others. Sense of humour, or sexual behaviour may change. Some people become impulsive or easily distracted.
Obsessions – people might develop new beliefs, interests, or obsessions. For example shopping too often or gambling.
Diet – changes in food likes and dislikes such as eating lots of sweet things, over-eating or drinking too much.
Awareness – people may not realise that they are experiencing changes in their personality or behaviour.
Decision making – difficulty making plans, following instructions, and deciding what to do.
Communication – problems with speaking and understanding words. People may repeat words and phrases, struggle to say the right word or forget what words mean.
Memory – day-to-day memory may be less affected in the early stages of FTD, but problems with attention and concentration can be common.
Movement problems – around one in every eight people with behavioural variant FTD also develops movement problems of motor neurone disease.
This can include stiff or twitching muscles, muscle weakness and difficulty swallowing.
Frontotemporal dementia is a progressive disease.
Alzheimer’s Research UK adds: “Over time symptoms get worse and someone will require more support to look after themselves and with day-to-day activities.
“People with FTD can find it harder to swallow, eat, communicate, and may have difficulties with bladder or bowel control as symptoms become more severe.
“Some people may develop movement problems similar to those seen in Parkinson’s disease.”
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