Expert shares five lesser-known symptoms of dementia to spot
What is dementia?
Dementia describes an impaired ability to remember, think, or make decisions that interferes with doing everyday activities. The good news is that early treatment can help support better outcomes, which makes symptom awareness front and centre. Fortunately, an expert has shared five symptoms that might be not so well-known.
While memory loss is one of the best-known symptoms of the mind-robbing condition, it isn’t the only sign that can ring alarm bells.
Emma Hewet, Head of Dementia at KYN, the new innovative care home based in Bickley, shared that the following “lesser-known” signs could also appear:
- Changes in behaviour
- Losing confidence
- Becoming withdrawn and losing interest in friends, work or hobbies
- Having disturbed sleep or vivid dreams
- Problems recognising and understanding money.
Changes in behaviour
The person affected might start acting out of character or repeating the same questions and activities over and over again.
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The NHS notes that they may become restless, fidgety or even start following their partner around everywhere.
Because of the memory problems triggered by the brain condition, patients can become confused.
From problems with recognising familiar people to not remembering whether they had breakfast, problems like these can leave them disoriented.
Once they start feeling this way, this can prompt them to withdraw and refuse to take part in things they once enjoyed like spending time with friends or taking part in their usual hobbies.
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According to the Mayo Clinic, Lewy body dementia can lead to rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behaviour disorder, which means you start to physically act out vivid, often unpleasant dreams with vocal sounds and sudden movements.
Patients with this disorder can start punching, kicking, yelling and screaming while they are sleeping.
A review, published in The International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, found that at least one form of sleep disturbance is usually present in as many as 90 percent of people with Lewy body dementia.
The research was based on a total of 70 articles that included 20 studies focusing on subjective sleep.
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Problems with money
According to the National Institute on Aging, patients with dementia might start having problems with: counting change; paying for a purchase; or understanding a bank statement.
You might also notice that this person has unpaid bills or there is money missing from their account.
Furthermore, repeated financial mistakes could be one of the earliest signs of the disease.
While these symptoms don’t guarantee that you have dementia, it’s important to get checked.
Hewet added: “Problems with memory can also be caused by other things such as stress, the menopause, medication, anxiety and depression.
“Therefore, it is always advisable to speak to your GP if you have concerns about your memory, or a family member’s [memory], so that other treatable causes can be identified.”
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