Common symptoms of dementia may include memory loss, difficulties with thinking and carrying out everyday tasks, problem solving or language and changes in mood and behaviour.
The early signs and symptoms of dementia can be subtle and hard to recognise. Many conditions, such as stroke, depression and infections, severe vitamin deficiencies, thyroid abnormalities and side effects of medications, can cause dementia-like symptoms and it’s therefore important not to assume that any changes are due to dementia without an evaluation.
Equally, however, it is important not to assume that any changes are simply down to getting older – if someone notices changes like memory loss or any of the other symptoms described above, they should discuss their concerns with their GP.
If the symptoms are caused by dementia, an early diagnosis means that you and your family have early access to support, information, and any appropriate treatment. An early diagnosis also gives people the opportunity to plan for their future.
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Memory lapses and memory loss
We all forget things or lose track of appointments from time to time. It is important to understand the differences between the signs of dementia and normal lapses in memory.
Memory loss from dementia is quite different to occasionally forgetting things. Memory loss from dementia isn’t just occasional and it tends to get gradually worse over time. It can affect a person’s ability to work and carry out everyday tasks and, in the later stages, it can make it difficult for people to dress, bathe, walk or recognise family members.
If you’re worried about your memory or any other changes in your day to day abilities talk to your partner, family or friends and consult your GP. There may be many reasons other than dementia causing these problems including depression, stress or the side effects of some medication.