Dementia: Memory changes, problems with language and mood changes are signs

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Dementia is a devastating disease which affects the brain and causes a range of physical and mental symptoms. With 200 recognised subtypes of dementia, more than 850,000 people in the UK are estimated to live with one form of the condition. What are the five main early signs you need to be aware of?

Memory changes

Problems with memory are one of the most common symptoms of dementia.

A person suffering from dementia may have trouble remembering recent events, names and places.

Forgetting where you have left certain objects or being unable to retrace your steps also pertain to memory changes.

A certain level of forgetfulness is a normal feature of ageing, but if memory issues begin to affect your day-to-day life, your doctor should know about it.

READ MORE: Parkinson’s disease: Nine early signs – ‘If you have more than one talk to your doctor’

Language difficulty

A person with dementia may have trouble remembering the right words or being able to follow a conversation.

They might use substitutions or talk around words or details they can’t recall.

Language difficulty is often a subtle symptom and not easily noticed.

When cognition declines, some people begin to self-isolate, spending less time with others in order to hide memory problems or increased difficulty following conversations.

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Problems with coordination

Dementia may cause an affected person to have trouble walking or maintaining coordination.

This problem is sometimes referred to as apraxia.

Such problems with coordination and manipulation have repercussions on daily life, causing difficulties dressing and washing.

That can include having difficulty with balance or judging distance, tripping over things, or dropping items more often, says the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.

Mood changes

Experts say that mood changes are a symptom of dementia that’s often overlooked.

A person with dementia may become apathetic, losing interest in activities they used to enjoy.

Family members may attribute these changes to depression or stress.

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