Dementia symptoms include three Rs – expert on ‘often dismissed’ signs

Steve Thompson recalls signs of his early-onset dementia

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Dementia describes a cluster of symptoms associated with an ongoing cognitive decline. Possibly the best-known symptom of the mind-robbing condition is a memory loss, however, it could be more subtle than you’d expect. An expert shares the three Rs that could appear in “the early stages”.

One in 14 people over the age of 65 will develop Alzheimer’s disease during their lifetime, with the risk climbing even higher with your age, according to data from the NHS.

With this startling prediction in mind, the lead GP Dr Rhianna McClymont at the digital healthcare provider, Livi, shared the “often dismissed” signs of Alzheimer’s.

While memory loss is the key symptom that ties these signs together, the red flags may appear during ordinary small moments.

Fortunately, the three Rs could help indicate whether you might be suffering from the mind-robbing disease.

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Dr McClymont said: “Alzheimer’s symptoms worsen progressively over time and can generally be grouped into early, mid and late-stage symptoms.

“The rate of progression is different for everyone and can be affected by other conditions, like stroke.

“In the early stages of Alzheimer’s, the main signs and symptoms are related to memory problems and can often be dismissed as a normal part of ageing.”

The three Rs include these problems:

  • Remembering recent conversations or interactions
  • Recalling names and places
  • Remembering where you have left items like your phone and keys.

The expert added that one more sign that belongs to the main signs also includes the inability to think of the right word.

Apart from the three Rs, Dr McClymont also shared other signs characteristic for the “early stages” of Alzheimer’s like:

  • Becoming inflexible and reluctant to try new things
  • Finding it hard to make decisions
  • Mood changes (anxiety)
  • Feeling agitated and confused.

She added: “Many of the early-stage symptoms become worse, like struggling to remember names of family and friends and beginning to have difficulties recognising who they are.”

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The expert recommended seeing a GP “as soon as possible” if you or someone else is struggling with these signs.

Dr McClymont said: “There are many other causes of minor memory loss – including stress, anxiety and depression, specific medication and other health conditions – so the GP will start with some simple procedures to rule these out.

“If the GP is unsure whether you have Alzheimer’s, they’ll refer you to a specialist, like a geriatrician (a physician who specialises in elderly care) or memory clinic.

“There’s no single test to diagnose Alzheimer’s, but the specialists will carry out more in-depth mental ability tests, called cognitive assessments.”

How to reduce your risk of dementia?

While there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to prevent the brain condition, you can certainly modify your risk of dementia.

From diet to exercise, there are various lifestyle tweaks that can see your chances of the condition fall.

For example, your diet should be healthy and balanced, while keeping things like saturated fat, salt and sugar on the down. You should also cut back on drinking alcohol as the popular drink can damage your brain.

Furthermore, other interventions like staying physically active and quitting smoking can also help.

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