Six ‘early’ dementia signs that signal it’s time to see a GP

Alzheimers Research UK explain 'what is dementia?'

Around 900,000 people are currently living with the mind-robbing condition across the UK. Worryingly, dementia cases are set to triple worldwide by 2050, according to the World Health Organisation. Despite Alzheimer’s disease being the most prevalent dementia type, there are also other brain conditions like frontotemporal dementia. An expert has shared the six “early” warning signs that could help open the door to prompt diagnosis.

Following the announcement of Bruce Willis’ diagnosis with frontotemporal dementia (FTD), many families and experts are calling for greater awareness of symptoms linked to this rare dementia type.

Stewart Mcginn, Managing Director at Baycroft Care Homes, said: “FTD is a much less common type of dementia which also causes problems with behaviours and language, and typically is diagnosed in people from the age of 45 and up. 

“FTD is a slow and progressive disease and is sometimes initially misdiagnosed with schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s or aphasia.”

FTD affects the part of the brain at the front and at the side in the temple area that is responsible for your behaviour, personality, and speech. Therefore, symptoms can also strike in these areas.

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The expert has shared the “early” warning signs of this dementia type to spot in a loved one.

Continuously misplacing things

The occasional misplaced set of keys or glasses is nothing alarming but if somebody starts to regularly misplace items, it could be an “early” sign of dementia.

Mcginn said: “This could be continuously losing their glasses or finding items in strange places, like a TV remote in the fridge or food items with the cleaning products.”

Difficulty focusing 

Tasks that require organisation and planning might become too difficult for those suffering from dementia.

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When the mind-robbing condition starts taking over the brain, it can become much “harder” to concentrate, according to the expert.

Problems with language

Mcginn said: “A sign that can indicate a person is suffering from dementia is having difficulty forming sentences or finding the right words during conversations. 

“While everyone can forget the odd word from time to time, regularly struggling to remember words or substituting them in sentences with random words can indicate someone is suffering.”

Memory loss

Perhaps the best-known sign of the brain condition, memory loss is considered one of the earliest red flags pointing to cognitive decline.

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“Whether your loved one is frequently forgetting the names of people they know, or is unable to recall recent events or new information learned, it’s best to get them checked out by a doctor,” the expert said.

Changes in mood

Frequent mood swings could be another tell-tale sign that someone has dementia.

“This can be a person’s mood quickly changing from calm to angry, or emotional, without reason, or if they become generally more withdrawn or anxious,” Mcginn said.

Confusion surrounding time and place 

While you have probably walked into a room and forgot what you came for at some point, this happens on a much more advanced level when you have dementia.

The expert said: “For example, your elderly family member might become lost on a street they have walked down their whole life and struggle to find their way home. 

“Your loved one might get confused about time, being unable to distinguish between their past and present. 

“This could include confusing family members with people from their past, like their own parents, and struggling to remember people from their present, like their grandchildren.”

Mcginn explained that if your loved one starts showing any of these dementia signs, the first step is to get them to see a GP.

Once seen by a doctor, your loved one will be referred to specialists if necessary.

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