Dementia symptoms: Six of the ‘first signs’ of the progressive brain condition

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Recent research – by Relish – found the “first signs” of dementia to be on the lookout for. While the disease is incurable, early intervention can help to slow down the progression of symptoms. Signs of dementia include memory loss, mood changes, difficulty concentrating, and being confused about time and place. People who have dementia may also find it hard to carry out familiar daily tasks.

For example, dementia may cause confusion when a person is trying to make a meal they have made numerous times beforehand.

Relish estimates that more than one million people will develop dementia by the year 2025.

While there are more than 200 subtypes of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease is the most common.

The Alzheimer’s Association notes that progressive symptoms will “eventually grow severe enough to interfere with daily tasks”.

“Microscopic changes in the brain begin long before the first signs of memory loss,” the charity notes.

Two abnormal structures, known as plaque and tangles, are “prime suspects” in the damaging and killing of nerve cells within the brain.

Plaques are deposits of a protein fragment called beta-amyloid, which build up in the spaces between nerve cells.

Tangles, on the other hand, are “twisted fibres” of another protein – known as tau – that build up inside the cells.

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Plaques and tangles are thought to block communication between nerve cells in the brain.

Moreover, it is theorised that these blockages lead to brain cell death, which causes memory failure and personality changes.

In the earliest stages of the disease, people will still be able to drive, work, and socialise.

Despite this, the person may experience lapses in memory, such as forgetting familiar words.

As the disease progresses, the person will require a greater amount of care.

At this stage, it’s helpful to find out ways to simplify tasks for the person who has dementia.

Ben Atkinson-Willes, founder and CEO of Relish said: “Diagnosis is incredibly important.”

And once a diagnosis has been made, access to sensory activities, puzzles and reminisce activities may help those who have the brain condition.

“When buying something for someone with dementia, without knowing the stage it can be a real challenge to find what’s right,” said Mr Atkinson-Willes.

“If you get a product that is too difficult, it can be frustrating and isolating.

“Too easy and it seems patronising and distressing. We believe well-being is at the heart of improving the quality of lives and relationships, which is reflected in all that we do at Relish.”

Relish is on a mission to help improve the overall wellbeing of people with dementia by providing fun, meaningful activities that help build their relationships with their family, friends and caregivers.

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