There are several symptoms of dementia, and they all affect brain function. The most common of these is memory loss. However, just because you forget things, doesn't mean you have dementia. At least two of your brain functions must be affected. Other symptoms include difficulty communicating, changes in personality, and disorientation, as well as an inability to problem solve, reason, or learn new concepts. Dementia can also cause someone to behave inappropriately, hallucinate, and become easily agitated. It most commonly affects the elderly.
A Answers (7)
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI) answered
John Growdon, Neurology, answeredThese are some signs of dementia:
- Intellectual function has declined from a previous level.
- The person is aware and alert, which differentiates dementia from delirium.
- More than one type of thinking is affected. In addition to memory, at least one of the following is also impaired: personality, abstract thinking, judgment, use of language, the ability to perform complex physical tasks, or the ability to recognize objects or people. Known as global cognitive impairment, this characteristic distinguishes dementia not only from forgetfulness but also from such conditions as amnesia (memory loss only) and speech deficits (caused by stroke, for example).
- The deficits in cognition are sufficiently severe that they interfere with a person's usual social and work activities.
Symptoms of dementia develop when the underlying condition, such as Alzheimer's disease or alcoholism, affects areas of the brain involved with learning, memory, decision-making, and language.
Memory impairment is often the first symptom to be noticed. An individual with dementia may be unable to remember ordinary information, such as their birth date, phone number, and address, and may be unable to recognize friends and family members.
There is a progressive decline in cognitive function, including decision making, judgment, orientation in time and space, problem solving, and verbal communication.
Behavioral changes may be found in eating, dressing, and toileting. Dementia patients may be unable to dress without help and become incontinent or lose the ability to control urine flow. Normal interests, such as hobbies and social groups, are abandoned. Routine activities, such as driving, grocery shopping, and housecleaning, are unable to be performed. Individuals with dementia also have changes in personality, such as inappropriate responses and lack of emotional control.
Trauma may cause prolonged or permanent changes in cognition, memory, emotions, or behavior.
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Symptoms of dementia vary depending on the cause and the area of the brain that is affected. Symptoms include:
- Memory loss. This is usually the earliest and most noticeable symptom.
- Trouble recalling recent events or recognizing people and places.
- Trouble finding the right words.
- Problems planning and carrying out tasks, such as balancing a checkbook, following a recipe or writing a letter.
- Trouble exercising judgment, such as knowing what to do in an emergency.
- Trouble controlling moods or behaviors. Depression is common, and agitation or aggression may occur.
- Not keeping up personal care such as grooming or bathing.
Some types of dementia cause particular symptoms:
- People who have dementia with Lewy bodies often have highly detailed visual hallucinations. And they may fall frequently.
- The first symptoms of frontotemporal dementia may be personality changes or unusual behavior. People with this condition may not express any caring for others, or they may say rude things, expose themselves or make sexually explicit comments.
Symptoms of dementia that come on suddenly suggest vascular dementia or possibly delirium —short-term confusion caused by a new or worsening illness.
It is important to know that memory loss can be caused by conditions other than dementia, such as depression and that those conditions can be treated. Also, occasional trouble with memory (such as briefly forgetting someone's name) can be a normal part of aging. But if you are worried about memory loss or if a loved one has memory loss that is getting worse, see your doctor.
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Dementia indicates problems with at least two brain functions, such as memory loss along with impaired judgment or language. Dementia can cause confusion and an inability to remember people and names.
Dementia may also cause changes in personality and social behavior. A common form of dementia is called vascular dementia, which is an umbrella term used to describe a series of conditions caused by problems in the supply of blood to the brain, often as a result of stroke(s) or small vessel disease.
Discovery Health answeredIn this clip, Dr. Ronan Factora of the Cleveland Clinic discusses dementia and how warning signs or symptoms of dementia may not necessarily indicate that you are developing that condition. Check out this Discovery Health video to learn more.
NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital answered
The symptoms of dementia include:
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- Trouble learning new things
- Trouble remembering things that were known in the past
- Trouble with abstract thinking
- Poor judgment
- Trouble speaking well
- Trouble carrying out motor tasks
- Trouble recognizing or naming objects
- Personality change
- Trouble being able to work or carry on a normal social life
- Sometimes people with dementia also develop anxiety, depression, suspiciousness, assaultiveness, agitation, wandering, confusion, or verbal abuse