Dementia is a medical condition that affects the brain and often causes the loss of a person’s mental and thinking skills. The risk of developing dementia increases as a person becomes older, but it mostly affects people who are more than 60 years old. A range of medical conditions can cause dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease, strokes and Parkinson’s disease. The signs of dementia might vary based on the individual, but some of the common signs are memory loss, personality changes and becoming disoriented.
Memory loss is one of the top signs of dementia. Although many individuals occasionally have problem with memory, it is more noticeable in people who are developing dementia. The individual will began to forget important tasks, such as bathing and brushing his or her teeth, or might forget important information, such as his or her name and family members. During the early stages of dementia, past events often are remembered the most because the person seems to remember himself or herself in a younger stage of life.
Another sign of dementia is personality changes, which are mostly noticed by family members who are emotionally close to the individual. During the early stages of dementia, these changes often are more subtle and can be something as simple as crying for unknown reasons. As the brain becomes more damaged by dementia, a person might begin to become extremely moody and very irritable. These personality changes might lead to a person developing depression and a feeling of anxiety.
Becoming disoriented also is one of the signs of dementia. A person who has dementia might cope well in familiar surroundings but might become confused when taken out of his or her natural environment. As dementia continues to progress, a person might forget the way back home even though he or she has taken the same route home for many years. After this stage of dementia has been reached, it is wise for family members to develop some safety measures to keep their loved one safe.
Others signs of dementia are poor judgment, hallucinations and trouble speaking. In many cases, a person developing dementia is not aware of these signs. If a family member suspects a loved one has dementia, he or she should contact a physician as soon as possible for an evaluation. There are treatments available to reverse dementia caused by medical conditions such as an infection. In nonreversible cases, a physician might prescribe medications to help with the symptoms that are treatable, such as anxiety.