9 Early signs of dementia
A dementia goes far beyond memory loss - this complicated condition is marked by a series of symptoms, especially in the beginning. But they can be subtle and not always easy to recognize. So how do you know if you or a loved one is showing signs of Alzheimer's or another form of dementia? According to experts, any change that is different from a person's habitual behavior may be a cause for concern. Take a look at some of the earliest signs of dementia and recognize the problem early:
Do not understand sarcasm
"In a dementia there may be impairment of the function of the dorsolateral side of the frontal lobes, where evaluation of emotional meanings, "explains neurologist Sandra Cristina Mathias, from Bandeirantes Hospital. Thus, the person with this type of difficulty can not understand the implicit content of a sarcasm. It is also common for these people not to be able to interpret a proverb and other phrases that contain figurative meaning - messages become literal, meaning without emotional meaning.
Frequent falls and stumbling
This picture can happen by three main factors : impairment of functions that control visuospatial tasks, functions of balance and posture control, or impairment of the brain area responsible for planning and executing movement. "In some dementias these symptoms already occur in the early stages, in others they mean a more advanced stage," recalls the neurologist Sandra.
When the visuo-spatial functions are affected, the person may find it difficult to perceive the position of a object with respect to others or with itself. Without knowing exactly the distance between it and the object, the risk of stumbling or bumping increases. "If there is impairment of balance and posture, the patient is more susceptible to falls, since walking and moving becomes more difficult," says neurologist André Felício, of Israelita Albert Einstein Hospital.
"Uninhibited behavior is related to the impairment of the function of brain regions responsible for emotion-based decision making and weighted by social flexibility and behavior," says neurologist Sandra. In such cases, the person may exhibit uninhibited and impulsive behavior, regardless of what is socially appropriate. "There may be loss of judgment and criticism, leading to disregard for laws, acts of impulsivity, irritability, hypersexuality, euphoria and even changing eating habits."
Forgetfulness of objects
The elderly with dementia often shows difficulty in using common objects and performing motor tasks in sequences. For example: one knows what a key is and knows what a lock is, but does not know how to execute the sequence connecting one object to another. "She can not connect the areas of the brain responsible for following the steps, such as picking up the key, putting in the lock, turning the key, etc.," says neurologist André. In other cases, the person recognizes the key, but does not remember for what it serves - in this case, open locks. Another example is the inability to make gestures that have a predefined meaning, such as the silence signal, wave to give hi or raise thumb in positive sign.
Inability to recognize objects or people
The patient with dementia may have difficulty recognizing objects and people through vision, although this has not been compromised. Depending on the degree of the injury, the person may not even recognize more faces. Far beyond mere forgetfulness, such as when the word "runs away" from our head, a picture of dementia makes it impossible for the person to recognize objects and situations present in everyday life and people he or she sees frequently.Prostration and loss of empathy
"The patient may develop attention deficit and interaction with the world around him," explains neurologist Sandra. A common reflection of this deficit is prostration - that is, the person spends minute or even hours focused on the same object or horizon, ignoring external manifestations.
Apathetic behavior also interferes with people's relationships. "The elderly person loses interest in what happens around them, does not identify the emotions of their relatives and, therefore, does not respond to them," says Sandra. This lack of interest and lack of empathy causes social isolation, once the patient ignores the feelings of their relatives and close people. "It is common, before the diagnosis is made, that relatives feel hurt with the elderly, imagining that this behavior is lack of sensitivity or selfishness."
Ritual behavior. It is also an inappropriate manifestation that is associated with the involvement of the fronto-orbital regions. It occurs through the loss of judgment and criticism, and the inflexibility and difficulty of making decisions.
Problems with financial management
Finance. The elderly with dementia have no ability to manage their finances. Several factors are involved. Among them we mention the difficulty of making decisions, the inflexibility of thinking, difficulty in logical reasoning and calculation and the memory deficit itself.
Difficulty of language expression
Difficulty in expressing language - whether oral or writing - may be early in some types of dementia and much later in others. It is common for the patient to suffer from the loss of communication, which can be the speech or the understanding of a message. According to the neurologist André, in the first case the patient can understand what you speak, but is unable to express himself through spoken language, and in the second he can express himself in all ways, but he does not understand what he is told. In some settings, the elderly may express themselves and understand spoken language, but do not recognize written words or have difficulty writing them.
In the case of compromise in the understanding group, it is important that the family heed the signs it may present, for it is very difficult to recognize this difficulty. Generally, the person will not answer the questions properly, and will talk about subjects that are not currently being discussed.
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