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Dr Hilary issues warning about missed dementia diagnoses

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According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the number of older adults with Alzheimer’s type dementia will have increased over threefold by the year 2050. There’s no certain way to prevent all types of dementia, need side effects of strattera as researchers are still investigating how the condition develops. However, recognising the early signs of the condition can ensure better treatment in the long run.

Changes in a person in the early stages of dementia can be so gradual they can often be mistaken for normal ageing.

As dementia affects people in different ways, symptoms may not always be obvious.

In fact, failure to recognise early signs often leads to people not being diagnosed for several years.

According to the British Heart Foundation, the seven early signs of vascular dementia include:

  • Concentration problems, for example, losing interest in what’s happening around you
  • Mood and personality changes, such as irritability or feeling low
  • Feeling confused
  • Increasing difficulty with skills, such as reading or driving
  • Difficulty with decision making and planning, for example, trouble completing tasks
  • Difficulty with daily activities, such as paying with money
  • Difficulty with language, for example, becoming less fluent.

As vascular dementia progresses, these early signs may worse, or may also include:

  • Becoming increasingly confused and disorientated
  • Memory loss and difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty remembering words or communicating
  • Difficulty with balance or falling frequently
  • Depression and personality changes
  • Loss of bladder control.

Importance of early detection

Early diagnosis offers several direct benefits to persons with dementia, noted a study published in the National Library of Health.

It added: “For example, detection can prompt evaluation of the patient for reversible causes of memory loss.

“When the course of disease is expected to be chronic and progressive, pharmacologic intervention may slow cognitive decline.

“Perhaps most importantly, early diagnosis provides time for patients and families to prepare for future care and maximises patients’ opportunities to contribute to the care planning process.

“Thus, a proactive approach to diagnosis and intervention may improve the well-being of both persons with dementia and family members involved in their care.”

Vascular dementia

The word dementia describes a set of symptoms that can include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language.

With vascular dementia, these symptoms occur when the brain is damaged because of problems with the supply of blood to the brain.

Vascular dementia progression can vary with the underlying cause of the disease.

When it results from a stroke, symptoms are more likely to begin suddenly.

Roughly 20 percent of people who suffer a stroke will develop vascular dementia within six months.
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