If you are starting to become increasingly forgetful, particularly if you're over the age of 65, it may be a good idea to talk to your GP about the early signs of dementia.
As you get older, you may find that memory loss becomes a problem. It's normal for your memory to be affected by stress, tiredness, or certain illnesses and medications. This can be annoying if it happens occasionally, but if it's affecting your daily life or is worrying you or someone you know, you should seek help from your GP.
Dementia isn't just about memory loss. It can also affect the way you speak, think, feel and behave. It's also important to remember that dementia is not a natural part of ageing.
What is Dementia?
Dementia is a syndrome (a group of related symptoms) that is associated with an ongoing decline of brain functioning. This may include problems with memory loss. This could include problems remembering recent events, such as forgetting messages, remembering routes or names, or asking the same questions repeatedly. Occasional examples of this need not be alarming, as they can be a natural part of getting older, but if they do become more frequent, it’s important to seek medical advice.
Concerned about your memory? A handy checklist of questions has been created if you are worried about your own or a relative’s memory. Fill it out before your visit to your GP, as it will help you explain how you are feeling and make diagnosis easier. Further information can be found within the checklist.
With treatment and support from healthcare professionals, family and friends, many people are able to lead active, fulfilling lives, for more about the dementia diagnosis process go to: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/dementia/diagnosis/
Symptoms may include:
- finding it difficult to organise or plan simple tasks
- becoming confused in unfamiliar environments
- difficulty in finding the right words
- finding it hard to deal with numbers, including handling money in shops
- forgetting about recent conversations or events
- becoming slower at grasping new ideas
- showing poor judgement, or find it harder to make decisions
- losing interest in other people or activities
- unwilling to try out new things or adapt to change
- becoming depressed
- noticing a change in personality
For more about the symptoms of dementia go to: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/dementia/symptoms/
The two most common forms of dementia are Alzheimer's disease and, together with vascular dementia, but there are other types of dementia to read more go to: https://www.alzheimersresearchuk.org/about-dementia/types-of-dementia/.
Reducing the risk of dementia
To reduce the risk of developing dementia and other serious health conditions, it's recommended that you:
- eat a healthy diet
- maintain a healthy weight
- exercise regularly
- don't drink too much alcohol
- stop smoking (if you smoke)
- make sure to keep your blood pressure at a healthy level
To read more go to: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/dementia/dementia-prevention/
Why it is important to get a diagnosis of dementia?
Although there is no current cure for dementia if it is diagnosed in the early stages there are ways that its progress can be slowed down and people can be helped to maintain their mental function.
A diagnosis can help people with dementia get the right treatment and support, and help those close to them to prepare and plan for the future.
With treatment and support, many people are able to lead active, fulfilled lives. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/dementia/living-well-with-dementia/
Find out more about the support in your area.
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