Five ‘early-stage’ symptoms of dementia that appear in daily life

What is dementia?

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There’s currently no cure for dementia but an early diagnosis could help slow down the brain condition. This could help the person maintain their mental function for longer. However, the “early-stage” symptoms of dementia are often relatively mild and not always easy to spot. This makes symptom awareness front and centre.

Contrary to popular opinion, dementia is not a natural part of ageing.

This makes knowing warning signs important in order to identify the brain condition promptly.

The Alzheimer’s Society explains that the “early stage” of dementia lasts about two years on average.

During this time, the following “common” symptoms can start to affect the person’s daily life.

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Memory problems

Dementia is not only about memory loss, as it can also affect the way you speak, think, feel and behave. But memory problems are often the first sign.

The Alzheimer’s Society said: “A person may not recall recent events or may keep losing items, such as keys and glasses, around the house.”

While this tell-tale sign is often the main symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, it can also appear with other dementia types, including vascular dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies.

Language and communication

Everyone can struggle to conjure the right word from time to time, but if this problem keeps occurring more often, it could be a sign of dementia.

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The charity said: “A person may struggle to find the right word in a conversation, or they might not follow what is being said. 

“Speech can also be affected when someone with vascular dementia has had a stroke.”

Visual-perceptual difficulties

“More common” in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia with Lewy bodies, this sign is different from visual hallucinations.

People with visual-perceptual difficulties often struggle to judge distances, for example when using the stairs.

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Changes in mood or emotion

A person with dementia can seem like they’ve changed and lost interest in social interactions and hobbies.

Furthermore, they may become more anxious, sad, frightened and even depressed.

The Alzheimer’s Society added: “It is also common to become more irritable – perhaps in frustration at lost abilities – or easily upset.”

Difficulties in thinking things through and planning

The brain condition can leave the person confused more easily, or make complex decisions like finances and problem-solving more difficult.

“Talk to a GP” if you start becoming more forgetful and experiencing the early signs pointing to dementia, the NHS advises.

How to reduce your risk of dementia

While certain risk factors like age and genes are non-negotiable, others can be easily switched up.

Similarly to any healthy diet, a dementia-busting food regimen focuses on getting plenty of fibre and healthy foods, while keeping saturated fat, salt and sugar in check.

The NHS also recommends following the recommended exercise guidelines of doing at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity – think brisk walking or dancing – each week.

Furthermore, cutting back on alcohol and quitting smoking could also help lower your risk.


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