Dementia: ‘One of the first changes’ before memory loss – it may signal Alzheimer’s

Alzheimers Research UK explain 'what is dementia?'

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When it comes to Alzheimer’s disease – the most common form of dementia – there are other early indications of the brain condition to look out for aside from memory loss. In fact, “one of the first changes” of the condition, as pointed out by Alzheimer’s Research UK, is “a loss of interest and enjoyment in day-to-day activities”. Often, such a symptom could be mistaken for depression, but Alzheimer’s will progressively reveal itself.

For instance, the affected person could develop communication issues, such as struggling to find the right word.

Repetitive communication could also be a sign, especially if the same questions are asked in a “very short interval”.

Although it can be hard to figure out the differences between normal forgetfulness and a dwindling memory, there are three possible red flags.

One could be forgetting recent events, even if prompted about them, or forgetting familiar faces and names.

Regularly misplacing objects, such as glasses, could be a sign – considerably so when they are put in peculiar places, such as the food cupboard.

As the disease develops, and more brain cells begin to die, the ability to carry out everyday tasks will become arduous.

For example, the ability to use a TV remote control correctly, the phone, or a kitchen appliance could deteriorate.

“People may also have difficulty locating objects in front of them,” the charity added.

What causes Alzheimer’s disease?

The NHS explained: “Alzheimer’s disease is thought to be caused by the abnormal build-up of proteins in and around brain cells.”

The proteins are known as amyloid and tau, which form “tangles within brain cells”.

Such a process begins “many years before symptoms appear” alongside a decrease in chemical messengers, known as neurotransmitters within the brain.

Less neurotransmitters become involved in sending messages between brain cells as the disease develops.

“Levels of one neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, are particularly low in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease,” the NHS added.

Risk factors for Alzheimer’s

“Age is the single most significant factor,” the NHS revealed, with the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease doubling every five years after the age of 65.

The likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s marginally increases if a parent had or has the condition.

There are several lifestyle factors that can also increase the risk of the brain condition.

Take, for example, an addiction to nicotine – smoking can severely damage the blood vessels within the brain.

Leading an unhealthy lifestyle that leads to high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and obesity also leads to a greater risk of brain disease.

Preventative measures against the development of Alzheimer’s disease include:

  • Stopping smoking
  • Eating a healthy, balanced diet
  • Leading an active life, both physically and mentally
  • Losing weight if you need to
  • Drinking less alcohol
  • Having regular health checks as you get older.

If you are concerned you might be showing signs of dementia, book an appointment with your doctor.

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