Federated Health Charities’ mission is to improve the health and quality of life of Ontarians. We believe education and prevention are key parts of this. Check out our latest Health Hint on some warning signs of dementia!
What is Dementia?
Dementia is a term used to describe several symptoms that are associated with degenerative brain disease. Alzeimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, although there are other degenerative brain diseases such as vascular dementia and mixed dementia. Dementia includes symptoms like loss of memory, language capability, and general cognitive ability that are severe enough to affect daily activities. Alzheimer’s and other degenerative brain diseases tend to be progressive, with symptoms becoming worse over time. Dementia occurs when the brain cells become damaged and can lo longer communicate effectively with each other.
The 10 Early Warning Signs
Dementia can affect people differently and the following warning signs are intended as a guide to better understand early detection. Most of us will occasionally forget our car keys or the day of the week, the key is to look for cognitive issues that are outside the ordinary or baseline for the individual. This list was taken from the Alzheimer Association. Take a look at this website to learn more about these warning signs.
- Memory loss that affects daily activities
- Difficulty with problem solving or planning
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks
- Confusion with time or place
- Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
- New problems with words in speaking or writing
- Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
- Decreased or poor judgment
- Withdrawal from work or social activities
- Changes in mood and personality
The 10 warning signs can be summarized in this infographic.
Its important to consider stress, anxiety, mental illness, lack of sleep or other factors that may affect a person’s cognitive ability. When these issues are resolved and cognitive issues still persist, the warning signs can be an indication of early onset dementia.
Some factors like age and genetics cannot be changed, however, there are several lifestyle choices that can decrease a person’s likelihood of developing dementia. Being physically active can help ward of risk factors that are associated with dementia. These include depression, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and obesity. Being socially active with friends, family, co-workers, and pets can help keep depression and social isolation at bay, both of which are risk factors for developing dementia. Keeping your mind stimulated with reading, learning a new language, trying new activities, and pursing hobbies can also help to prevent dementia. Keeping a healthy diet, managing stress, and working to make conscious good choices (such as light alcohol consumption) have all been linked to lower instances of dementia.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our latest Health Hint!
Written by: Jennifer Nemcik
NOTE: This article is intended to provide general health tips based on available research. You should consult with a health care professional for specific medical and dietary instructions that are right for you.