According to the World Health Organization, dementia affects more than 55 million people worldwide, and there are approximately 10 million new cases every year. Alzheimer's disease is considered the most common form of dementia, accounting for 60-70% of dementia cases, and the risk of it developing with age increases, especially if there are genetic factors.
Dementia is generally “a disease in which a person's thinking ability decreases, resulting in a decrease in the ability to live and care for oneself,” said Dr. Aaron Bonner-Jackson, a neuropsychologist at the Cleveland Clinic. Ruvo Center for Brain Health.
Dr. Jackson stressed that “dementia is not a natural part of aging, and not everyone develops it,” but that it – and the diseases that fall under it, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's – are different The causes include a group of symptoms that can affect cognitive abilities and physical and mental health.
This brings us to mentioning the common symptoms first before reviewing other new signs that scientists have recently pointed out.
The most common early symptoms of dementia
According to the American Alzheimer's Association, Alzheimer's disease may be the most common type of dementia, and the most common early symptoms are:
- Memory loss affects daily lifeThis means forgetting important information, dates, and events, and relying on family members, posters, or electronic devices to remember simple things.
Dr. Jackson added, “They don't store new memories, and they don't remember what they did yesterday, so they keep asking the same questions over and over.”
- difficulty concentrating Decreased ability to crunch numbers and manage daily tasks, such as writing shopping lists or keeping track of monthly bills, and taking longer than usual to do simple tasks.
- Confusion with time or place About the ability to track dates, seasons and the passage of time, as well as the ability to sense where a person is, or how he got to where he is now.
- Get lost in a familiar place, Dr. Jackson said this is what happens “when you find yourself confused and lost in your neighborhood, on your daily commute to work, or even at home.”
- changes in mood or behaviorDr Jackson said: “When a person has dementia, his mood or behavior changes. He becomes less interested in himself and the things he used to enjoy, more nervous and socially isolated, or more depressed or anxious. “
- Confusion in speaking or writing, That is, difficulty finding words, being unable to name or misname things, continuing or joining a conversation, or stopping midway without knowing how to continue or return to a conversation.
- Slowing down and misplacing things, The person feels everything slows down and walks more slowly, may notice hearing loss or poor vision, and may put things in unfamiliar places or lose them and not be able to find them again.
new red flag
Research shows that the following three things happen to many people and they accept them as normal, although they may put them at greater risk of developing dementia, such as:
Experts from the American Academy of Neurology monitored the sleep patterns of more than 88,000 people in the UK with an average age of 62 over the past seven years, and the study, published late last year, suggested that “certain sleep habits may affect health”. Linked to the development of dementia, waking up frequently throughout the night or having poor sleep quality may be associated with developing dementia later in life. “
After accounting for age, gender and genetic factors, the researchers found that “people with sleep disorders were 53 percent more likely to develop dementia than those with regular sleep patterns.”
“People with irregular sleep patterns may need to improve their sleep patterns to prevent dementia,” said Dr. Matthew Paul Pace, associate professor at Monash University and Harvard University in Australia and leader of the study.
The American Academy of Neurology explains that the study does not prove that irregular sleep causes dementia, but simply shows a link.
A recent study by scientists at the University of Chicago Medicine found that “rapid decline in the sense of smell predicts multiple features of Alzheimer's disease,” meaning “the inability to smell strong odors such as body wash and shampoo, or the inability to smell Strong cooking smell.” Scents or scented candles can be an early indicator. “On Living with Dementia.”
“We were able to show that the size and shape of gray matter in areas of the brain associated with smell and memory was different in people with a less severe decline in their sense of smell,” said study leader Dr. Jayant Pinto, a professor of surgery at the University of Chicago. Smaller.” “Smell, that's just one of the many symptoms of Alzheimer's.”
In this sense, Pinto explains, smell and change are “one of the important elements in a set of factors that we think influence brain health and aging.”
Research published last October showed navigation difficulties and miscalculations of “path integrity” while walking – which involves a person knowing where and how they are moving, estimating speed and distance, and sensing where their feet are and when to turn or Change of direction – may be an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease. “
Recently, the UK's Mirror quoted Alzheimer's Foundation Scotland as reporting that some people find it difficult to move and lift their legs “when climbing stairs”, making them more likely to slip or fall. This may be one of them. one. Early symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.