Dementia Overview (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
What are early signs and symptoms of dementia?
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Symptoms of dementia vary considerably by the individual and the underlying cause of the dementia. Most people affected by dementia have some (but not all) of these symptoms. The symptoms may be very obvious, or they may be very subtle and go unrecognized for some time. The first sign of dementia is usually loss of short-term memory. The person repeats what he just said or forgets where she put an object just a few minutes ago. Other symptoms and signs are as follows:
Early dementia symptoms and signs
What are intermediate signs and symptoms of dementia?
What are the signs and symptoms of late or severe dementia?
The person may not be aware of these problems, especially the behavior problems. This is especially true in the later stages of dementia.
Depression in elderly people can cause dementia-like symptoms. About 40% of people with dementia are also depressed. Common symptoms of depression include depressed mood, loss of interest in activities once enjoyed, withdrawal from others, sleep disturbances, weight gain or loss, suicidal thoughts, feelings of worthlessness, and loss of ability to think clearly or concentrate.
People with irreversible or untreated dementia present a slow, gradual decline in mental functions and movements over several years. Total dependence and death, often from infection, are the last stages.
When to seek medical care if you think you or someone you know may have dementia?
A person affected with dementia may not be aware he or she has a problem. Most people with dementia are brought to medical attention by a caring relative or friend. Any of the following warrant a visit to the person's health care professional.
Which specialties of doctors treat dementia?
In addition to the patient's primary care doctor, neurologists, gerontologists, neuropsychologists and some psychiatrists may diagnose and treat patients with dementia. If the patient has a potentially treatable cause like an infection or tumor, various other specialists may be consulted.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/20/2016
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