A timely dementia diagnosis can help important decisions about treatment support and care.
In order for this to happen, recognising the earliest signs is key.
According to Dr Adam Moreton, Consultant Older Adult Psychiatrist at Pall Mall Medical, the first signs of dementia might show themselves in a person’s speech and language abilities. And different types of dementia can affect speech differently.
Alzheimer’s disease causes the most common type of dementia.
Dr Moreton said: “In Alzheimer’s a person’s ability to form speech isn’t itself affected until later in the disease, but the memory problems that lie at the heart of the condition result in repetitive speech.
“Language and communication problems can be early symptoms of some rarer dementias such as frontotemporal or semantic dementia.
“It is often the case that in the early stages of the illness a person may struggle to find the right word to describe something and will try to compensate for this by using simpler or less precise words.
“Dementia affecting the front part of the brain can cause personality changes, which may be reflected in speech, such as making inappropriate or socially insensitive comments.”
Problems with speech can occur because the person doesn’t understand what is said to them – sometimes called a “receptive” problem, explained Dr Moreton.
Difficulties can arise due to “expressive” difficulties where the person understands the question, but can’t find the right words to respond.
These types of problems are called dysphasias. Dr Moreton said: “All of these problems can lead to confusion, frustration or appearing disorganised.”
What should you do if you suspect yourself or a loved one has dementia?
If you suspect that you or a loved one has dementia, it’s important to speak to a healthcare professional to assess and diagnose the condition.
Dr Moreton advised: “Make an appointment with your GP to discuss your concerns. Before the appointment, make a list of symptoms you have noticed, when they started and anything you are worried about. This will help ensure that you can provide as much information as possible during the visit.
“Specific examples of memory problems, behaviour changes and loss of skills or abilities are really helpful for the doctor to know about.”
Source: | This article first appeared on Express.co.uk
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