Dementia: The often missed warning sign when watching a film thats an early signal

Dementia: Doctor outlines changes to help prevent disease

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Dementia is a general term for clusters of symptoms associated with brain decline. Popular depictions of dementia focus primarily on memory loss but this is not always the first red flag. In fact, “the early symptoms are often more subtle if you start to develop it before the age of 65”, notes Hussain Abdeh, Superintendent Pharmacist at Medicine Direct.

Mr Abdeh continued: “Behavioural and personality changes are often early indicators of dementia, although if these occur in younger people, it is often misdiagnosed.”

For example, the pharmacist pointed out that a person who is very passionate about a particular hobby or activity may start to feel apathetic about it and lose interest.

“This can lead to a general feeling of apathy and disinterest,” he explained.

One telltale sign may also surface when watching a film, warned Mr Abdeh.

“You may also experience concentration issues, such as being unable to follow the plot of a film,” the pharmacist warned.

According to Mr Abdeh, mood changes such as depression or personality shifts can also be early signals.

For example, a normally outgoing person can become very introverted, he warned.

According to the pharmacist, the lack of symptom awareness often stymies efforts to detect dementia.

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“These signs are often missed by many health professionals if they occur in younger adults and may be attributed to more common factors like stress at work.”

Am I at risk?

There are different types of risk factors for dementia, including medical, lifestyle and environmental factors.

It is possible to avoid some risk factors, while others cannot be controlled.

“For most people, the biggest risk factors for dementia are ageing and genes,” explains the Alzheimer’s Society (AS).

However, there are a number of lifestyle factors that can contribute to dementia.

The general rule of thumb is what is good for the heart is good for the brain.

As the NHS explains, a healthy lifestyle can also help prevent cardiovascular diseases, such as stroke and heart attacks, which are themselves risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia (the two most common types of dementia).

Research suggests other risk factors may also be important. These include:

  • Hearing loss
  • Untreated depression
  • Loneliness or social isolation
  • Sitting for most of the day.

Research has concluded that by modifying the risk factors we are able to change, our risk of dementia could be reduced by around a third.

Exercise can also bolster the brain’s protection against dementia, notes the NHS.

“Older adults who do not exercise are also more likely to have problems with memory or thinking,” the health body explains.

You should follow the recommended guidelines of doing at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week, such as brisk walking, cycling or dancing, it advises.

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