Health

Surprising Signs of Dementia and New Research On What Causes It

If you’ve ever had a family member with dementia, you know how debilitating it can be for the person dealing with it, as well as family… Trista - December 8, 2022

If you’ve ever had a family member with dementia, you know how debilitating it can be for the person dealing with it, as well as family and friends. There are good and bad days, with the bad days slowly growing in frequency. It can be stressful to help a family member with dementia to remember who you are, sometimes. Knowing the warning signs is essential to help your older family get the best care possible. There have been all different kinds of studies and research done in recent years to gain a better understanding of dementia.

Source: Medical News Today

Hearing Loss Can Make Things Worse

There is a long-term study that discovered a shocking connection between a diagnosis of dementia and hearing loss. Participants in the study were exposed to various testing, and it was found that one-third of these participants suffered from hearing loss. Hearing loss is also associated with other illnesses like depression and disabilities. Those numbers are shocking, to say the least! Another study performed by doctors at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine found that people in the study who had mild to severe hearing loss were more likely to develop dementia. Dr. Lawal of Johns Hopkins explains the phenomenon associating hearing loss with dementia in a way that makes it understandable. He says your brain can weaken when people don’t get help for hearing loss, which can, in turn, cause dementia.

Source: Health Europa.

Having Herpes Can Lead to Dementia

You wouldn’t expect to see something like Herpes on this list, but it contributes to a dementia diagnosis. The Frontiers In Aging Neuroscience journal published an article stating that Herpes Simplex 1 and Dementia have a connection. Out of 8,000 people over the age of 50 with Herpes were compared to 25,000 others and the results were shocking regarding dementia. The journal found that those with Herpes were 2.5 times more likely to develop dementia later in life. That’s many people! It was also discovered that people with Herpes carry a specific gene making them more prone to the development of dementia.

Source: Healthshots

Feeling Sleepy All Day

Do you wake up sleepy even after a restful night’s sleep? More and more people worldwide are beginning to rely on medications and supplements to help them get a good night’s sleep. Did you know dementia and sleepiness during the day have a connection? While sleepiness during the day is common for several sleeping disorders, the link to dementia has to do with the brain. Studies have found that people who suffer from sleepiness during the day are three times more likely to have a diagnosis of dementia later in life. It is a connection that needs more exploration.

Source: Medical News Today

Consuming A Lot Of Sugar

It might be time to cut down if you do consume a lot of sugar. A 2018 study performed by the Diabetologia journal detected a pattern when observing 5,100 participants over ten years. The people with higher blood sugar levels had a riskier chance of cognitive decline. This study compared people with normal blood sugar levels. The Alzheimer Society compared dementia to a sort of diabetes of the brain. Glucose, a natural sugar derivative, can cause the brain to not function properly when used in high amounts. If you eat a lot of sugary snacks or drink a lot of soda, it may be time to cut down before you’re at a risky age for developing dementia.

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Cities With High Air Pollution Could Cause Dementia

The University of Southern California published a study in 2017 that found connections between air pollution and dementia. Particles from air pollution get inside the body and travel to the brain. Air pollution can actually cause inflammation in the body, and too much exposure to air pollution can make the disease come out. What you would see in power plants and cars is the type of air pollution to be concerned about. So, if you live in an area with high air pollution, it may be beneficial to speak to your doctor about your risk for dementia.

Source: KHN

Do You Smell That Smell?

The Annals of Neurology journal published a study in 2016 that found a connection between your sense of smell and diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s. Participants in the study were asked to identify certain smells. They used strawberries, cinnamon, and menthol to see if people could tell the difference between them. Some of the participants were unable to tell the difference. These people were at a higher risk of having dementia. The project researchers believe the loss of your sense of smell can be an early sign of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. If you think you’re losing your sense of smell, it’s best to speak with your doctor.

Source: Blue Line Magazine

Loneliness Can Be Dangerous For Your Health

The Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences used data from 12,000 people over a period of ten years to discover how loneliness affects the brain. They found that people with a greater sense of loneliness were 40 percent more likely to develop dementia. Researchers found that people with great feelings of loneliness did more damaging activities to fill the void of being lonely, leading to brain damage. If you’re feeling lonely, you can find a hobby, go out with friends, or talk about your feelings with a loved one. Coping with loneliness can be difficult, but there are ways to help you feel better.

Source: HCD

Having Difficulty Speaking

If you start to notice your loved one having difficulty forming words into complete thoughts, it may be time to visit the doctor. This sign of dementia is often overlooked as just plain confusion, but it is indeed one of the things to watch out for. Let’s say you’re having a conversation with your grandmother, and she’s talking about where she used to live as a child. Suddenly, she completely uses her train of thought and can’t remember what she is trying to say. It happens to the best of us occasionally, but this symptom is a little different from normal forgetting.

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When Money Management Is An Issue

One of the most noticeable signs of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease is a problem with being able to manage money efficiently. It might start as something simple like balancing the checkbook but will gradually increase in frequency to not paying bills on time or not paying them at all. Have you noticed this symptom in your loved one? This symptom is sometimes considered a normal part of aging, but doctors believe it shouldn’t be easily dismissed. If your loved one has this sort of problem, it might be beneficial to help them with their bills or ask them to handle their money to ensure everything gets paid on time.

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An Increase in Strange Behaviors

Out of the many symptoms of dementia, this one may be the strongest. It is cause for immediate concern if you see a loved one participating in compulsive behaviors or extreme rituals. For example, let’s say your grandma used to brush her hair before bed. She did it every night, but all of a sudden, she began counting and had to get to a certain number before she could stop. This is considered to be an extreme ritual. Even something as simple as buying something at the store repeatedly every time your loved one goes is a symptom that is often overlooked.

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Empathy and Inappropriate Behavior Go Hand In Hand

Let’s say your mom is usually very polite and sweet. One day you notice that she’s getting rude to you and others. It’s as if she doesn’t notice that what she’s doing is wrong. This is a sign of dementia. People with dementia often lose the ability to read social situations. This can cause them to lash out or say things they don’t mean. If this happens to your loved one, getting medical attention is vital. This is a very early sign of dementia. So, it’s essential to keep a close eye on the behavior of your older friends and family. Remember, it’s not their fault when they say or do hurtful things.

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Forgetting What Common Objects Are Used For

Have you ever tried to come up with a word to explain the way something works but just can’t get it? It’s on the tip of your tongue and driving you crazy that you can’t think of it. This is a very common occurrence. The thing to watch out for with your loved ones is if they forget how to use certain objects. They may forget what a tea kettle is and what it’s used for – as an example. This is one of the earliest symptoms of dementia. The strange thing is that people who have this symptom seem to do well in other parts of their lives.

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Consuming Rotten Food

It’s upsetting to think that people with dementia may not understand the difference between safe foods and expired foods. This surprising sign of dementia includes eating things that aren’t food and rotten foods. Researchers believe this occurs because people with dementia forget what to do with the items in front of them. Although there are other explanations for eating items that aren’t food, if your loved one is experiencing this symptom along with others associated with dementia, it may be time to see your doctor. Your doctor can give your loved one the best explanation and determine the cause of their symptoms.

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Moving Your Eyes Strangely

One of the many symptoms of dementia that can be overlooked is a reduced gaze. This means your loved one’s eyes won’t move normally. It may look like they are staring. This is one of the earliest symptoms your loved one may experience. You may also notice that they tend to skip lines when reading. Your loved one may not be aware of it, but it will be noticeable if you’re paying close enough attention. If your family member or friend is experiencing any of these symptoms, speak to a doctor to find out if dementia is the cause.

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Out Of Place Social Norms

We all know the rules in our society, but a person with dementia may become forgetful and accidentally shoplift or even break into someone’s house thinking it’s theirs. Other actions may include sexual innuendo, breaking the law, and criminalistic behaviors. It may be surprising to learn that people can get dementia as early as their 30s or 40s. This could lead to criminal charges or a lack of understanding from family members because no one would think they have dementia at such a young age. It’s important not to automatically assume your loved one is a bad person, as there may be another reason for their peculiar behavior.

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Getting In Accidents

Are you constantly tripping or falling? It could be more than just being clumsy. If you notice your loved one frequently having accidents such as falling or tripping, it could be a sign of early dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Research shows that people with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease later in life are prone to higher risks of falling. The accidents usually start happening before they get a diagnosis. Even though falling can be accidental, it’s essential to understand that it’s a sign of dementia. Another illness associated with falling includes progressive supranuclear palsy, a brain disorder. If you notice your family member or friend having many accidents, it may be time to speak to them about their risk for dementia.

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Not Understanding Sarcasm

We all use sarcasm daily to express our feelings, which is part of our world and culture. However, did you know that someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease may be unable to pick up on it? Sarcasm is often used because it’s a nicer way to be critical of something you oppose. So, what happens when you use sarcasm in front of someone with dementia? They may think you’re joking or see what you’re saying as a normal way of speaking. They just can’t grasp sarcasm. Research shows that people with Frontotemporal Dementia may also have difficulty telling when someone is lying. They don’t look at things the same way they used to.

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Leaving Notes Everywhere

One of the earlier signs of dementia is finding notes about simple tasks. You may notice these little notes stuck to the fridge or a mirror in your loved one’s home. They will start to forget the little things – like when to pay a bill when to take their medication, or even when they have a doctor’s appointment. If you’re noticing these little notes everywhere, it may be time for a conversation. You could ask why they are using the letters to determine if there is cause for concern. Speak to a doctor if you notice this symptom along with others associated with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

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Your Neighbors Notice Something Strange

Have your neighbors said anything to you about your loved one? If you don’t live with them or interact with them daily, their neighbors may start to notice some symptoms. For example, their neighbor tells you they were outside at 3 am wearing a bathrobe cutting the grass. Now, this may seem just plain silly to some, but it is cause for concern if your loved one is suddenly doing strange things. We would consider asking the neighbor to keep an eye on your loved one when you aren’t around to ensure their safety. It’s crucial to take instances like this to heart and consult a doctor if you notice strange activities.

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Not Taking Care Of Household Expenses

Let’s say your loved one is in charge of their own bills. You go to visit them one day and notice a statement on the counter that says, ‘FINAL NOTICE.’ Now it may seem normal to see something like this if they have difficulty paying their bills, but if they don’t, it should be cause for concern. One of the signs of dementia is not paying bills or overpaying them. It’s essential to have a system in place when your loved one has dementia to ensure their money is being spent wisely, as they can’t comprehend certain aspects of day-to-day life anymore. If you notice your loved one having difficulty in this area, it may be a good idea to put a plan in place immediately.

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Physical Appearances Can Be Important When It Comes To Dementia

Have you noticed a change in the way your loved one looks? It may be something simple like disheveled hair or wrinkly clothing, and they just don’t look as well-kept as they usually do. This is a sign of dementia. If your loved one suddenly starts wearing dirty clothes for days or forgets to shower, dementia could be the cause. If you start noticing these sorts of simple changes in appearance, it may be time to speak to a doctor if you see other symptoms. This early sign of dementia is often overlooked as someone just not feeling well.

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Losing Weight Can Be A Concern

Have you noticed a change in your loved one’s weight? They could have gained a few pounds or lost some weight that seems out of the ordinary. This is one of the early signs of dementia, as people with the disease generally forget to eat or forget they have already eaten. If your loved one has dementia, it’s best to figure out your specific situation to see if your loved one needs around-the-clock care or just daily visits. If you believe they need around-the-clock supervision, you can best speak with their doctor about your concerns to see your next steps. Your loved one may exhibit other symptoms along with this one that will make it easier for their doctor to diagnose the problem.

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Driving Poorly

Has your loved one been getting in many accidents or acquiring speeding tickets lately? It could be a sign of dementia if there are other symptoms as well. People with dementia can’t comprehend certain things around them and often forget speed limits or the safe distance between vehicles when driving. They could even forget which pedal does what in the car. It’s for this reason that people with dementia shouldn’t drive for their own safety. If your loved one has been in trouble with the law lately, it may be best to start taking them where they need to go.

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Using the Wrong Utensils

People with dementia and Alzheimer’s often forget how to use everyday objects. They could use a whisk to flip pancakes or a slotted spoon for soup, for example. If you notice your loved one having difficulty with everyday objects, it may be helpful to guide them in the right direction. Certain situations may require letting them do what they need to to avoid anger and confrontations. If you notice these symptoms, speak with your loved one’s doctor before it worsens. People with dementia often don’t understand that what they’re doing is wrong, so a lot of compassion goes a long way.

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Having No Filter!

People with dementia often say things they don’t mean. They may blurt out obscenities or make inappropriate comments about your weight or looks. You shouldn’t chastise them when this happens, which may only worsen things. Just remember that they don’t understand that what they’re saying is wrong and inappropriate. If your loved one has these symptoms, the best thing you can do for them is to ask their doctor about it. There may be another reason for the sudden outburst. It’s best to always find out what’s happening before it worsens.

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Having Different Mannerisms

When it comes to dementia, many things may seem out of the ordinary, but the biggest thing you might notice is a change in personality or the way your loved one speaks. They may take on different mannerisms or go from a happy-go-lucky person to someone who seems bitter and angry. This is often one of the biggest things you’ll notice in someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Your loved one will just seem ‘off.’ They may start to have slurred speech or even speak with a different accent. It’s one of the strangest symptoms of dementia because your loved one just seems like another person.

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Not Enjoying Hobbies

One of the last signs you might notice is just a general a loss of interest in things they once loved . As an example, if your loved one used to enjoy gardening all their life but starts to neglect their plants due to a lack of interest, there may be a problem. It’s little things to watch out for that often get overlooked. If you have someone in your life who could be at risk for dementia, keeping your eyes and ears open while around them is best. This will help you notice all of the little signs you could be missing.

Where Do We Find this Stuff? Here Are Our Sources:

10 ‘Weird’ Signs to Watch for Dementia | FTD Disorders Registry

10 Surprising Early Signs of Dementia

7 Weird And Surprising Things Linked To Dementia

 

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