Symptoms of dementia are a set of certain signs by which a specialist can judge the occurrence or development of a given disease. If several symptoms of this pathology occur, a complex of diagnostic measures should be carried out at the same time in order to make a timely and accurate diagnosis and determine the reason why the disease develops so that it can be quickly resolved.
The main symptoms and manifestations of dementia or dementia include problems that arise with a person’s memory, his thinking, speech and behavioral reactions. Each of these symptoms can, in its own way, indicate one form or another and the severity of the course of the disease, so it is important to consider each of them in detail.
When a person develops the main harbinger of dementia - Alzheimer's disease, memory suffers first. In the case of other causes of dementia, memory may suffer later and not so clearly.
At first, a person forgets everything - he does not remember where he is going, where something is lying, what he was just talking about or wanted to say. However, he reproduces the events of many years ago with encyclopedic accuracy, and this can concern both his personal life and political events of the past, for example. When forgetting the minute details of his story, a person freely turns on fantasy and complements the picture with non-existent facts.
Gradually, the loss of memory is becoming more pronounced, the time frame for failures is expanding, and the proportion of fiction is growing. Next comes confabulation, the replacement of real forgotten events with fictions that are likely in everyday life or even incredible. A person can tell that he went to the store, although this was not (probable actions) or that he flew to the moon (incredible actions). Confabulations are most characteristic in cases of alcoholic or senile dementia.
Also, pseudo-reminiscences arise, that is, substitutions of the time intervals of some specific events. So, an older person may begin to think that he is young again. Gradually, the date, the name of a loved one, the names of various familiar objects are forgotten. Later, it begins to seem to the patient that other close people long gone into the world are alive again, he actively communicates with them and talks about them to everyone around. Sometimes a person tells that he is leaving somewhere, may collect things and leave the house in an unclear direction. At the same time, all human life is completely divorced from reality.
In case of memory impairment, practical skills of a person are also frustrated. He does not know what to do with household items, how to unlock the door, confuses hygiene items. By the way, as a result of these processes, many personal hygiene skills are generally forgotten, and a person ceases to simply wash his face. Untidiness is a strong symptom of any type of dementia, untidiness begins to appear at a moderate stage of severity of the disease, and the ability to control urination and stool is lost in the latter stages.
Another clear symptom of dementia is slow thinking and lack of attention. The patient loses the ability to abstract away certain actions or events, begins to think very primitively, loses all logical and analytical functions.
The content of mental processes in a patient becomes very scarce, they are greatly slowed down. In particular, thinking becomes inflexible, very concrete, perseveration develops. The logic of constructing judgments is violated, false ideas arise (the idea of persecution, treason, for example). In severe forms of dementia, thinking becomes fragmented and incoherent.
The disorder of thought processes is reflected in the result on the patient's speech quality. Such speech acquires many syntactic errors, characterized by nominal dysphase. The deep stage of dementia is based on the lack of coherent speech, meaningless sounds.
At first, it is very difficult for the patient to choose the words he needs, then a syntactic jam occurs when a person constantly repeats the same words, regardless of what he is talking about. Further, the speech is interrupted, the sentences do not have endings, the patient cannot perceive and understand someone else's speech, despite excellent hearing.
After suffering a stroke in dementia, nasal and speech blurring occurs, the person begins to talk slurredly. So gradually, all speech is reduced to individual muffled sounds.
Dementia behaviors at first are complacent and euphoric. Sometimes depressive states already occur in the early stages. The patient becomes self-absorbed, ceases to sympathize with others, anger and suspicion arise. The main features in this case are apathy, gluttony, emotional lability, depression. Sometimes a person can completely refuse food.
The behavior itself can be described as disorganized. The patient ceases to be interested in something, becomes asocial, and may begin to steal, for example. Any changes in the character of a person, especially in old age, it is necessary to notice and diagnose their causes in a timely manner. Cognitive causes can affect the behavior of a patient with dementia in such a way that he becomes a pedant, ceases to learn new things (even read news, for example), and when he is loaded with some actions that are not part of his permanent duties, strong aggression is manifested.
When dementia progresses, patients no longer gradually follow themselves, paying no attention to social conventions, acquire mannered.
The initial signs of the onset of dementia are often overlooked by relatives and the patient himself, since they are indistinguishable from ordinary depression, which today periodically suffers 95% of all living people of any age. Such symptoms are characterized by a change in memory, isolation of the personality, some disorientation in space. Only timely diagnosis will help determine the true causes of this condition and stop irreversible processes.
As already mentioned, memory loss is the first and main signal of emerging dementia.
It is necessary to pay attention to this factor, if a person asks several times to repeat the same thing, but if he accidentally forgot his car keys at home, this is not a sign of dementia.
Avoiding habitual things and activities, lethargy are also symptoms of dementia at the initial stage. If a person abruptly abandons his life’s business, doesn’t want to see friends and relatives, it’s worth thinking about diagnostics. However, if you want to temporarily take a break in a too tight schedule, dementia is not discussed.
The feeling of disorientation can be characterized by the feeling that you feel, if you sometimes wake up from a deep sleep and you can not immediately understand what you are awake and where you are. With a single and rare process, there is no reason to worry, but if it is repeated systematically and each time it gets worse, it makes sense to think about the onset of Alzheimer's disease. Late disorientation leads to the inability to determine the season, your own location. Progression of Alzheimer's disease leads to the fact that the patient falls into childhood or, at a minimum, considers himself much younger than his current age.
An alarming symptom in the early stages of the disease can also be visual-spatial difficulties. A person, when they occur, is not able to perceive distance, depth, does not recognize loved ones. It is difficult for him to overcome the ladder, to sink into the bath, to read. However, do not worry about the occurring dementia if visual disturbances are associated with ocular pathologies, for example, cataracts.
A decrease in the ability of written or oral communication, irritability of a person can also indicate the occurrence of dementia. You should not be alarmed if pathological changes are short-lived - everyone has a mood drop or eyes get tired so that a person starts writing very crookedly. However, with a stable deterioration of such symptoms, you must seek medical help.
Executive functioning is also suppressed with the development of dementia. This is expressed in the fact that a person ceases to perform those functions for which it is necessary to clearly remember the timing and sequence of actions. For example, it became difficult for a person to pay his bills on a monthly basis in a timely manner, although before he always did this on time.
The constant illogical shifting of all household items "in place" becomes a sign of the development of dementia. Glasses in the refrigerator, shoes in the oven are symptoms of progressive dementia. The patient does this allegedly “consciously”, since it becomes difficult for him to search for the desired object, and he finds a “suitable” place for him. Judiciousness in the occurrence of dementia also weakens. This can be dangerous, since in this case a person who is apparently normal and does not require outside help can become an object of fraud.
The inability to perform well-known actions is a clear symptom of Alzheimer's disease. It is impossible in my right mind to get lost on the way from the store, to forget how the problem is being solved, which could have been solved during the 20 years of teaching, therefore, in the event of such situations, it is urgent to undergo appropriate diagnostics.
Symptoms of the last stage
At the last stage of dementia, short-term and long-term memory are completely lost. In parallel with this, a person neglects personal hygiene, may not eat anything, does not walk and does not control the chair. The swallowing function is also violated, complete disorientation in space and in the self occurs. There is no speech, there may be inarticulate sounds. All this indicates a near fatal outcome, which can provoke the joined vascular pathologies, infectious processes, pneumonia.
Symptoms of the last stage of dementia can vary, depending on the type of disease:
- frontal dementia;
- alcoholic dementia;
- vascular dementia;
- dementia in Parkinson's disease;
- dementia in children.
With frontal dementia in the last stages, the ability to formulate complex plans and implement them is completely impaired. At the severe stages of senile dementia, people lose all practical skills, memory, cease to navigate in space. Often, speech ability and ability to control physiological needs are completely lost. The patient in the final stages is in complete physical and mental insanity. At the late stages of alcoholic dementia, people experience severe speech disorders, a limb tremor occurs, the gait changes (becomes mincing), and the physical strength of a person weakens greatly.
With vascular dementia in the last stages, all of the above signs of other types of disease can be present, since vascular dementia is considered mixed. A characteristic and mandatory feature of late vascular dementia is impaired motor activity. In Parkinson's disease, dementia and its manifestations themselves are an indicator of the late stage of the disease, since dementia occurs already at the end of the development of this pathology.
Children's dementia is not only congenital (oligophrenia), but also completely acquired, if oligophrenia is complicated by injuries, infections and other concomitant pathologies, as well as without a congenital factor in the onset of pediatric oncology, as well as due to some hereditary diseases. At the same time, all acquired life skills may be lost; the child will constantly need close care and supervision.
Dementia can occur at the earliest stages by external signs that, at first glance, no one will attribute to such a pathology:
- long sleep;
- strange behavioral changes;
- lack of sensitivity to pain;
- occurrence of rosacea.
After years of observations, Boston scientists have found out the relationship between the onset of dementia and the prolongation of night sleep. If an adult begins to sleep more than 9 hours a day, then his risk of developing memory pathologies increases by 20%.
Long sleep does not provoke the occurrence of dementia, but is an external sign of such processes. Changes in the structure of the brain lead to increased fatigue, so much more sleep is required.
An early indicator of the occurrence of Alzheimer's can be considered sudden changes in the behavior, mood and reactions of the individual. Scientists have found that a change in behavioral reactions occurs long before the first memory impairment, therefore it should be considered the first bell for diagnostic procedures.
Patients with Alzheimer's pathology no longer feel pain and cannot respond adequately to the diseases that arise in the body. At the same time, the ability to react to thermal stimuli, shock and so on is lost. The reasons for this relationship have not yet been clarified by scientists, but the relationship itself today is beyond doubt.
A study by Danish scientists suggests that people with rosacea (chronic skin pathology) have a 25% higher risk of dementia. Therefore, when symptoms of rosacea occur, specialists take into account the likelihood of developing dementia and by all means try to diagnose or prevent it in a timely manner.
Characteristic manifestations in young
Young people generally have the same symptoms of dementia as older people. Problems with memory in young people are more reflected in their quality of life, since the opportunity to fully perform their work functions is lost, many problems arise on this basis. Forgetfulness leads not only to errors in direct professional duties, but also to a loss of orientation on the terrain, being late for work, and forgetfulness of important matters.
The concentration of attention drops dramatically, a person becomes unable to plan his own schedule properly, which is why there are constant problems with employees and management, which can lead to stresses and depressions that will aggravate the symptoms of dementia.
Awareness of their own problems lead to the fact that young patients with dementia fall out of society, they are shy of themselves and thereby aggravate their own disease. Loss of interest in life - the main symptom of dementia in young people, which distinguishes it from the senile manifestations of the disease.
Personal changes can also be characterized by the emergence of new habits - a passion for order and cleanliness, collecting non-standard items and other things. Often, dementia in youth is accompanied by aggressive behavior, as a person periodically realizes his inferiority, but can not do anything with himself. This generates aggression.
It is important to understand that early dementia in most cases can be treated with timely diagnosis, so you should not be afraid to go to the doctor and determine the reasons for your own strange sense of self.