Statistics say that over 55 million people in the world are affected by dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, and the numbers continue to grow. This is happening because there is a lack of specialists who can detect dementia at its early stages and provide the right diagnosis.
And of course, it is important to be aware of the symptoms of any type of mental disease, including dementia. In this article, we are going to guide you through them and explain what you can do to spot the disease at the very beginning of it.
Dementia and Alzheimer’s symptoms
Symptoms of dementia will vary from person to person, but there are some common ones that develop early and can be a starting point before a person is diagnosed with this mental disorder.
The symptoms include the following:
- Inability to concentrate
- Losing the sense of place and time
- Mood swings
- Having trouble doing everyday activities, especially those related to counting, reading, and using a language
- Memory loss
It is often the case that people themselves do not notice these symptoms, but those around them can detect some changes in the behavior.
As for Alzheimer’s, which is one of the reasons why dementia occurs, the symptoms are a bit different.
Here is what people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s experience:
- Finding it difficult to pick the right words
- Asking about the same thing many times
- Problems remembering people’s names and faces
- Difficulties related to organizing or planning something
- Becoming more distant from friends and family
- Feeling anxious
SAGE test for self-diagnosis
Researchers at the Ohio State University Medical Center worked out a self-administered gerocognitive exam (SAGE) so that people who suspect they might be suffering from dementia could spot the disease early. This test can aid you in evaluating how well your brain is functioning and whether your thinking abilities are up to standard.
The exam consists of 12 questions that will test different aspects related to mental skills, such as calculation, problem-solving, using a language, and remembering things.
Take a look at the sample questions below:
- Draw a clock and place the hands so that they show the time stated in the question
- Recall different objects and their names and write them down
- Convert dollars into cents or vice versa
- Calculate how much change you would get when you pay cash in a shop
You should remember that the test itself can not be a document that you can use to prove your diagnosis. Once you have taken SAGE, consult your therapist to make sure you develop (or do not) any signs of dementia.
Dementia has no cure, but if detected early enough, some medication and psychotherapy can ease the symptoms and will give you the chance to live your life normally.