Dementia: How quickly does the brain condition progress? Early warning signs to spot

Dementia: Expert discusses the signs and symptoms

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For example, when the frontal lobes in the brain are harmed, lethargy and apathy might emerge – when a person feels too tired and disinterested to do the activities they once enjoyed. All symptoms of dementia – no matter which type (because there is many) – will start off with relatively mild symptoms. The Alzheimer’s Society noted that the symptoms get worse “over several years”.

Early stage dementia

The signs of the brain condition during the early stages of dementia are easily missed.

As a rough estimate, the early stage of dementia lasts for about two years.

Memory problems might begin to emerge, such as:

  • Not being able to recall recent events
  • Losing keys or glasses around the house
  • More easily confused
  • Getting lost in familiar places

Language and communication might start to be impacted, which may involve struggling to find the right word in a conversation.

Changes in mood might become more prevalent, such as feeling more anxious, frightened, sad, or at risk of depression.

Middle stage dementia

It’s during this phase of dementia progression where symptoms become more noticeable.

This stage of dementia, on average, lasts between two to four years.

It’s during this stage of the brain condition that behaviour changes start to change.

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Existing memory and thinking issues will worsen; the brain condition can cause difficulty with recognising family or close friends.

It’s also commonplace for the affected individual to forget what they are saying mid-sentence.

Problems with identifying the time of day can occur; for instance, the dementia sufferer might get dressed at 3am.

Delusions might start to occur, where the person feels as though other people are going to harm them or people can’t be trusted.

“It is very common for a person to believe that someone is stealing from them or that a partner is being unfaithful,” said the Alzheimer’s Society.

Hallucinations could appear too, where the person starts to see and hear things that aren’t there.

As symptoms increase in intensity, the person’s handle on their emotions fall to the wayside.

This is why it can be typical for a person with the brain condition to become easily upset, fearful, or angry.

Behavioural changes may include fidgeting, pacing up and down, repeatedly pulling at clothes, and trailing around others.

There could be disturbed sleeping pattern and the loss of inhibitions, such as undressing in public spaces.

Difficulties with using the toilet might also emerge in this stage of the brain condition.

Late stage dementia

This is when full-time care is on the horizon to manage the life-limiting condition.

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