The earlier you receive a dementia diagnosis, the better. Being proactive about your neurological health will give you peace of mind and time to create a care plan.
Why Early Detection is Important
Early detection allows you to take preventative measures to slow the progression of dementia or seek treatment options for cognitive impairment. You’ll have access to a network of healthcare professionals and a wealth of information, treatment and support. A diagnosis may also provide a sense of relief to you and your loved ones.
Early Signs of Dementia
Common early symptoms of dementia include:
- Changes in short-term memory: You’re able to remember events that occurred years ago but can’t recall what you did earlier in the day.
- Problems with communication: Conversations take longer because you can’t find the right words or can’t express yourself correctly.
- Differences in mood or personality: Depression is common for people in the early stages of dementia. You may also experience a lack of interest in your favorite hobbies and activities. Social withdrawal is also common.
- Repetitiveness: You repeat daily tasks frequently or ask the same question several times.
- A resistance to change: The confusion caused by dementia can create a fear of change. You find yourself seeking routine, and deviations cause stress or anxiety.
Seeking a Formal Diagnosis
If you’ve experienced two or more of these symptoms, it’s time to talk to your doctor. They can refer you to a neurologist who can help determine if your cognitive loss is caused by aging, dementia-related diseases or other health issues, like diet and lifestyle. Your diagnosis may include memory tests, brain imaging scans, neurological exams and blood work.
Receiving a diagnosis allows you to ask questions and create a system that will help you cope with cognitive decline or dementia. That may include medication, therapy, support services and cognitive training. You can also begin the process of finding an Alzheimer’s and dementia care facility that will continue your treatment.