Memory loss doesn’t come without warning. But unfortunately, many patients don’t recognize the early signs of memory loss, which delays diagnosis. Although there is no cure for memory loss, early detection is still important, because treatment can begin early on to slow down memory loss progression.
Many people simply believe that memory loss affects the brain, but early warning signs are much more than just forgetfulness. Therefore, knowing the early warning signs of memory loss can help you understand if you or someone you know is headed down a path of memory loss so you can intervene sooner.
Early Warning Signs of Memory Loss
Weight changes: Memory loss can trigger a person to forget to eat or a person can forget they did eat and then consume more. For this reason, a person developing dementia may experience weight loss or weight gain.
Confusion or misplacing items: Leaving keys in the refrigerator or not knowing the month you are in are signs of the onset of dementia.
Poor hygiene: A person with memory loss may begin to forget to brush their teeth, groom themselves, or change their dirty clothes.
Lack of coordination or motor control: Dementia can also impact a person’s ability to be coordinated or have motor control. A person may begin to shuffle, fumble, or have trouble opening boxes or jars.
Excessive tiredness or lack of activity: This phenomenon is known as “sundowning” and refers to a person being completely exhausted by the evening regardless of what they did during the day. Dementia patients tire easily, and by the end of the day, they may experience the height of their forgetfulness as a result.
Language difficulties and communication problems: Those experiencing memory loss may have difficulties finding the right words to communicate with or express themselves. They may also create lies regarding situations, known as confabulating.
Recognizing these changes early on can help you decipher between a path towards dementia or uncovering another serious medical problem that could be contributing to these changes.
- How dementia progresses: The 7 stages of dementia
- Delay Dementia Risk by Reading Books, Playing Board Games: Study