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Is It Just A Bad Day, Or Is It Dementia?

16 July, 2017

, Memory

We all have off days when we’re feeling lost and confused. This is not a problem in itself- it becomes a problem when these days become too frequent. Dementia is an illness characterised by loss of memory, the ability to speak and the ability to reason. While Alzheimer’s disease accounts for nearly 80% of all cases of dementia, even a brain stroke can cause the condition to develop or worsen. The thing about neurological illnesses is that they don’t develop in a day or a week. The abilities are lost over a period of time, making it very difficult for people around to fathom when it had started to go wrong.

Dementia happens when brain cells are damaged. This may happen simply as you age, or an underlying cause such as depression and excess alcohol consumption may be causing it. In cases with an underlying cause, dementia can be resolved if the underlying cause is treated. Even if you have dementia because of brain cell damage, early diagnosis can help alleviate symptoms to a great extent. The important thing is to get to a doctor when you see early signs and not deny that something is wrong. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself.

  1. Have you forgotten an important appointment lately?
  2. Do you often struggle to find the ‘right word’? As an extension, do you find yourself unable to form coherent sentences?
  3. Have you had trouble getting to your neighbourhood grocery store?
  4. Do you sometimes feel like you’re forgetting something, but are not quite sure what?
  5. Have you had trouble with names of people you know, or have you forgotten dates you otherwise remembered?
  6. Have you been told that you ‘just asked that question’?
  7. Do you find yourself giving up activities you once enjoyed and feeling blue in general?

Do remember that these questions are only indicative. Only a doctor’s appointment can help determine with certainty if indeed you have dementia and the kind of care you may need.

There are several things you can do to prevent the onset of dementia in the first place. For one, a healthy diet rich in vegetables and lean meats can help prevent clotting and haemorrhages. Walnuts and almonds are known to improve brain function. By following an exercise regimen every day, you help your heart pump more blood to the brain, thus keeping it active. Taking time out to pursue one hobby every day that requires your complete attention is a great way to fight mental fatigue. If you find that you’ve been having these symptoms since taking a new medicine, alert your doctor immediately. Likewise, if you think you’re depressed or are drinking more often, see a healthcare professional before things get out of hand completely.

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