Barbara Windsor diagnosed with Alzheimer’s: Five early warning signs of dementia

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Most people will know that memory loss is a sign of the Alzheimer’s, but there are many other early warning signs you should look out for.

Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form of dementia, affecting 62% of those diagnosed.

It is estimated that around 85,000 people suffer with the terminal condition in the UK alone. And this is set to rise to more than one million cases by 2025, according to the Alzheimer’s Society.

And while it is most common in people over 70, there are over 40,000 people under 65 with dementia in Britain.

Dementia describes different brain disorders that trigger a loss of brain function. These conditions are all usually progressive and eventually severe.Alzheimer’s is now one of the main causes of disability later in life, ahead of cancer, cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Sadly there is currently no cure for the disease or for any other type of dementia. But delaying the onset of dementia by five years would halve the number of deaths from the condition, saving 30,000 lives a year.

Despite the number of people suffering with the disease, relatively little is know about it. And while memory loss and disorientation are two of the most common symptoms, there are plenty of other early warning signs.

Here we reveal five surprising symptoms that warn of its development:

Dr Zoe talks about dementia diagnosis

1. Frequently falling or tripping upIf you suddenly start tripping up all the time this could be a sign of Alzheimer’s Disease.

A study asked 125 older adults to keep track of how many times they fell or tripped over an eight-month period.

When researchers scanned their brains they found the ones who tripped of fell frequently had other early signs of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Frequently falling can be a sign of cognitive problem, so if you’re worried see your GP.

WOMAN DOCTOR LOOKING AT BRAIN SCANS

2. Suffering from depressionWorrying statics reveal that one on four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. A further 17 out of 100 people feel so low that they suffer with suicidal thoughts.

But if someone has never suffered from clinical depression, but suddenly develops it later in life this could be a sign of Alzheimer’s.

A recent study showed that people who suffer with depression after 50 are three times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s Disease.

However, this doesn’t mean you will get Alzheimer’s if you are diagnosed will depression.

Depression can drain your energy, hope and drive, making it hard to do what you need to feel better.

But there are some simple things you can do to alleviate the symptoms of depression – including exercise and a change in diet.

WOMAN UPSET ON BED

3. Anti-social behaviourIf a very moral person suddenly become a theif or takes part in another law-breaking activity, this could be a sign of Alzheimer’s.

This is because people’s executive function – their ability to make decisions – can be affected by the disease, which may explain why they become unable to discern right from wrong.

4. Change in diet/weight loss

People who have undiagnosed Alzheimer’s tend to eat around 500 calories more than their piers but still tend to lose weight.

Doctors presume this has something to do with metabolic change, but there is currently no evidence to back it up.

Some people even attempt to eat inanimate objects prior to their diagnosis, though researchers don’t know why.

It may be because the brain receives hunger signals, but can’t discern how to react to them.

5. Unfocused staring

Alzheimer’s Disease is a change in cognitive and executive functioning in the brain—meaning your ability to recall facts, memories, and information is compromised, as is your ability to make decisions.

Your brain becomes unfocussed so starring in a detached way may be an early warning sign.

If you are worried about any of these symptoms you should see your GP. If they have concerns they can refer you to a trained neurologist, who will be able to diagnose Alzheimer’s or other dementias.

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