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    Private GP Services & Occupational Healthcare in Edinburgh, UK.

    Do you know the signs of dementia?

    Do you know the signs of dementia?

    Posted on April 24th, 2024

    We all have those moments when we walk into a room and struggle to remember what we went in there for. Life is hectic, there’s always so much to remember, so it’s perfectly understandable if we forget the odd thing now and again. As we age, we tend to become more forgetful – that’s completely normal. But if you’re finding that you or a loved one is becoming increasingly forgetful and it’s starting to have an impact on their everyday life, it’s important to speak to a GP to discuss the possibility of dementia. Read on as the health experts at YourGP shine a light on this medical issue to coincide with Dementia Awareness Week.

    What is dementia?

    Dementia is the general term we use to cover a decline in memory and cognitive abilities such as language and problem-solving that is severe enough to have an impact on the individual’s daily life.

    According to the Alzheimer’s Society, there are currently around 900,000 people with dementia in the UK and this figure is set to rise in the coming years as the population ages. In fact, 1 in 3 people born in the UK today will be diagnosed with the condition in their lifetime.

    What causes it?

    Dementia can be caused by a number of factors, the most common being:

    • Alzheimer’s disease: This is caused by the build-up of amyloid and tau proteins in the brain, which gradually destroys brain cells and their connections.
    • Vascular dementia: Caused by problems with the blood supply in the brain, brain cells become damaged and eventually die.
    • Dementia with Lewy bodies: Lewy bodies are tiny clumps of alpha-synuclein protein that develop inside the brain cells, impairing the way they work and eventually causing them to die.
    • Frontotemporal dementia: This is caused by an abnormal clumping of proteins in the frontal and temporal lobes at the front and sides of the brain – the parts of the brain responsible for decision-making, control of behaviour, emotion and language.

    It is worth noting that it is possible to have mixed dementia caused by a combination of factors.

    What are the warning signs?

    Dementia can affect people differently. However, some of the most common symptoms include:

    • Issues with short-term memory, including forgetting peoples’ names or misplacing things
    • Language difficulties, including struggling to follow conversations
    • Problems with spatial awareness – judging distances and sizes, for example
    • Difficulty concentrating
    • Changes in mood and behaviour
    • Feeling confused
    • Sleep disturbances
    • Changes to appetite
    • Problems with vision

    Prevention vs cure

    Sadly, there is no cure for dementia at present. This makes prevention even more important. There are lifestyle changes you can make that could reduce your risk of developing dementia by up to 30%. These include eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly and not smoking.

    It is also important to build up your cognitive reserve. This refers to the amount of time a person may have disease in their brain without symptoms becoming obvious. The best way to build up your cognitive reserve is to remain mentally and socially active.

    And finally, look after your hearing. Hearing loss has been shown to be related to an increased risk of developing dementia.

    Worried about dementia?

    If you have concerns and you’d like to speak to a healthcare professional, book an appointment at YourGP via our simple online booking system, email reception@your.gp, or call us on 0131 225 5656 and we’ll be happy to arrange an appointment at a time that suits you.

    I was in significant amount of pain and was seen very quickly by Dr McFarlane. He was able to immediately identify the problem. He carried out the minor surgery immediately, with great skill. I would not hesitate in recommending him as an excellent GP.

    Peter

    YourGP is regulated by Healthcare Improvement Scotland – the regulator for independent healthcare services across Scotland. Healthcare Improvement Scotland accepts complaints at any time. Contact them at:

    Independent Healthcare Team
    Gyle Square | 1 South Gyle Crescent | Edinburgh | EH12 9EB
    0131 623 4342 | his.ihcregulation@nhs.scot

    YourGP is registered with the Joint Council of Cosmetic Practitioners (JCCP) Registered Office: Station Road, North Street, Havant PO9 1QU.