Alzheimers Research UK explain 'what is dementia?'
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia in the UK, accounting for up to 80 percent of all dementia cases.
It is thought to be caused by the abnormal build-up of proteins in and around brain cells.
Well-known signs many of us would associate with the condition include issues with memory, such as forgetting names or recent conversations.
However, there are some lesser-known signs that could also indicate Alzheimer’s disease.
Amanda Philpott, hearing health expert and co-founder of hearing specialists Eargym, seroquel xr and lamotrigine spoke with Express.co.uk to explain more.
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A loved one losing their hearing might seem like a typical sign of ageing, but Amanda said there could be more to it than that.
“Growing research shows that people with hearing loss are more likely to develop dementia,” she said.
“In fact, research has found that unaddressed hearing loss is one of the biggest potentially modifiable risk factors for developing dementia.
“Research is still ongoing, but one suggested reason for this is the social isolation that can be caused by hearing loss, which can lead to the kind of cognitive decline associated with dementia.
“In addition to this, the cognitive load caused by mild hearing loss can contribute to cognitive decline over time, as resources are diverted from other cognitive tasks to understanding speech and following conversations.
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“Some studies have suggested that untreated hearing loss might lead to changes in the brain which could be linked to cognitive impairment and the onset of dementia.”
It’s estimated that up to 40 percent of people with Alzheimer’s suffer from depression, Amanda told Express.co.uk.
She continued: “In many cases, people who are living with dementia might experience depression as a result of feeling socially isolated and lonely.
“But research also suggests that people who have suffered from depression in mid-life have between a 70 to 80 percent increased risk of developing dementia later on.”
Spatial awareness issues
Someone with dementia might have difficulties judging spaces and distances.
Amanda said: “Dementia can damage the occipital lobes which is the part of the brain that processes information about 3D objects.
“This can lead to difficulties visualising and perceiving spaces, meaning people with Alzheimer’s might struggle with spatial awareness or being able to accurately judge distances.
“This can manifest as difficulties using stairs, parking a car or recognising objects.”
According to the National Institute for Health and Care Research, one third of people with mild-to-moderate dementia experience loneliness.
Amanda added: “This is because, as mentioned above, people with dementia can struggle with aspects of socialisation.
“Isolation can come about due to memory loss, confusion, struggling to carry out familiar daily tasks, and struggling to follow conversations.”
The NHS lists symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease as:
- Memory loss
- Confusion, disorientation and getting lost in familiar places
- Difficulty planning or making decisions
- Problems with speech and language
- Problems moving around without assistance or performing self-care tasks
- Personality changes, such as becoming aggressive, demanding and suspicious of others
- Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not there) and delusions (believing things that are untrue)
- Low mood or anxiety.
If someone you know is displaying signs of Alzheimer’s, you should seek medical help.
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