Dementia symptoms: Problems with ‘orientation’ can signal Alzheimer’s disease

We will use your email address only for sending you newsletters. Please see our Privacy Notice for details of your data protection rights.

There are more than 200 subtypes of dementia but the most common type in the UK is Alzheimer’s disease. It is thought to be caused by the abnormal build-up of proteins in and around brain cells. “Although it’s not known exactly what causes this process to begin, scientists now know that it begins many years before symptoms appear,” explains the NHS.

When symptoms do eventually appear, they are often mild at first.

But as more brain cells are damaged over time, the symptoms become increasingly disruptive.

Progressive memory loss is a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease but it is not the only warning sign.

According to the Alzheimer’s Society (AS), it is common to experience problems with orientation.

“They may become confused or lose track of the day or date,” explains the AS.

Other symptoms include:

  • Speech – they may repeat themselves or struggle to follow a conversation
  • Seeing things in three dimensions and judging distances (visuospatial skills) – going up or down stairs or parking the car might become much harder
  • concentrating, planning or organising – they may struggle with making decisions, solving problems or carrying out a sequence of tasks (such as cooking a meal).

“A person in the earlier stages of Alzheimer’s will often have changes in their mood,” adds the AS.

It adds: “They may become anxious, depressed or more easily annoyed.”


Do you have ‘finger clubbing’? It could indicate you have lung cancer – what to look for [INSIGHT]
Vitamin D supplements warning: What happens if I take too much vitamin D? [ADVICE]
COVID UK update: Supermarkets found to be biggest hotspot for catching virus in England [UPDATE]

How to respond

According to the NHS, it’s best to see your GP if you’re worried about your memory or are having problems with planning and organising.

“If you’re worried about someone else, encourage them to make an appointment and perhaps suggest going with them,” advises the health body.

As it explains, it’s often very helpful having a friend or family member there.

Am I at risk?

The exact cause of Alzheimer’s disease is not yet fully understood, although a number of things are thought to increase your risk of developing the condition.

According to Alzheimer’s Research UK, some of the risk factors for Alzheimer’s are the same as for cardiovascular disease (like heart disease and stroke).

By leading a healthy lifestyle and taking regular exercise you will keep both your heart and brain healthy.

To keep healthy:

  • Be active and exercise regularly
  • Do not smoke
  • Eat a healthy balanced diet
  • Control high blood pressure
  • Keep cholesterol at a healthy level
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Only drink alcohol within recommended limits.

Some research suggests that enjoying an active social life, with lots of interests and hobbies, might offer some protection against Alzheimer’s.

Staying mentally and socially active has been linked to a lower risk of dementia.

“It’s not clear which activities are most beneficial, but doing things you enjoy like reading, doing puzzles, or joining a signing group, or social club can help you to feel happier, stay mentally active and feel more positive in life,” adds Alzheimer’s Research UK.

In addition, the latest research suggests that other factors are also important, although this does not mean these factors are directly responsible for causing dementia.

Other lesser-known risk factors include:

  • Hearing loss
  • Untreated depression (though depression can also be one of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease).

Source: Read Full Article