#### *Effective 7/1/20* Lakeside Neurocare has merged with SSM. Call [920-923-5526](tel:9209235526) for your neurology needs.
#### *Effective 7/1/20* Lakeside Neurocare has merged with SSM. Call [920-923-5526](tel:9209235526) for your neurology needs.

Understanding Dementia: 5 Shocking Symptoms You May Not Know About

Since the year 2000, Alzheimer’s deaths have increased by 89 percent. In fact, Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia take more lives than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. Early detection and treatment are crucial. The classic signs of dementia are easy to recognize: memory loss and personality changes. However, some symptoms are surprising and not well known.

Criminal Behavior

Before the obvious signs of dementia appear, some patients start to exhibit behavior that is odd or out of the norm for them. For example, there is a strong link between dementia and theft. A common form of dementia, frontotemporal dementia, or FTD, leads to the development of compulsive and sometimes criminal behaviors, such as stealing, lying and promiscuous activities.
People with this form of dementia also demonstrate a lack of empathy for others, and they may develop obsessive compulsive disorders, such as hoarding. Dealing with these symptoms can be difficult, but there are treatment options, including SSRI medications.

Sleep Problems

Dementia wreaks havoc on your natural sleep clock. People with dementia may start sleeping during the day and have difficulty sleeping at night. A certain type of dementia, called Lewy body dementia, can cause nightmares and hallucinations, which can further disrupt your sleep cycle. What’s more, LBD also affects your natural sleep rhythm.
You can take melatonin supplements to restore your body’s natural supply, which can be depleted by dementia. Other treatment options include making conscious changes in your sleep patterns, i.e. not napping during the day, engaging in physical activity before bed, etc.

Slow Movements

People with dementia often walk and move slowly. They also have a greater risk of falling than those without dementia. These symptoms are caused by the buildup of protein within the brain. People who have vascular dementia, a form of dementia caused by lack of blood flow to the brain, have difficulty with spatial awareness, which makes them more prone to accidents and falling.
To prevent falls and accidents, people with dementia are encouraged to remove certain risk factors. An even, slip-resistant floor that’s free of clutter is a good place to start. You may also want to consider using a walking aid, such as a cane or walker.

Trouble Eating

Dementia patients can develop eating disorders and/or refuse to eat. They can also have other issues that interfere with their ability to eat. For example, it may be difficult for some people with dementia to chew hard foods. Dementia may even cause changes in sensory perception, altering the taste of food and, therefore, making eating less appealing.
With dementia patients, it’s often better to worry about whether or not they eat than to worry about what they eat. Giving in to food cravings may be the only way to ensure they consume calories.

Misunderstanding Context

To understand much of the English language, you have to understand the context. When something is said in a sarcastic tone, it’s believed by most to be not true or spoken in jest. Someone with dementia, however, may not detect sarcasm, leading them to interpret words literally. This inability to understand context is caused by brain damage caused by disease progression.
If you have a family member who has dementia, be sure to speak to them in plain language. Be aware that your jokes and sarcasm may be taken much differently than you intend. An inexhaustible well of patience may also help.
Dementia can be scary. Fortunately, there are treatment options available that will slow the progression of the disease. If you or a loved one is suffering from dementia, contact Lakeside Neurocare to learn more about exciting breakthroughs in dementia treatment.


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