Dementia is not a specific disease rather it is an overall term for a collection of symptoms that are caused by brain disorders. These symptoms differ according to the part of the brain that is damaged. Usually, the effect is on one’s memory, thinking, and social abilities and the impact is severe enough to interfere with one’s daily life. The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer’s but there are other kinds such as:
- Young-onset dementia- where symptoms start appearing before the age of 65.
- Lewy Body dementia- is caused by protein deposits called alpha-synuclein (the abnormal Lewy bodies) inside the nerve cells of the brain.
- Vascular dementia- is caused by loss of blood flow to the brain and is likely to have a major impact on one’s thinking and problem-solving ability.
- Frontotemporal dementia- a rarely seen group of brain disorders that affects the language abilities and behaviour.
- Mixed dementia- when one has more than one type of dementia. [1, 2, 3]
Dementia Is More Common in Women Than Men
Dementia is more common in aged women rather than men as on average women have a longer life span than men. In addition, after scanning of brains of people with dementia, experts have found that brain cells naturally die faster in women than they do in men. Researchers also suggest that the female sex hormone, estrogen helps cells to communicate more effectively in the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus region of the brain, which could increase their risk of dementia too. 
Whether if one is concerned about themselves or about their loved one, they need to be aware of the warning signs of dementia, so that one can make sure and keep a check on the early diagnosis. These symptoms involve cognitive and psychological changes.
Here are the most common 10 warning signs of dementia.
1. Language Issues
Dementia patients can have trouble finding the right word to express themselves, may forget simple words, and may substitute wrong words into a conversation that others can’t understand.
2. Loss of Memory
It’s normal to occasionally have important things skipping the mind only if one remembers after a short while. However, anyone living with dementia would often forget things or even struggle to retain or recall any new information that they have received recently.
3. Difficulty Performing Usual Daily Tasks
People who are stuck in their busy schedule may at times forget their routine tasks like serving part of a meal but they would remember about it sometime later. However, in the case of dementia, one would forget how to perform a typical familiar task such as getting dressed or preparing a meal.
4. Impaired Judgment
In dementia patients, judgment and decision-making abilities are not apt. Thus, they may end up not recognizing something that could be a great risk for their health and safety like a medical condition that needs immediate attention from the doctor or wearing layers of clothing on a hot day.
5. Misplacing Things
Anyone who is in a hurry or not in a good mental state may temporarily misplace their belongings. However, those who are having dementia would start to put their things in appropriate places. For instance, they may keep a wristwatch in the freezer.
6. Disorientation to Place and Time
Many people might at some point in time have faced the same situation like entering a room and forgetting the reason for going there or having difficulty in remembering what date or day it is but might remember any time later. However, dementia patients have a problem remembering what day of the week, date, or time it is or can get easily lost in their street and not be able to find a way back to their home.
7. Problems with Abstract Thinking
Many people face difficulty in performing tasks that require abstract thinking such as balancing a check book or using a calculator. However, someone who has dementia may have significant difficulty in carrying out such tasks due to a loss of their understanding of what numbers and symbols mean and how they are to be used. They won’t be able to easily reason out things or solve problems.
8. Personality Changes
Over time, one’s personality can show subtle changes. Anyone having dementia would behave in a way that’s out of his/her character. They may experience striking changes in their personality and can become withdrawn, suspicious, or confused. The changes also involve fearfulness or lack of interest.
9. Changes in Mood and Behavior
Anyone at some point in time can feel sad or moody. However, people living with dementia can exhibit severe mood swings from being calm to tearful to angry without any apparent reason. They may have anxiety, depression, paranoia, hallucinations, and agitation.
10. Loss of Initiative
Normally, people do get tired of household chores, social obligations, or business activities, but they usually regain their initiative. However, people with dementia may lose interest in their family, friends, and favorite activities. They may become passive in the work they have started and would need cues and prompting to become involved.
The dementia symptoms can vary based on the cause. Other than the above-mentioned signs of dementia, one can even experience challenges in understanding visual and spatial information. Dementia patients can have problems in seeing things, have double vision, and face issues in navigating space such as getting lost while driving or easily and correctly placing things in their right place.
If one is concerned about any of the signs of dementia, the next step is to see a doctor. Only a qualified healthcare expert, after performing multiple tests and assessments, can confirm one of having dementia.
Note that all symptoms of dementia are not listed here, the symptoms vary based on the type of dementia. Each one has its own set of early symptoms. In advanced dementia, memory loss and difficulties in communication often become severe. The patients also face mobility issues, behavioral problems, appetite and weight loss problems, and even urinary bladder incontinence. [1, 2]