New research has zeroed in on some early warning signs of dementia to watch out for. Falls and poorer health may be used to predict an earlier diagnosis of dementia up to 9 years in advance, according to a recent study published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia.
As we age, our risk for developing dementia increases. Dementia is a term used to describe a decline in cognitive function, including memory, language, and problem-solving skills. It is often accompanied by changes in behavior and personality.
While there is no known cure for dementia, early diagnosis can allow for earlier interventions and potentially slow the progression of the disease. This is why it is important to identify potential risk factors that may predict the onset of dementia.
In the study, researchers followed a group of 2,416 individuals over the age of 60 for an average of 9.6 years. They found that those who had experienced falls and had poorer health were more likely to be diagnosed with dementia up to 9 years earlier than those who did not have these risk factors.
How Falls and Poorer Health May Affect Dementia Risk
Falls and general poorer health may be indicative of underlying brain changes that increase the risk of dementia. Falls may be a result of balance problems, which can be caused by changes in the brain. Similarly, poorer health may be a result of chronic conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes, which have been linked to an increased risk of dementia.
Second, falls may cause physical injuries that may further contribute to the onset of dementia. A fall may result in a head injury, which alone have been linked to an increased risk of dementia. Similarly, poor health may lead to a decline in the quantity and quality, as well as duration of physical activity, which has also been linked to an increased risk of dementia.
Potential Implications of the Study
The findings of this study suggest that falls and poorer health may be used to predict an earlier diagnosis of dementia up to 9 years in advance. This is important because it allows for earlier interventions that may potentially slow the progression of the disease.
For example, falls prevention programs may be implemented to help individuals maintain their balance and reduce their risk of falls. Similarly, addressing chronic conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes may also help to reduce the risk of dementia.
In conclusion, the study suggests that falls and poorer health may be used to predict an earlier diagnosis of dementia up to 9 years in advance. Further research is needed to confirm these findings and to determine the best interventions for reducing the risk of dementia.
Here are some more signs and symptoms that may indicate the onset of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease:
- Walking speed
- Memory loss
- Difficulty planning or solving problems
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks
- Confusion about time or place
- Challenges understanding visual information
- Problems with speaking or writing
- Tendency to misplace things
- Poor judgment or decision-making
- Withdrawal from social activities
- Changes in personality or mood