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Very Early Signs and Symptoms

There are very early signs and symptoms of dementia, mild cognitive impairment, mild dementia, moderate dementia, and severe dementia. Biomarkers are indicators, such as changes in sensory abilities, or substances that appear in body fluids like blood, cerebrospinal fluid, or urine. Biomarkers can indicate exposure to a substance, the presence of a disease, or the progression of a disease over time. Such tools are critical to helping scientists detect and understand the very early signs and symptoms of dementia.

Mild Cognitive Impairment

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is when you are growing older and developing memory problems greater than what is expected for your age, but you are not experiencing personality changes or other problems that are characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers cannot yet definitively say that people with MCI will or will not go on to develop Alzheimer’s disease, or if its progress can be prevented or delayed. Studies have shown that if you are experiencing MCI and also having trouble moving your legs and feet, you may be twice as likely to later develop Alzheimer’s disease.

Mild Dementia

Signs and symptoms of mild dementia include memory loss, confusion about the location of familiar places, taking longer than usual to accomplish normal daily tasks, trouble handling money and paying bills, poor judgment leading to bad decisions, loss of spontaneity and sense of initiative, mood and personality changes, and increased anxiety or aggression.

Moderate Dementia

Signs and symptoms include increased memory loss and confusion, shortened attention span, inappropriate angry outbursts, problem recognizing family and close friends, difficulty with language (reading, writing, numbers), inability to learn new things or cope with unexpected situations, difficulty organizing thoughts and thinking logically, repetitive statements or movements, occasional muscle twitches, restlessness, agitation, anxiety, tearfulness, wandering (especially in late afternoon or at night), hallucinations, delusions, suspiciousness, paranoia, irritability, loss of impulse control, inability to carry out activities that involve multiple steps in sequence (getting dressed, making coffee, setting the table).

Severe Dementia

Signs and symptoms include weight loss, seizures, skin infections, difficulty swallowing, increased sleep, groaning, moaning or grunting, lack of bladder or bowel control.

If you feel that your condition is not related to outside causes, or that you may fall under one of the above categories, you should consider making an appointment with a physician or other medical specialist.