Early Diagnosis is the Key to Living Well with Dementia

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Whilst the headline is pretty obvious – the reality is that we’re struggling to get people diagnosed early enough. Too often the early signs of dementia go unnoticed. It’s so important the we all become aware of changes in behaviour amongst our loved ones.

A lot of people think dementia is about becoming more forgetful and just a bi-product of ageing. It’s not – it’s a disease that affects the brain to which there is no current cure. Like all diseases, the sooner it’s diagnosed the better.

An early diagnosis helps ensure the right care plan is developed for the person with dementia. It also means that the right advice and support can be offered to their carers and family.

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The challenge we face is that dementia affects people differently, making it impossible to apply “generic treatments”. What can work for one can be counter-productive for another.

The first step is to get GP’s to diagnose more quickly – not to just prescribe medication and ignore the real symptons.

Families can play a huge part by getting their loved ones to visit the GP and explain the symptoms. Don’t ignore them!! The tests can be undertaken and a diagnosis given very quickly. By getting GP’s to “test for dementia” straight away we can start diagnosing earlier.

Diagnosing earlier means care and support earlier. This early intervention will result in longer, happier lives for the whole family network.

Dementia support services are crucial to enjoying a full and enjoyable life with the disease. They can be made available very quickly after diagnosis and make families realise that life can go on.

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There’s lots of great work being done to increase the choice and availability of support services. However, we’re still struggling as a society to get people diagnosed early enough. GP’s have a huge roll to play in this but we can do our bit by understanding the symptoms better.

Here’s a few to look out for;

  1. Unpredictable mood swings
  2. Forgetting things more often
  3. Forgetting names of people close to them
  4. Repeating phrases or stories in the same conversation
  5. Reduced interest in activities
  6. Increased difficulty in making choices

If your loved ones start developing these symptoms then get them to the GP straight away. An early diagnosis will makes such a difference to the health & happiness of the whole family.

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