Dementia: Poor orientation is the ‘early stage’ symptom of the brain condition

Dr Zoe says walking can reduce risk of dementia

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Dementia details a group of related symptoms linked to an ongoing decline of brain functioning. There are many different types of this brain condition, with Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia being the most prevalent. Poor orientation is “common” in Alzheimer’s patients.

According to Alzheimer’s Society, during the early stages of dementia, symptoms are “often relatively mild and not always easy to notice”.

However, poor orientation is one sign that can crop up quite early.

Recognised as the “early-stage symptom”, poor orientation describes when a person no longer recognises where they are and gets lost.

This can even happen when they are in a place that’s familiar to them.

The Mayo Clinic explains that wandering and becoming lost is “common” with Alzheimer’s disease sufferers.

But other types of dementia can also present with this warning sign.

The health portal said: “This behaviour can happen in the early stages of dementia.

“Even if the person has never wandered in the past.”

The Alzheimer’s Association reports that wandering or getting lost can also strike later on during the condition.

Six in 10 people living with dementia will eventually experience this sign at least once. But many wander “repeatedly”.

The non-profit organisation warns that this can be “dangerous”, with the risk weighing “heavily” on caregivers and family.

Fortunately, they shared that there’s plenty you can do to reduce the risk of wandering, ranging from keeping the patient engaged to identifying the time the person is likely to wander.

Poor orientation and the ordeal that comes with it isn’t the only sign that could help spot the brain condition.

The NHS explains that other symptoms include:

  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Finding it hard to carry out familiar daily tasks (getting confused over the correct change when shopping)
  • Struggling to follow a conversation or find the right word
  • Being confused about time and place
  • Mood changes.

The health service adds that symptoms can also differ for everyone and depend on the exact type of dementia you have.

If you notice that you suffer from these signs or they affect somebody you know, it’s important to talk to a GP “sooner rather than later”, the NHS advises.

Dementia currently affects around 55 million people, according to the World Health Organization.

But this number is set to experience a steep rise, targeting a staggering 152 million people by 2050.

Luckily, there’s compelling evidence that a healthy lifestyle could help slash your risk of developing dementia.

From following a healthy diet to cutting down on alcohol, there are easy tweaks that could help.

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