AROUND 900,000 Brits are currently living with dementia
And with an aging population that number will continue to rise as getting older is the biggest risk factor in developing the condition.
Dementia is one of the leading causes of death globally, bringing with it pain and suffering to both those who have it and those around them.
Until a cure is discovered, having ways to spot the condition as early as possible gives people the best chance of managing and alleviating symptoms.
Memory loss is a common sign which most people are aware of.
But did you can often spot the dementia in someone by the way they drive?
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According to the National Institute on Aging sufferers may start getting lots of traffic tickets as their driving becomes less safe and more erratic.
They might make dangerous mistakes on the road like confusing the brake and gas pedals, making sudden lane changes, speeding or driving too slowly.
New dents or scrapes on the car or multiple near misses or crashes are obvious red flags.
As is taking a long time to do a simple errand and not being able to explain why.
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Simple and familiar tasks, like driving, can become challenging for those suffering from dementia as brain function and cognitive activity start to deteriorate.
These can occur suddenly or over time and leads to simple tasks or basic routines unexpectedly requiring a lot of thought and energy.
The risk of dementia can accumulate over a lifetime and is partly driven by genetics, which are not possible to change.
There is currently no cure or way of slowing the fatal disease, which robs sufferers of their memory, intelligence and physical strength.
This week, a dementia drug has been proven to work in a “breakthrough” clinical trial.
Do I have dementia?
Experts have devised a simple test that could be used to spot dementia nearly a decade before doctors notice symptoms.
Cambridge University experts say simple tests which test basic memory could be used to screen people and start treatment earlier.
Both tests rely on subtle differences that could easily be missed.
Trials of a medicine called donanemab has been proven to slow the disease — heralding “a new era where it could become treatable”.
According to the NHS, other early signs of the condition include:
- memory loss
- difficulty concentrating
- finding it hard to carry out familiar daily tasks, such as 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
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Different types of dementia can affect people differently, and everyone will experience symptoms in their own way.
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