ABOUT 900,000 Brits are currently living with dementia.
And with an ageing population it's likely that number will continue to rise, as ageing is the biggest risk factor for the brain robbing disease.
The tragic disease is one of the leading causes of death globally.
And it brings with is suffering to both those with it and those around them.
Earlier diagnosis can give them and their families more time to understand their diagnosis and plan for the future.
Memory loss is a common sign which most people are aware of.
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But one of the stranger symptoms of dementia is a loss of sense of smell.
So if you can't smell your shampoo while in the shower, this could be a sign.
A study, published by the University of Chicago, found rapid decline in sense of smell can be an early indicator of the disease.
This is because memory plays a critical role in our ability to recognize smells.
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The findings, based on a longitudinal study of 515 older adults, could lead to the development of smell-test screening to detect cognitive impairment earlier in patients.
According to Dr Claire Sexton, of the Alzheimer’s Association “loss of smell is a signal of an inflammatory response in the brain.”
We know inflammation is part of the neurodegenerative process in diseases like Alzheimer’s," she told NBC News.
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
Different types of dementia can affect people differently, and everyone will experience symptoms in their own way.
A new drug, named donanemab, has been proven to slow the disease — heralding a new era where it could become treatable.
The potentially game-changing drug is still in its trial phase, so until it becomes readily available catching the disease early promises the best outcomes.
Difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s and dementia are not the same thing — despite the terms often being grouped together and used interchangeably.
Dementia is an umbrella term that covers a lot of different conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s disease, which is the most common form of dementia, is responsible for around two thirds of the cases of dementia in the UK, which is why people sometimes get confused.
Do I have dementia?
Experts have devised a simple test that could be used to spot dementia nearly a decade before doctors notice symptoms.
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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.
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