Spot the Signs

 

Very often it is recognising early warning signs that help us notice slight changes in health. Subtle changes in every day behaviour can be significant factors; below are some of the tell-tale signs that indicate help may need to be sought:

 

cartoon characters depicting the signs that they require care 

 

Dementia: early warning signals

Memory

Everyone forgets where they put their keys now and then, but decreased short-term memory is one of the first, and most common, early symptoms of dementia. As the disease progresses, the symptoms become more frequent.

Behavior

In some people, dementia shows itself in changed or inappropriate behaviour, such as trying to find their Mum or Dad or attempting to remove clothes in public or shouting at strangers.

Moods

People in the early stages of dementia may suffer unusual and unexplained mood swings, such as bouts of sadness or depression unrelated to any particular event.

Sense of Humor

It has been suggested that one of the first signs of onset dementia is a change in the persons usual sense of humor. It may be a change from satirical to slap stick, or visa versa.

Communication

Dementia makes it difficult to maintain a train of thought. Sufferers may lose the thread of a conversation, struggle to complete sentences, or be unable to follow simple directions.

Balance

The condition can also affect a person’s balance, leading to more frequent falls.

Fatigue

One of the most distressing aspects of dementia for many patients is that they lose interest in hobbies and activities they used to enjoy. They may simply sit in one place, often in front of a television; it’s also common for sufferers to tire easily and require much more sleep than before.

  

Stroke: the telltale signs

The main symptoms of stroke can be remembered with the word FAST: Face-Arms-Speech-Time.

Face – the face may have dropped on one side, the person may not be able to smile or their mouth or eye may have dropped.

Arms – the person with suspected stroke may not be able to lift both arms and keep them there because of arm weakness or numbness in one arm.

Speech – their speech may be slurred or garbled, or the person may not be able to talk at all despite appearing to be awake.

Time – it is time to dial 999 immediately if you see any of these signs or symptoms.

  

Other possible symptoms

Symptoms in the FAST test identify most strokes, but occasionally a stroke can cause different symptoms.

  • complete paralysis of one side of the body
  • sudden loss or blurring of vision
  • dizziness
  • confusion
  • difficulty understanding what others are saying
  • problems with balance and co-ordination
  • difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
  • a sudden and very severe headache resulting in a blinding pain unlike anything experienced before
  • loss of consciousness

 

However, there are usually other causes for these symptoms. Disclaimer

 

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