Expert shares the ABCD early warning signs of dementia to spot

Dr Hilary lists the early symptoms of dementia

There’s currently no cure for dementia, but an early diagnosis can open the door to future care and treatment.

Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine, in Qatar, Dr Malik recommended the ABCD model.

He said ‘A’ represents daily activities that you may “start to do less well”. Examples include putting clothes on.

‘B’ stands for behaviour; a person may become depressed or experience a low mood if they become frustrated about the things they can no longer do.

‘C’ refers to cognitive function; most specifically it’s about your ability to recall information from your short-term memory.

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Dr Malik explained: “Cognitive function is the major symptom that most people think about with dementia.

“This is really in terms of memory and the key thing is short-term memory (you forget names of people, places and things.

“This can make you feel as though something is wrong but you can’t quite place it.”

Dr Malik added: “A person with dementia can clearly remember what happened 20 to 30 years ago, but won’t remember what happened yesterday or even today.”

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“D” is for disorientation, in terms of “time, place or person”, which can also add to feeling frustrated.

You could have difficulty in “naming people, places, and orienting yourself in space”.

ABCD of dementia

  • A – Activities
  • B – Behaviour
  • C – Cognition
  • D – Disorientation

Ways to minimise the risk of dementia

You can treat the major risk factors; obesity, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, Dr Malik pointed out.

He said: “If you treat these effectively, this will reduce your risk of developing and progressing in terms of dementia.”

Dr Malik added: “Also, having an education is a major deterrent for developing dementia.”

Additional protective measures include “using your brain by learning a new language, playing cards, and doing crosswords”.

Dr Malik said: “Everybody should be encouraged to do these cognitive activities, as well as, exercising.

“Social isolation is also a major issue that can make dementia much worse, so if you have people around you that talk to you, this can help reduce your risk of dementia.”

Dr Rayaz Malik is the Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine in Qatar.

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