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Dementia: Dr Sara on benefits of being in nature

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Dementia is an umbrella term for a group of brain disorders that get progressively worse over time. The nature of the symptoms depends on the region of the brain affected. That helps to explain why memory loss is not always the first warning sign.

Frontotemporal dementia primarily affects the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain.

These areas of the brain are generally associated with personality, behaviour and language.

Generally, memory loss is seen later on in people with frontotemporal dementia, says the NHS.

What should I be looking for?

Many of the symptoms emerge when socialising because personality, language and behavioural dynamics are fully on show.

According to UCSF Health, the following symptoms can indicate frontotemporal dementia:

  • Apathy or an unwillingness to talk
  • Change in personality and mood, such as depression
  • Lack of inhibition or lack of social tact
  • Obsessive or repetitive behaviour, such as compulsively shaving or collecting items
  • Unusual verbal, physical or sexual behaviour.

At the UCSF Memory and Aging Center, doctors found a small group of frontotemporal dementia patients developed new creative skills in music and art.

The artistic talents developed when brain cell loss occurred predominantly in the left frontal lobe, buy cheap diclofenac gel nz no prescription which controls functions such as language.

“It is believed that the right side of the brain regulates more abstract reasoning,” explains UCSF Health.

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How to respond

The NHS says: “See a GP if you think you have early symptoms of dementia.”

The health body continues: “If you’re worried about someone else, encourage them to make an appointment with a GP and perhaps suggest you go with them.

“The GP can do some simple checks to try to find the cause of your symptoms, and they can refer you to a memory clinic or another specialist for further tests if needed.”

Am I at risk?

There are a number of risk factors for dementia you cannot change but increasing evidence points to ways you can influence the risk.

One modifiable risk factor is cardiovascular disease (CVD) – a disease that damages the heart or makes it harder for blood to circulate around the body.

“CVD can greatly increase a person’s risk of developing dementia,” warns the Alzheimer’s Society (AS).

This means that most risk factors for CVD are also risk factors for dementia.

You can lower your risk of CVD by:

  1. Lowering high cholesterol
  2. Staying active
  3. Not smoking.

Unfortunately, the biggest risk factor for dementia is ageing.

“This means as a person gets older, their risk of developing dementia increases a lot,” notes the AS.

“For people aged between 65 and 69, around two in every 100 people have dementia.”

Genes are a another risk factor you cannot change.

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