Symptoms and Signs

Cognitive Changes

  • Memory loss
  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Difficulty with word-finding or speech
  • Difficulty with visual and spatial abilities
  • Difficulty with coordination and motor functions
  • Difficulty with organization, reasoning, problem-solving, or handling complex tasks (e.g. personal finances)

Senior with dementia or Alzheimer

Psychological Changes

  • Personality changes
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Inappropriate reactions/behaviours
  • Paranoia
  • Agitation
  • Hallucinations

Risk Factors

Inherent Risk Factors

  • Age: while risk increases as one ages (especially after 65). Dementia can occur in younger people.
  • Family History
  • Down Syndrome: many with Down syndrome may develop early-onset Alzheimer’s disease by mid-age.

Modifiable Risk Factors

  • Diet and Exercise: a lack of exercise increases the risk and an unhealthy diet is associated with a greater incidence of dementia.
  • Heavy Alcohol Use: larger amounts of alcohol is associated with a higher risk of dementia.
  • Cardiovascular Risk Factors: including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, fat buildup in the artery walls, and obesity.
  • Depression: late-life depression could be an indicator of dementia development.
  • Diabetes: diabetes, particularly if poor-controlled, is associated with an increased risk of diabetes.
  • Smoking: smoking is associated with an increased risk of dementia and blood vessel diseases.
  • Sleep Apnea: reversible memory loss from snores and episodes of paused breathing during sleep.
  • Vitamin and Nutritional Deficiencies: low levels of vitamin D, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and folate are associated with an increased risk of dementia.