Richard Madeley fears he may develop dementia – symptoms of condition to spot

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Richard Madeley spoke about the nagging anxiety he has around developing dementia, insisting that he would ‘go down fighting’ if he was ever diagnosed. After the death of his mother Mary Claire in 2015 who was diagnosed with dementia three years prior has led to Madeley panicking every time he forgets something.

He told Women magazine: “If it ever happens to me, I would want to meet it head on. I would want to go down fighting.

“People of my generation are twitchy.

“We pounce on the slightest memory lapse or moment of forgetfulness and ask ourselves, ‘Is this it? Is this the start of something major?”

Memory loss is more common as you get older. As the National Institute of Aging states: “As people get older, changes occur in all parts of the body, including the brain.

“As a result, some people may notice that it takes longer to learn new things, they don’t remember information as well as they did, or they lose things like their glasses.”

According to the NHS, these early stages are often termed “mild cognitive impairment” (MCI) as the symptoms are not severe enough to be diagnosed as dementia.

The Alzheimer’s Association predicts that approximately 12-18 percent of people age 60 or older are living with MCI.

Those with MCI maintain the ability to independently perform most activities of daily living.

Alongside memory loss symptoms, the following may occur:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Getting confused when carrying out familiar daily tasks
  • Struggling to partake in conversation
  • Sleep disturbance

Noticing these serious and persistent memory problems will then help to diagnose it quicker.

Sometimes memory loss can be related to other medical conditions which should go away once a person gets treatment.

Tumours, blood clots, infections in the brain, medication side effects and drinking too much could all lead to mild memory loss.

However doctors should treat these serious conditions straight away.

In addition, dealing with emotional problems or mental health could also lead to memory loss or increased confusion.

For example anxiety, depression or dealing with grief may cloud your judgement.

However seeking support from family and or friends or professional psychologists should help in these feelings fading.

If you become worried about memory loss, it is important to speak to your GP.

You may then be referred to a memory clinic or hospital specialist for further assessments before a diagnosis.

Guidance is available from The Alzheimer’s Society on 0330 333 0804 or on their website.

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