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Recognizing Dementia Symptoms


Dementia refers to several conditions, the most common being Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, and Lewy body dementia. The symptoms of dementia depend on the type and stage of the disease, but typically cause varying degrees of memory loss and reduced brain function.

Experiencing the signs of dementia or seeing them in a family member can be scary, you can receive the personal care you need at Dignity Health. If you or a loved one would like to meet with a neurologist for symptoms of dementia in the Bay Area, Find a Doctor online.

Signs & Symptoms of Dementia

In most instances, dementia develops over a long period of time. However, it can occur suddenly, such as in vascular dementia, which is brought on by reduced blood flow, caused by an underlying cardiovascular condition.

General dementia symptoms include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Inability to complete tasks that have multiple steps, such as paying bills or cooking
  • Inability to find the right words when speaking or writing
  • Loss of ability to perform daily activities, such as dressing or bathing
  • Loss of ability to solve simple problems, such as closing a window to prevent rain from coming in the house
  • Loss of impulse control, especially in public
  • Personality or mood changes, such as angry outbursts or crying frequently
  • Progressive memory loss
  • Repeating a single word or behavior over and over
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Trouble focusing or concentrating, even for short periods of time

As dementia progresses, symptoms get worse. Don’t delay in seeking the expertise of an experienced health care provider. If you notice one or more of these symptoms, contact a Dignity Health neurology department near you.

Dementia Diagnosis at Dignity Health

Your doctor will likely be able to diagnose dementia by reviewing your family’s medical history and performing neurological exams to test memory, problem solving, attention span, and the ability to perform other tasks.

A comprehensive neuropsychology exam may also be included. Lab and imaging tests also can help your doctor get a better understanding of your symptoms.

Tests may include:

  • Blood tests
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain scan
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) scan

Once a diagnosis has been reached, your Dignity Health doctor will work with you and your family to create a personalized treatment plan.

Dignity Health hospitals in the Bay Area provides help to diagnose dementia symptoms.