Dementia symptoms: Do you sleep this way? Early signs of brain decline found in sleep

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There are many reasons why a person’s behaviour may change. Dementia is a result of physical changes in the brain, and these can affect the person’s memory, mood and behaviour. Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia. There’s no cure for Alzheimer’s but an early diagnosis provides the opportunity for the person affected to get their affairs into order, including deciding on the care they would like to receive.

Problems with sleeping are common for people with dementia, said Better Health.

The site added: “Some people sleep during the day and are awake and restless at night.

“Some are no longer able to tell the difference between night and day, while others are simply not as active as they used to be and so need less sleep.

“Problems with sleeping or late evening agitation are often a stage in dementia that eventually passes.

“Many people with dementia sleep more during the later stages of the illness.”

Medical or psychological causes for sleep issues with dementia include:

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The dementia charity does note sleeping as a more common feature of later-stage dementia.

But any amount go damage to a person’s brain can cause them to become weaker and frailer over time, and therefore more tired.

It explains: “As a result, a person with dementia may find it quite exhausting to do relatively simple tasks like communicating, eating or trying to understand what is going on around them.

“This can make the person sleep more during the day as their symptoms become more severe.”

The brain changes behind Alzheimer’s

Current evidence suggests that Alzheimer’s disease is caused by the abnormal build-up of proteins in and around the brain.

Known as amyloid and tau proteins, the NHS added that there’s also a decrease in the chemical messengers (i.e., neurotransmitters) in the brain.

“Levels of one neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, are particularly low in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease,” the NHS stated.

Research is currently ongoing as to whether severe head injuries can lead to the condition.

Several lifestyle factors and conditions have been shown to increase the risk of Alzheimer’s, such as:

  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • The latest data also suggests that other factors could play an important role in the development of Alzheimer’s.
  • For instance, hearing loss, social isolation, and a sedentary lifestyle could all be contributing factors.

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