Dementia symptoms: Has your partner started doing this habit with their mouth? One sign

Dementia can refer to any number of symptoms associated with brain decline. The symptoms are determined by the region of the brain that is affected. Alzheimer’s disease, for example, often affects the hippocampus – the part of the brain responsible for memory.

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Frontotemporal dementia, on the other hand, affects the front and sides of the brain (the frontal and temporal lobes) – these areas govern personality, behaviour and language.

As a result, the initial warning signs of frontotemporal dementia do not include memory loss.

According to Mayo Clinic, the most common signs of frontotemporal dementia involve extreme changes in behaviour and personality.

This often takes the form of peculiar eating and mouth habits.

  • As Mayo Clinic explains, one sign is compulsively wanting to put things in the mouth.
  • Other warning signs include:
  • Changes in eating habits, usually overeating or developing a preference for sweets and carbohydrates
  • Eating inedible objects
  • According to the NHS, some people experience problems with speech and language, including:
  • Using words incorrectly – for example, calling a sheep a dog
  • Loss of vocabulary
  • Repeating a limited number of phrases
  • Forgetting the meaning of common words
  • Slow, hesitant speech
  • Difficulty making the right sounds to say words
  • Getting words in the wrong order
  • Automatically repeating things other people have said

“Some people gradually lose the ability to speak, and can eventually become completely mute,” explains the NHS.

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Am I at risk?

According to the Alzheimer’s Society, about 10-15 percent of people with frontotemporal dementia have a very strong family history of the condition.

This means having three or more relatives with frontotemporal dementia across at least two generations.

“A similar number of people with frontotemporal dementia have a weaker family history of dementia, but not necessarily of frontotemporal dementia,” says the Alzheimer’s Society.

In up to 30 percent of all people with frontotemporal dementia, the condition is known to be caused by a mutation in a single gene, it says.

This does not mean dementia is entirely predetermined, however.

A study published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association may give hope to those who carry the genetic mutation that causes frontotemporal dementia.

Researchers said a systematic review revealed that physically and cognitively demanding lifestyles are associated with better brain health in relation to ageing and Alzheimer’s disease.

The researchers noted the lack of studies on how lifestyle affects people with frontotemporal dementia.

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