7 physical symptoms of dementia

Dementia is a collective term for diseases that affect memory, thinking and behaviour. In addition to cognitive symptoms, many also experience bodily changes. Here we list some of the most common physical symptoms of dementia.

1. Muscle stiffness and movement problems

Many people with dementia develop stiffness in their muscles and joints, which can make it harder to move. This can lead to impaired balance and increased risk of falling. Movement problems can also include slower walking and a general decrease in mobility.

2. Changes in sleep patterns

Sleep disturbances are common in dementia. This can mean difficulty falling asleep, waking up frequently during the night, or sleeping a lot during the day. Sleep problems can worsen other symptoms and significantly affect quality of life.

3. Impaired motor skills

People with dementia may experience a gradual decline in fine motor skills. This means difficulty performing everyday tasks such as pressing buttons, using cutlery or writing.

4. Loss of appetite and weight loss

Loss of appetite and thus weight loss are common symptoms. This may be due to difficulty recognizing hunger, problems chewing and swallowing or reduced interest in food. Malnutrition can lead to additional health problems.

5. Urinary incontinence

Urinary incontinence, or the inability to control the bladder, is a common problem in people with dementia. This may be due to a combination of physical changes and effects on brain signals.

6. Pain and discomfort

People with dementia may have difficulty communicating pain and discomfort, making it difficult for caregivers to identify and treat these problems. It is important to pay attention to non-verbal signs of pain.

7. Changed walking style

A characteristic change in gait, often described as “parkinsonism,” may occur. This includes small, dragging steps and reduced arm swing. Changed walking style increases the risk of falls and injuries.

Being aware of these physical symptoms can help relatives and caregivers better understand and support people with dementia. Early detection and management of these symptoms can improve quality of life and reduce complications.