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HomeHealthRed flag sign of dementia to spot in the throat - 'crucial'...

Red flag sign of dementia to spot in the throat – ‘crucial’ to seek medical help


It is estimated that almost one million Britons are currently living with dementia and this figure is only expected to rise in coming years due to our ageing population.

Dementia is a syndrome, or a group of symptoms, related to the ongoing decline of the brain. Over time this can lead to problems with memory, behaviour and even movement.

Most of us are aware of some of the well-known symptoms of dementia. These include problems such as memory loss, reduced thinking speed and difficulty carrying out everyday tasks.

However, there are some less well-known signs that could be indicators of the condition.

With this in mind, one expert spoke exclusively with Express.co.uk about a specific but “unusual” symptom to spot.

According to Dr Ahmad Khundakar, senior lecturer in biomedical science at Teesside University, difficulty swallowing is a symptom of dementia.

Medically this is known as dysphagia.

He explained: “One unusual physical sign of dementia is dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing.

“It occurs due to damage to brain regions responsible for movement and coordination, including those controlling the swallowing reflex.

“Those living with dementia may experience muscle weakness, coordination problems, and reduced throat sensation, leading to difficulties in swallowing.”

This advice is backed by information provided by the Alzheimer’s Society.

“As dementia progresses, swallowing difficulties (called dysphagia) become more common, although they will vary from person to person,” the charity says.

“Difficulties may include the person chewing continuously or holding food in their mouth.

“Swallowing difficulties can lead to weight loss, malnutrition and dehydration.”

Dr Khundakar warned that this symptom should prompt a visit to the GP or other medical professionals.

He said: “If someone displays symptoms of dysphagia, it’s crucial to seek medical attention promptly.

“Dysphagia can lead to serious complications such as malnutrition or choking if not properly managed.

“Healthcare professionals, such as speech and language therapists, can assess the underlying cause and provide interventions to improve swallowing function.”

He listed other symptoms of dementia as memory loss and problems with thinking and attention.

The NHS says dementia symptoms may include problems with:

  • Memory loss
  • Thinking speed
  • Mental sharpness and quickness
  • Language, such as using words incorrectly, or trouble speaking
  • Understanding
  • Judgement
  • Mood
  • Movement
  • Difficulties doing daily activities.

Dr Khundakar added: “Lowering the risk of developing dementia involves not only adopting a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet, regular exercise, avoiding smoking, limiting alcohol consumption, but also maintaining mental stimulation and social connections.

“Regular medical check-ups and screenings for cognitive impairment are also essential for early detection and intervention in dementia.”



This story originally appeared on Express.co.uk

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