11 Signs of Aging People Don't Know About
Watch for these subtle symptoms.
The signs that you're developing a disease associated with advanced aging can be alarming. And sometimes they can be subtle and confusing, resulting in months or years of frustration—especially if you're "too young" to be so sick. Caroline Preston recently told the Telegraph about the subtle symptoms displayed by her 40-year-old husband Mark—an Oxford-educated physicist and member of Mensa—who would ultimately be diagnosed with early-onset dementia.
Caroline said Mark, normally a careful, fastidious person, began showing signs of carelessness about important matters. "One example that sticks in my mind was when we talked about baby names," said Caroline. "I was pregnant with our son, our first child, at the time. Mark's attitude to names was: 'Oh, whatever! Whatever you want!' He'd become dismissive about things when he never was before."
"I remember him putting a blind up in the baby's room," said Caroline. "Before, he'd have measured and measured again and it would have been perfect. This time, the blind didn't close properly. He'd chipped the paintwork and he wasn't bothered."
Caroline noticed her husband began losing interest in things he used to love. "Mark was an avid Formula 1 fan, but stopped watching the races," she said.
Mark had "always been friendly and sociable but stopped wanting to go out," said Caroline. "We stopped going out walking, which we'd always loved."
"He wasn't interested in how my day had gone, where before he'd always been really caring and empathic," said Caroline.
"Nothing took the place of any of this—there were no new interests or preoccupations except for secretly overeating," she said. "He'd go to the shops and buy family packs of biscuits and I'd find the empty wrappers. I'd say: 'Crikey. You've eaten a whole pack of chocolate digestives?' Mark would say: 'Oh, I was hungry.' And that would be it."
Caroline noticed that Mark wasn't sleeping. A change in sleeping habits can be a signifier of dementia.
"He would make rude comments about people when we were out, which he'd never done before," said Caroline.
Caroline would see Mark "flitting around at 100mph, fiddling with things…A psychiatric nurse visited us at home, watched Mark and really listened. She told me I needed to go to the emergency room and get a CT scan."
The CT scan showed that Mark had significant shrinkage of his brain and was suffering from frontotemporal dementia. This type of dementia doesn't involve memory loss in the early stages, so it can be confusing for loved ones and initially misdiagnosed as depression, as it was for Caroline and Mark.
Caroline reports that Mark's condition has deteriorated. "He can't dress himself. He started to lose his speech last year," she said. "First he would talk in a whisper, but now he's completely non-verbal."