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Dementia: Symptoms include sunset anxiety

The threat of dementia is always present, but tools to tackle the condition are still limited. There is evidence that early detection of the disease enables patients and their families to plan ahead. However, it can be difficult to distinguish between signs of cognitive decline and signs of aging. An early complication of dementia may include anxiety, which is more pronounced in the afternoon or evening.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, dementia is a general term for "impaired ability to remember, think or make decisions that interfere with doing straight activities." One of the symptoms associated with the disease is sunset, so-called because it typically worsens in the late afternoon. .

The syndrome can cause a variety of behavioral patterns, such as confusion, anxiety, aggression, or ignorance of directions.

Hallucinations or delusions are other possible symptoms of sunset that can continue into the night and interfere with sleep quality.

The Mayo Clinic explains: "Sundowning is not a disease, but a group of symptoms that occur at a specific time of day that can affect people with dementia, such as Alzheimer's disease."

READ MORE: Dementia: Popular activity performed for too long increases your risk

Sometimes it can also lead to pacing or hiking or increased anxiety.

Anxiety has previously been described as one of the earliest signs of Alzheimer's, with neurologists suggesting that the sign may occur years before the onset of the condition.

Emer MacSweeney, neuroradiologist and CEO of Re-cognition Health, has previously told "People who are diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment due to Alzheimer's disease will, when asked, often admit to having experienced unexplained anxiety and short-term memory loss. ”

These symptoms, Dr. MacSweeney explained, can occur as early as 18 months to two years before the cognitive deficits of Alzheimer's disease become more apparent.

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Doctor Emer added: "It is important to recognize that people over the age of 60 who develop anxiety for the first time, for no apparent reason, may show an early onset of Alzheimer's."

While patients may show confusion and restlessness in the late afternoon and evening, symptoms may be less pronounced earlier in the day.

The causes of sunset, also known as confusion in late days, are still poorly understood.

However, the Mayo Clinic explains that certain factors can aggravate the symptoms.

These include low light, increased shadows, fatigue, disturbance of the body's internal clock, difficulty in separating reality from dreams and the presence of an infection in the body.

When people show signs of agitation, the National Institute of Aging advises to listen to their concerns or frustrations calmly.

The healthy body adds, "Try to reassure the person that everything is OK, and distract him or her from stressful or outrageous events."

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