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  • Writer's pictureNicole J. Zuvich

Why is dementia hard to diagnose early?

Updated: Sep 27, 2022

Dementia is not a specific disease or condition but rather a combination of brain diseases that lead to deteriorating cognitive function. The situation becomes dementia when they interfere with daily tasks and living, according to U.S. News and World Report.

Because dementia is not a condition on its own, it can be tough to diagnose before it becomes serious.

Gradual onset

In most cases, dementia is gradual. You may notice symptoms but be unsure that they are not just regular signs of aging. For example, being forgetful on occasion happens to everyone, so when it happens to you, it might have to become a real problem before you realize it is dementia.

Internal damage

The internal damage to your brain can occur while giving off a few symptoms. Without evasive testing, you would never even know something was going wrong until the damage is severe and the symptoms begin to surface.


When you have dementia, you may not be self-aware. You might not recognize the issues because of the way your brain is working. You might even think other people are making things up when they point out symptoms. It can be difficult to recognize a problem with yourself because you become used to the changes and adjust to them in the beginning before they become too serious.

The best way to stay on top of your cognitive health is to have regular physicals and to work closely with your doctor. If you have dementia in your family history, you should make the doctor aware and be more aware yourself that you have an increased chance of developing cognitive issues as you age.

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