United – Caring For Our Loved Ones Living with Dementia by Gina Awad and Tony Husband Available NOW

Dementia Can Be Misdiagnosed as the Menopause

There are misconceptions that still exist around memory loss just being part of getting old and this can be a big barrier to accessing a dementia diagnosis. This year’s theme for Dementia Action Week is based around a timely diagnosis.

“It is vital to understand young people get dementia and there are around 40,000 people under 65 living with young onset dementia,” says Gina Awad BEM, Founder and Lead Exeter Dementia Action Alliance.

“I talked with a lovely lady a few months ago who explained how she obtained her diagnosis.

Mary Bryant, was diagnosed with Young Onset Dementia aged 55 and presented three times at her local GP practice over the previous two years with varying symptoms from depressive thoughts, inability to focus and memory loss.” 

Mary said: “I was convinced I was struggling with the menopause but after blood tests and screenings it wasn’t the case. I was then told it could be depression but it didn’t feel right. It wasn’t until I chatted with a friend who worked with a specialist in dementia and suggested it may be worth taking it further I learnt more. 

“After a lot of backwards and forwards and anxiety I eventually received a brain scan and discovered I had dementia. I was in such shock as I had no idea people at my age got dementia. It’s not easy but I try to keep positive and am lucky to have some great friends who help me when they can. 

“There are also all kinds of supportive forums available and groups I can access when I choose.  Before my diagnosis I felt so lonely, but now I know what is happening I feel a sense of relief.”

Gina said: “People are still unaware dementia can affect anyone, although it is less common for younger people. However, to have the knowledge and understanding it means people can receive a timelier diagnosis and receive the support needed for themselves and their family.”

Gina will be delivering a free dementia information session this Thursday (18 May), 6.30pm-7.45pm in Exeter. Pop along to St Thomas Library, 35 Church Road, St Thomas, EX2 9AZ. No booking required. 

Click here for more information about young onset dementia.