Typically, the earliest and most noticeable symptom of dementia is memory loss, according to WebMD. An individual may experience difficulty recalling recent events, recognizing people and places, balancing a checkbook, and finding the right words in conversations. Moodiness and abnormal behaviors including depression, aggression and agitation are also common in early dementia. There is also evidence that physical symptoms such as balance and mobility issues or a weak grip can be early symptoms of dementia.
Dementia is a group of neurological symptoms that is caused by accumulated damage to the cells of the brain, resulting in a decline in an individual's memory and other thinking skills, explains the Alzheimer's Association. While Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia in North America, it can also be caused by other neurological conditions and even nutritional deficiencies or hypothyroidism, says WebMD.
A patient with dementia experiences difficulty with at least two of the following areas: memory, judgement, communication, attention and visual perception. Although memory loss is strongly associated with dementia, experiencing memory loss in of itself does not mean that a patient has dementia, as some memory loss can be a normal part of the aging process, according to Mayo Clinic.