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Can A Fall Worsen Dementia

Mitigating The Risk Factor

Lewy body dementia and its rapid decline

More research is still needed to make a positive impact on dementia sufferers and their caregivers. Until more funding and research can be carried out, the responsibility of identifying risk factors lies with those who are closest to dementia sufferers. The Alzheimers Association has published a nationally recognized chart identifying the 10 earliest signs of AD and other dementias. Knowing them could allow early identification that would enable families and caregivers to best protect older people and get them treatment to help slow down some of the progressive symptoms.

The Alzheimers Associations list of the 10 earliest warning signs of Alzheimers and other dementias is as follows, reproduced here for the convenient of our readers:

  • Memory problems that cause a disruption to daily routines

  • Challenges in problem solving and planning

  • Trouble completing familiar tasks in the home or at work

  • Confusion with location and passage of time

  • Trouble understanding spatial relationships and the meaning of visual images

  • Progressive problems with writing and/or speaking

  • Loss of ability to retrace steps to find misplaced objects

  • Social withdrawal

  • Personality changes and mood swings

  • Which Is Worse: Dementia Or Alzheimer’s

    Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging. It fall under the umbrella of age-related decline in mental abilities, known as dementia. The disease disturbs all facets of a person’s life: how they think, feel, and act. offers UP TO 20% OFF on essential medicines as we understand that chronic diseases place a high financial & emotional burden on the patient’s family.

    It is estimated that around 4 million people in India are living with some form of dementia??, including Alzheimer’s disease. By the year 2020, around 70% of the world’s population aged 60 & older will be living in developing countries, with 14.2% in India. Alzheimer’s disease is a growing public health problem in India, whose ageing population is increasing rapidly.

    Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia, also known as vascular cognitive impairment or vascular neurocognitive disorder are all dementia types. The 2 types of dementia symptoms and characteristics overlap, but specialised healthcare providers are trained to recognize the difference between Alzheimers and vascular dementia.

    Vascular dementia:

    Alzheimer’s disease is the most common kind of dementia. This disease progressively worsens, where dementia symptoms increasingly worsen over a period of several years.

    Tips on Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease or Dementia
    • Be physically active

    Sundowning And The Season

    Just be aware that the days are getting shorter and sundowning can be an issue. If your loved one is already experiencing symptoms, then they will likely get worse. It does for me and every other patient I know. It has to do with our internal biological clock. Everything gets confusing when we lose so much daylight and we have to endure all those dreary, dark and cloudy days that usher in winter. Even people without dementia can experience fatigue and mood changes this time of year.

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    What Are The Symptoms Of Dementia In Head Injury Cases

    Dementia-related symptoms in head injury are those that affect thinking and concentration, memory, communication, personality, interactions with others, mood, and behavior.

    • These are only some of the symptoms that might be experienced after a head injury.
    • Individuals experience different combinations of these symptoms depending on the part of the head-injured, the force of the blow, the damage caused, and the persons personality before the injury.
    • Some symptoms appear rapidly, while others develop more slowly.
    • In most cases, symptoms have at least started to appear in the first month after the injury.

    Symptoms of dementia in head-injured persons include the following:

    • Problems thinking clearly
    • Vague, nonspecific physical symptoms
    • Apathy

    Some people develop seizures after a head injury. These are not part of dementia, but they can complicate the diagnosis and treatment of dementia.

    Major mental disorders may develop after head injury. Two or more of these may appear together in the same person.

    Key Points: Dementia After Traumatic Brain Injury

    Fall Injuries Seniors Dementia
    • Traumatic brain injury is associated with an increased risk of neurodegenerative disease including Alzheimers disease, Parkinsons disease and chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

    • All-cause dementia risk is increased by around 1.5 times, and it has been estimated that around 5% of all dementia cases worldwide may be attributable to TBI.

    • The systematic use of neuroimaging and fluid biomarker measures of neurodegeneration will allow the definition of endophenotypes of post-traumatic dementias.

    • Progressive neurodegeneration is common after TBI and can be identified using MRI and positron emission tomography imaging, as well as fluid biomarkers such as neurofilament light.

    • There is increasing acceptance among regulators that biomarkers such as brain atrophy rates are valid trial endpoints in presymptomatic Alzheimers disease.

    • There is a therapeutic opportunity to intervene after TBI before significant neurodegeneration takes place, and there are good reasons to think that treatments should be initially judged against biomarkers such as brain atrophy rather than clinical endpoints.

    • Trial populations in this presymptomatic group could be enriched on the basis of biomarkers of axonal injury and neurodegeneration, including diffusion tensor imaging, blood neurofilament levels or amyloid positive PET scans.

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    What Causes Dementia In Head Injury Cases

    The following are the most common causes of head injury in civilians:

    • Motor vehicle accidents
    • Assault or gunshot wound
    • Sports, such as boxing , or other recreational activity

    The use of alcohol or other substances is a factor in about half of these injuries.

    Certain groups are more likely than others to sustain a head injury.

    • In children, bicycle accidents are a significant cause of head injury.
    • Most head injuries in infants reflect child abuse. A common name for this is shaken baby syndrome.
    • Elderly persons are especially likely to injure themselves by falling.

    What Is Alzheimers Disease

    Dementia is the term applied to a group of symptoms that negatively impact memory, but Alzheimers is a specific progressive disease of the brain that slowly causes impairment in memory and cognitive function. The exact cause is unknown, and no cure is available.

    Although younger people can and do get Alzheimers, the symptoms generally begin after age 65.

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    Clinical Features Of Neurodegeneration After Tbi

    We need to improve our approach to the diagnosis of post-traumatic neurodegenerative conditions. This is a difficult problem, partly because the putative clinical features of CTE and other post-traumatic dementias overlap with the direct cognitive and psychiatric effects of brain injury. For example, McKee and colleagues propose CTE staging based on neuropathological disease progression and highlight clinical features that are characteristic of each pathological stage. Diverse symptoms including headache, memory loss, word finding difficulty and aggression have been reported in individuals with pathologically confirmed CTE. However, these are common as a direct consequence of TBI and often persist into the chronic phase after injury. Hence, these problems are not a specific feature of post-traumatic dementia, and it is notable that no consensus clinical features of CTE have yet been established.

    Search Strategy And Information Sources

    4 Cardinal Signs of Lewy Body Dementia

    We used a detailed literature search, without language restriction, to identify articles published between January 1, 1988, and October 16, 2014. The following electronic databases were used: EMBASE, PubMed, PsycINFO, and CINAHL. The following MeSH subject terms, subject headings, and abstract keywords were used: aged, aged 80 and over, prospective study/ies, accidental falls, falls, falling, fall risk, risk factor, fall risk assessment, risk assessment, Alzheimer’s disease, Alzheimer disease, cognitive defect, frontotemporal dementia, dementia, multi-infarct dementia, diffuse Lewy body disease, mild cognitive impairment, cognitive impairment, vascular dementia, dementia of Alzheimer’s type, dementia with Lewy body, and Parkinson’s disease dementia. We also performed a hand search of bibliographic references in the extracted articles and existing reviews to identify any studies not captured in the electronic searches. This systematic review was registered with PROSPERO .

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    Consequences Of Falls In The Elderly

    Above, we mentioned that 25 percent of the elderly will fall each year, so its a pretty common problem. Some of them will be lucky enough to bounce back without harm. But for most, after a fall, the likelihood of future falls doubles. This can be scary for older adults to think about, and the fear may, unfortunately, prohibit them from living an active independent lifestyle.

    There are many consequences that may happen when an elderly person falls. Most injuries are the result of weak muscles, brittle bones, and fragile joints. Hips and wrists are the most common broken bones in the elderly.

    When a senior falls down, they may hit their heads, causing head trauma and concussions. Brain damage from a fall can bring on or worsen dementia.

    To make matters worse, many seniors live alone, or are alone for the majority of the day. If they were to fall and no one was around, there is a danger of them not getting help when they need it.

    What Is Already Known On This Topic

    Compared with cognitively healthy older adults, people with dementia fall more often and sustain more serious fall-related injuries. Because the factors related to increased fall risk in people with dementia are not fully understood, fall prevention guidelines have not been able to make recommendations for this group of older adults.

    Recommended Reading: Alzheimer’s Aphasia

    How Hospice Can Help With End

    In addition to helping you in recognizing the signs of dying in the elderly with dementia, bringing in hospice care will help with the physical and emotional demands of caregiving. Nurses will be able to adjust medication and care plans as the individuals needs change. Aides can help with bathing, grooming, and other personal care. Social workers can help organize resources for the patient and family. Chaplains and bereavement specials can help the family with any emotional or spiritual needs. Additionally, family members can contact hospice at any time, and do not need to wait until it is recommended by the patient’s physician.

    To learn more about the criteria for hospice eligibility or to schedule a consultation, please contact Crossroads using the blue Help Center bar on this page for more information on how we can help provide support to individuals with dementia and their families.

    Six Facts About Falls For Dementia Patients And Caregivers

    Someone You Love With Dementia Falling Out of Bed?

    As children, we fall, get up quickly, brush ourselves off and continue with our activities. When we become older adults, we dont get up as easily, and can possibly even be injured from a fall. And dementia patients are more likely to fall than older adults who do not have cognitive impairment.

    Here are six facts about falls and ways to help prevent them.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Each year more than one out of four people ages 65 and over fall in the United States.
  • Falls can lead to serious injury, loss of independence and even death.
  • Falling once doubles your chances of falling again.
  • Each year 3 million older people are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries.
  • One out of five falls causes a serious injury, such as broken bones or a head injury. Head injuries can be very serious, and you should be seen by a doctor immediately if you fall and hit your head.
  • Women fall more often than men and are more likely to develop osteoporosis, a disease that weakens bones and make them easier to break.
  • Many people who fall, even if theyre not injured, develop a fear of falling which can lead to curtailment of their everyday activities. If someone is less active physically, they become weaker which increases the chance of falling. And a vicious cycle begins.

    What You Can Do to Prevent Falls

    Although falls are common in older adults, addressing certain risk factors can help prevent them:

    How AFC Addresses Fall Risks

    Recommended Reading: Etiology Of Dementia

    More Useful Links And Resources

    Risk factors.Alzheimer Society of Canada, 2021. Read about risk factors for dementia in our downloadable, print-friendly infosheet. This sheet also contains strategies and lifestyle changes that can help you reduce your risk of developing dementia.

    Understanding genetics and Alzheimer’s disease.Alzheimer Society of Canada, 2018.In our downloadable, print-friendly infosheet, learn more about the role that genetics plays as a risk factor for dementia, and find out whether you should pursue genetic testing.

    Risk factors and prevention. Alzheimer’s Society UK. This comprehensive webpage from the Alzheimer’s Society UK has some helpful nuggets of research and advice related to reducing your risk of dementia.

    Tobacco use and dementia. World Health Organization , 2014. This report from the WHO details the evidence behind smoking tobacco as a risk factor for dementia.

    Women and Dementia: Understanding sex/gender differences in the brain. brainXchange, 2018. This webinar discusses understandings of sex and gender, sex differences in Alzheimerâs disease, how the higher number of women with Alzheimer’s may be due to both, and a discussion of the role of estrogen in the health of brain regions associated with Alzheimerâs disease. In partnership with the Alzheimer Society of Canada and the Canadian Consortium of Neurodegeneration in Aging .

    Medications That Affect Blood Pressure

    These types of drugs can cause or worsen a sudden fall in blood pressure. A drop in blood pressure can increase fall risk by making someone feel dizzy or faint.

    8. Antihypertensives

    • Usually prescribed to treat high blood pressure
    • Research linking these drugs with falls have mixed results, but many geriatricians and other experts recommend including these for review

    9. Other medications that affect blood pressure

    • Alpha-blockers are often prescribed to help men with enlarged prostate urinate
    • Common drugs include Flomax, Hytrin, Cardura, and Minipress

    Read Also: Margaret Thatcher Dementia

    What To Do When An Elderly Person Falls And Hits Their Head

    If the senior in your life falls and hits their head, try to stay calm and encourage them to do the same. A fall can be a shock to the body as well as emotional and disorienting.

    • Speak to them and ask what they are feeling. They may be able to tell you right away if they need to go to the hospital.
    • If they cant speak, you must get them emergency help right away. .
    • The most important thing to remember is not to move them and ask them not to move until you are sure they are not seriously injured.
    • If you are unsure of the severity of the situation, call 911 immediately. It is always better to be safe than sorry, especially where a senior is concerned.
    • If the senior complains of dizziness, vomiting, or serious headache, do not let them go to sleep or lay down to rest. Instead, call their doctor or 911 immediately. Additionally, changes in their behavior after hitting their head may be cause for concern.
    • Remember that even if they feel well enough to get up and do not seem to have any serious injury, you should keep a close eye on them and report it to their doctor. It is best to have them see a doctor or medical specialist as soon as possible, and you may have to insist that they go.

    The Risk Of Falling Increases With Dementia

    Keeping People Living with Dementia Safe from Trips & Falls, Safe & Well

    I have a saying, The further advanced dementia becomes, the closer their feet will stay to the ground.

    What I mean by this is, people who suffer from a dementia related disease will eventually develop an unsteady gait, hardly lifting their feet. Instead they will develop a shuffle and this creates a higher risk of falling. My advice is this before they reach this point, as a safety precaution, discard all of the throw rugs in their homes. However, this is only one of the concerns to consider. There are many other things we need to address.

    Statistics show us that 30% of all Senior Citizens fall each year. That percentage becomes much greater with dementia patients.

    Being cognitively impaired can also affect their sense of perception. Just like that warning sign on the side view mirror of your vehicle, for them objects may appear closer than they actually are. Sometimes, when theyre approaching a step or a curb, they may make the mistake of lifting their foot way too early, throwing them off balance.

    Their anxiety level and state of confusion may also be a factor. Many times I witnessed my dad attempting to get himself out of his chair and not quite making it, causing him to fall backward into his seat. Although he did not get hurt, when he finally did make it to his feet, he would remain very unsteady. Even the fear of falling itself can become hazardous for them.

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    Vascular Dementia: A Problem With Blood Vessels

    Vascular dementia occurs when damage to blood vessels blocks blood flow to the brain, depriving brain cells of the oxygen and nutrients they need.

    The progression of the resulting dementia depends in part on where and how the blockage occurred.

    Damage to small blood vessels deep in the brain can cause dementia that worsens gradually, like Alzheimers disease.

    When damage is due to a major stroke or a series of small strokes, symptoms occur suddenly. Instead of becoming worse gradually, symptoms plateau for long periods, followed by short, intense periods of change.

    A person with early-stage vascular dementia will have difficulty planning and organizing, completing multistep tasks, and making decisions. Their thinking will also slow and they will have problems concentrating, with brief periods of confusion.

    Mood swings, apathy, and heightened emotions are common. People with vascular dementia are also vulnerable to depression and anxiety.

    As the disease progresses, symptoms are more likely to resemble those of middle and eventually later-stage Alzheimers disease: increasing memory loss, confusion, disorientation, and problems with reasoning and communication.

    As with Alzheimers, irritability and agitation tend to increase, as do delusions and hallucinations.

    Although each person with vascular disease will have a unique experience, patients live, on average, for five years after the onset of symptoms. Death is often due to a stroke or heart attack.


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