Difficulty Determining Time Or Place
Losing track of dates and misunderstanding the passage of time as it occurs are also two common symptoms. Planning for future events can become difficult since they arent immediately occurring.
As symptoms progress, people with AD can become increasingly forgetful about where they are, how they got there, or why theyre there.
Typically Chronic Degenerative Dementias
Alzheimer’s disease is rarely rapid, but unusual presentations can be mistaken for CJD. Several cases of AD have been reported in conjunction with angiopathy presenting as adult onset RPD. Other non-prion neurodegenerative diseases that can also present, albeit rarely, in a more fulminant fashion, include DLB, FTD years, FTD patients 11 years and PSP/CBD patients 11.8 years , and PSP alone 5.6 years , from first symptom. More rapid onset and/or progression can occur. . In a large German study, out of 413 autopsied suspected cases of CJD 7% had AD and 3% had DLB. Myoclonus and extrapyramidal signs occurred in more than 70% of the DLB and more than 50% of the AD patients. Similarly, in a French pathologic study of 465 suspected CJD patients, the two most frequent non-CJD pathologic diagnoses were AD and DLB.
Neurofilament inclusion body disease is a recently described pathologic condition that can clinically present as FTD or CBD. The four index cases were all more rapid than typical degenerative dementias, with duration of only two to four years. Brain MRI and pathology showed frontal, temporal and caudate atrophy. A distinguishing feature of NIBD is the presence of intracytopasmic neuronal inclusions that stain strongly with antibodies to neurofilament proteins and ubiquitin, but not tau or Î±-synuclein. Once case of NIBD has also presented as an early onset rapidly progressive FTD with features of primary lateral sclerosis.
How Does Alzheimer’s Disease Progress
The rate of progression of the disease varies from person to person.
However, the disease does lead eventually to complete dependence and finally death, usually from another illness such as pneumonia. A person may live from three to twenty years with Alzheimer’s disease, with the average being seven to ten years.
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What Causes Alzheimer Disease
Lots of research is being done to find out more about the causes of Alzheimer disease. There is no one reason why people get it. Older people are more likely to get it, and the risk increases the older the person gets. In other words, an 85-year-old is more likely to get it than a 65-year-old. And women are more likely to get it than men.
Researchers also think genes handed down from family members can make a person more likely to get Alzheimer disease. But that doesn’t mean everyone related to someone who has it will get the disease. Other things may make it more likely that someone will get the disease, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, Down syndrome, or having a head injury.
On the positive side, researchers believe exercise, a healthy diet, and taking steps to keep your mind active may help delay the start of Alzheimer disease.
What Causes Younger Onset Dementia
Many different types of dementia can affect younger people. Each type has its own symptoms and is caused by a specific type of change in the brain. Some causes of early onset dementia are:
- Alzheimers disease
- problems with blood flow to the brain
- deterioration to the front part of the brain
- chronic overuse of alcohol over many years
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Isnt Dementia Part Of Normal Aging
No, many older adults live their entire lives without developing dementia. Normal aging may include weakening muscles and bones, stiffening of arteries and vessels, and some age-related memory changes that may show as:
- Occasionally misplacing car keys
- Struggling to find a word but remembering it later
- Forgetting the name of an acquaintance
- Forgetting the most recent events
Normally, knowledge and experiences built over years, old memories, and language would stay intact.
What Medications Are Available To Treat Dementia
Drugs approved for the most common form of dementia, Alzheimers disease, are discussed below. These drugs are also used to treat people with some of the other forms of dementia.
- cholinesterase inhibitors
- NMDA receptor antagonist memantine
These two classes of drugs affect different chemical processes in the brain. Both classes have been shown to provide some benefit in improving or stabilizing memory function in some patients. Although none of these drugs appear to stop the progression of the underlying disease, they may slow it down.
If other medical conditions are causing dementia or co-exist with dementia, the appropriate drugs used to treat those specific conditions are prescribed.
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Alternative And Complementary Therapies
Despite the growing number of herbal remedies, dietary supplements, and medical foods aimed at people with Alzheimers, there is no scientific proof that any of these products work.
For instance, some people with Alzheimers consume coconut oil based on the theory that the caprylic acid in the oil can provide energy to brain cells that are no longer able to metabolize glucose. But there has been no research confirming that this helps cognition, notes the Alzheimer’s Association.
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Around 60% Of People With Dementia Have Alzheimers Which Is Characterised By Abnormal Deposits Of Protein In The Brain Causing Brain Cells To Die
Vascular Dementia is the second most common cause, accounting for up to 20% of cases and a further 10% have a mix of Alzheimers and Vascular Dementia. Vascular Dementia is caused by blood supply problems in the brain which leads to small vessel disease and/or mini strokes.
Other types of dementia include Dementia with Lewy Bodies, Fronto-temporal Dementia, Posterior Cortical Atrophy, Primary Progressive Aphasia. There are many other dementias more than 100 different types.
Dementia mostly affects older people. Age is the biggest risk factor. 1 in 6 people over the age of 80 has dementia. However younger people can develop dementia too. In the UK, there are more than 42,000 people under the age of 65 years with dementia.
Dementia in younger people is often difficult to detect because dementia can mimic other conditions and people with early symptoms are investigated for other conditions first, for example, depression, menopause- related issues, bereavement. A significant number of younger people with dementia have more unusual dementias, which also makes assessment and diagnosis a lengthier process.
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Dementia Is Depressing But You Dont Have To Be Depressed
Dementia isnt a specific disease, but rather a general term to describe any decline in brain function that affects memory, language, and other cognitive abilities, and that is serious enough to interfere with daily life.
Alzheimers disease is the most common type of dementia, accounting for 60 to 80 percent of all dementia cases, per the Alzheimer’s Association.
What Is Alzheimers Disease
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Alzheimers disease is a brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and, eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. People with Alzheimers also experience changes in behavior and personality.
More than 6 million Americans, many of them age 65 and older, are estimated to have Alzheimers disease. Thats more individuals living with Alzheimers disease than the population of a large American city. Many more people experience Alzheimer’s in their lives as family members and friends of those with the disease.
The symptoms of Alzheimers disease changes in thinking, remembering, reasoning, and behavior are known as dementia. Thats why Alzheimers is sometimes referred to as dementia. Other diseases and conditions can also cause dementia, with Alzheimers being the most common cause of dementia in older adults.
Alzheimers disease is not a normal part of aging. Its the result of complex changes in the brain that start years before symptoms appear and lead to the loss of brain cells and their connections.
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Medicines For Memory Problems
- Cholinesterase inhibitors treat symptoms of mental decline in people who have mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. They include donepezil, galantamine, and rivastigmine. Donepezil can be used to help those who have severe Alzheimer’s disease.
- Memantine treats more severe symptoms of confusion and memory loss from Alzheimer’s disease.
Because these medicines work differently, they are sometimes used together .
These medicines may temporarily help improve memory and daily functioning in some people who have Alzheimer’s disease. The improvement varies from person to person. These medicines don’t prevent the disease from getting worse. But they may slow down symptoms of mental decline.
The main decision about using these usually isn’t whether to try a medicine but when to begin and stop treatment. Treatment can be started as soon as Alzheimer’s disease is diagnosed. If the medicines are effective, they are continued until the side effects outweigh the benefits or until the person no longer responds to the medicines.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Alzheimers
Memory problems are often one of the first signs of Alzheimers. Symptoms vary from person to person, and may include problems with:
- Word-finding, or having more trouble coming up with words than other people the same age.
- Vision and spatial issues, like awareness of the space around them.
- Impaired reasoning or judgment, which can impact decisions.
Other symptoms may be changes in the persons behavior, including:
- Taking longer to complete normal daily tasks.
- Repeating questions.
- Trouble handling money and paying bills.
- Wandering and getting lost.
- Losing things or misplacing them in odd places.
- Mood and personality changes.
- Increased anxiety and/or aggression.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Younger Onset Dementia
The symptoms of dementia are similar no matter what age they start. They include:
- memory loss that interferes with daily life
- withdrawing from friends and family
- losing the ability to think clearly or make judgements
- language problems
- changes to behaviour
Many conditions can produce symptoms that are similar to dementia, such as vitamin and hormone deficiencies, depression, medication, infections and brain tumours.
How To Cope With Your Physical Health
Alzheimers disease causes your health to deteriorate. These are some strategies that can help you cope physically:
- Get regular health check-ups: Seeing your healthcare provider regularly to evaluate the progression of your condition, discuss your symptoms, adjust your medication, and check for other health conditions can help ensure that youre getting the appropriate treatment.
- Get your flu shots: Alzheimers disease can make you more susceptible to pneumonia and the flu. Taking your flu shots regularly can help prevent you from falling ill.
- Take medication as prescribed: Taking your medication consistently and reporting any side effects to your healthcare provider can help you manage symptoms.
- Stay active: Marottoli recommends staying as socially engaged and physically and mentally active as possible.
- Follow a healthy lifestyle: Maintain a healthy lifestyle, exercise regularly, and follow a balanced, healthy diet such as the Mediterranean diet, says Marottoli.
- Take steps to prevent falls: Alzheimers disease can make you more prone to falling and injuring yourself. Clearing any clutter from the floor, avoiding loose clothing that can trip you up, wearing sturdy shoes, and leaving a light on at night can help prevent falls.
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What Is Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimers disease is the most common form of dementia, affecting up to 70% of all people with dementia. It was first recorded in 1907 by Dr Alois Alzheimer. Dr Alzheimer reported the case of Auguste Deter, a middle-aged woman with dementia and specific changes in her brain. For the next 60 years Alzheimers disease was considered a rare condition that affected people under the age of 65. It was not until the 1970s that Dr Robert Katzman declared that “senile dementia” and Alzheimers disease were the same condition and that neither were a normal part of aging.
Alzheimers disease can be either sporadic or familial.
Sporadic Alzheimer’s disease can affect adults at any age, but usually occurs after age 65 and is the most common form of Alzheimer’s disease.
Familial Alzheimers disease is a very rare genetic condition, caused by a mutation in one of several genes. The presence of mutated genes means that the person will eventually develop Alzheimer’s disease, usually in their 40’s or 50’s.
The Healthy Human Brain
Behind the ears and temples are the temporal lobes of the brain. These regions process speech and working memory, and also higher emotions such as empathy, morality and regret. Beneath the forebrain are the more primitive brain regions such as the limbic system. The limbic system is a structure that is common to all mammals and processes our desires and many emotions. Also in the limbic system is the hippocampus a region that is vital for forming new memories.
How Is Dementia Diagnosed
Confirming the diagnosis of dementia can be difficult due to the many diseases and conditions that cause it as well as because its symptoms are common to many other illnesses. However, doctors are able to make the diagnosis based on the results of personal medical history, review of current symptoms, neurological and cognitive tests, laboratory tests, imaging tests and by interacting with the patient.
Current general symptoms that would indicate dementia are, by definition, a decline in such mental functions as memory, thinking, reasoning, personality, mood or behavior that are severe enough to interfere with the ability to accomplish everyday tasks. Patients undergo mental function testing to identify problems in these areas. Interviews with family members and/or close friends who may have noticed changes in these areas are helpful as well.
Laboratory tests rule out other diseases and conditions as the cause of dementia, such as thyroid problems and vitamin B12 deficiency. Similarly, brain scans can look for signs of a stroke or tumor that may be the source of the dementia. A PET scan can determine if amyloid proteins are present in the brain, a marker for Alzheimers disease.
Oftentimes, neurologists and geriatricians assist in making the diagnosis.
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Study Shows Link Between Alzheimers And Heart Disease
Recently, researchers discovered that Alzheimers is caused by amyloid beta proteins building up in the spaces between brain cells. While this causes noticeable symptoms in the brain first, this same protein plaque can build up around the heart.
This was discovered in a study that examined 22 patients with Alzheimers and 35 patients without, all of whom were 78 or 79 years old. The goal was to analyze the stiffness present in the hearts left ventricle the thickest chamber of the heart responsible for transporting blood throughout the body.
During the study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, researchers discovered that those with Alzheimers had a thicker left ventricle than those without Alzheimers. This thickness was caused by the same plaque protein buildup that was building in the Alzheimers patients brains. The thickness can lead to various cardiovascular issues if and when the left ventricle becomes too thick to successfully pump blood through the body. As a result, this puts Alzheimers patients at a higher risk of heart attack and stroke.
Stage 7 Late Or Severe Dementia And Failure To Thrive
In this final stage, speech becomes severely limited, as well as the ability to walk or sit. Total support around the clock is needed for all functions of daily living and care.
Duration: impacted by quality of care, but average length is 1 to 2.5 years.
Caring for someone with Alzheimers
Caring for a loved one with Alzheimers disease can be a long, stressful, and intensely emotional journey. But it can be a rewarding, life-affirming experience as well.
The more you understand about the caregiving role, the better youll be able to prepare for future challenges and cope with the stress and emotional upheaval that comes with each new stage.
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Anxiety In The Adult Years: Anxiety Can Happen Any Age
Anxiety doesnt discriminate and anxiety can happen in the adult years. It can strike all human beings, and anxiety can happen at any age. Humans progress through distinct developmental stages as they grow, and each stage is marked by specific tasks and characteristics. Sometimes, things go wrong at one or more stages of development. When a stage isnt completed successfully, problems can occur . It is for this reason that anxiety can happen at any age — including in the adult years.
The previous article, Anxiety Can Happen at Any Age: Child and Teen Anxiety, examined how and why anxiety can develop even in babies all the way through the teen years . Now lets glimpse into adulthood. Anxiety can happen in any age, including the adult years. What are the developmental stages and tasks, and how do they contribute to anxiety?
Middle Childhood: Ages Five To 12
Once in elementary school, children spend less time with their families and more hours in the structured school environment . As they learn to behave in a group, conform to norms, and complete increasingly complex tasks, they have the potential to develop a strong sense of competence and industry, the desire and ability to take on and complete tasks.
If school-age children dont experience success with learning, peers, or adults, they risk developing a sense of inferiority, and with it, anxiety about performing and about social relationships, and more .
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Key Points About Early
Alzheimer disease commonly affects older people, but early-onset Alzheimer disease can affect people in their 30s or 40s.
It affects memory, thinking, and behavior.
Although there is no known cure, early diagnosis and treatment can lead to better quality of life.
Stay healthy with a good diet and regular exercise.
Avoid alcohol and other substances that may affect memory, thinking, and behavior.