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HomeHealthCan Dementia Come On Very Quickly

Can Dementia Come On Very Quickly

The Dementia That Can Be Cured

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When John Abraham began to lose his mind in late 2019, his family immediately feared the worst. Abraham had enjoyed robust health throughout retirement, but now at 80 he suddenly found himself struggling to finish sentences.

I would be talking to people, and all of a sudden the final word wouldnt come to mind, he remembers. I assumed this was simply a feature of ageing, and I was finding ways of getting around it.

But within weeks, further erratic behaviours started to develop. Abrahams family recall him often falling asleep mid-conversation, he would sometimes shout out bizarre comments in public, and during the night he would wake up every 15 minutes, sometimes hallucinating.

Patients can go from being in a nursing home, unable to communicate, to returning to work

To his son Steve, the diagnosis seemed inevitable, one which all families dread. I was convinced my dad had dementia, he says. What I couldnt believe was the speed at which it was all happening. It was like dementia on steroids.

A lot of patients over 60 are misdiagnosed, says Flanagan. Thats a concern because if you miss these cases, youre committing them to a presumed neurodegenerative course when they could respond to immunotherapy, and their symptoms resolve.

How Will The Provider Decide What Treatment Is Best

Other medical conditions usually cause delirium. Its important to treat those conditions to treat the delirium. The provider will review the persons:

  • Medical history.
  • Lab results.
  • Drug use, including over-the-counter drugs, illicit drugs and alcohol.

The person may not be able to answer questions about themselves. So providers may ask the persons family member or loved one:

  • Did the confusion begin suddenly or gradually?
  • How quickly did it progress?
  • What was the persons mental and physical state before this?
  • Is the person taking any drugs or dietary supplements?
  • Did the person stop or start any new medicines or drugs recently?

Choose The Proper Care

Due to the increased risk with dementia and infections, you may want to consider help in caring for your loved one with dementia. Many families want to give their loved one the best but simply cannot do it all on their own.

Dementia requires a watchful eye as it progresses, and the risk is great. Look into our dementia care for an approach that centers on your loved ones best interest.

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What Is The Life Expectancy For A Person With Dementia

The outlook for most types of dementia is poor unless the cause is an early recognized reversible condition. Irreversible or untreated dementia usually continues to worsen over time. The condition usually progresses over years until the person’s death. Life expectancy after diagnosis averages about 8-10 years with a range from about 3-20 years.

Making decisions about end-of-life care is important.

  • The earlier in the disease these issues are discussed, the more likely the person with dementia will be able to express his or her wishes about medical care at the end of life.
  • The issues may be presented by your health care professional. If not, ask about them.
  • These issues include use of aggressive interventions and hospital care, artificial feeding, and medical treatment for medical illnesses.
  • These issues should be discussed by family members and decisions made about how to deal with them when the time comes.
  • The decisions should be documented in the person’s medical records.

How Dementia Causes Death

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A person in the late stage of dementia is at risk for many medical complications, like a urinary tract infection and pneumonia . They’re at an even higher risk of certain conditions because they’re unable to move.

Trouble swallowing, eating, and drinking leads to weight loss, dehydration, and malnutrition. This further increases their risk of infection.

In the end, most people with late-stage dementia die of a medical complication related to their underlying dementia.

For example, a person may die from an infection like aspiration pneumonia. This type of pneumonia usually happens because of swallowing problems.

A person may also die from a blood clot in the lung because they are bedbound and not mobile.

It’s important to know that late-stage dementia is a terminal illness. This means that dementia itself can lead to death. Sometimes this is appropriately listed as the cause of death on a death certificate.

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Can Dementia Be Prevented Or Avoided

There is little you can do to prevent or avoid dementia. If you have a head injury or brain tumor, ask your doctor if there are lifestyle changes you can make. Youll want to take precautions to avoid additional head trauma or concussions. If youre at risk of stroke, talk to your doctor about possible preventions.

Currently, the American Academy of Family Physicians concludes that the current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of screening for cognitive impairment.

The Benefits Of An In

Finding the time to care for a loved one with dementia can be challenging, especially when you have other responsibilities like work and family. By working with an in-home care agency, you and your loved one can reap the benefits of having a trained and experienced caregiver available when you are not able to be there. One of the biggest advantages of acquiring in-home care is your loved ones ability to stay in the home. Remaining in a familiar environment often provides individuals with dementia with security and peace of mind.

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Caring For A Cat With Dementia

If your cat has been diagnosed with dementia, it will need particular care. Steps to take to make your cat more comfortable include:

  • Multiple litter trays in numerous locations
  • Reliable, unchanging routine
  • Assigned territory and quiet areas for resting
  • A healthy diet and exercise regime
  • Regular reassurance without making the cat feel it has something to fear

Most importantly, you will need boundless patience. The cat does not understand what it did wrong. You will just add further anxiety to a feline that is likely already distressed.

How Are Rpds Treated

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Treatment depends on the type of RPD that was diagnosed. For example, if the RPD is the result of cancer or a hormone imbalance, treatments that target these specific conditions may help treat the RPD. Unfortunately, for many causes of RPD, there is no cure available. For these cases, however, we can sometimes treat the symptoms, make patients more comfortable and improve their quality of life.

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Are Early Signs Of Dementia Obvious

Changes in a person in the early stages of dementia can be so gradual they can often be mistaken for normal ageing. Because dementia affects people in different ways, symptoms may not always be obvious. In fact, failure to recognise early signs often leads to people not being diagnosed for several years.

So what to look for? Perhaps someone you care for is struggling to remember what they did yesterday and forgets the names of friends or everyday objects. They may have difficulty following conversations or TV programmes, repeat things over and over, or have problems thinking or reasoning. They may feel angry, anxious or depressed about memory loss or feel confused even in a familiar environment.

The healthtalk website presents a range of carers experiences of identifying the early signs of dementia. One carer put it this way.

The first stage is not recognisable I think, or certainly wasnt recognisable as far as I was concerned initially . I was certainly not understanding… the fact that my wife was at the beginning of a serious problem, a serious mental health problem. Because I was with my wife continuously, I think I was less likely to recognise some of the changes that were taking place than people who saw her less regularly.

Symptoms Specific To Frontotemporal Dementia

Although Alzheimer’s disease is still the most common type of dementia in people under 65, a higher percentage of people in this age group may develop frontotemporal dementia than older people. Most cases are diagnosed in people aged 45-65.

Early symptoms of frontotemporal dementia may include:

  • personality changes reduced sensitivity to others’ feelings, making people seem cold and unfeeling
  • lack of social awareness making inappropriate jokes or showing a lack of tact, though some people may become very withdrawn and apathetic
  • language problems difficulty finding the right words or understanding them
  • becoming obsessive such as developing fads for unusual foods, overeating and drinking

Read more about frontotemporal dementia.

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Sudden Dementia In The Elderly Can Be Life Threatening

If an elderly loved one is mentally alert one day and confused or delirious the next it may not be Alzheimers Disease. Sudden signs of dementia is one obvious symptom of a considerable number of medical conditions that are potentially life threatening if untreated.

If you notice symptoms of delirium in a loved one develop suddenly, call their doctor immediately, or better yet get them to Urgent Care or the Emergency Room.

I recently went through this with my sharp as a tack mother. After breaking her hip and staying in a skilled nursing facility for several weeks she was severely confused and disoriented upon check out. She knew her name and birthday, but couldnt tell you the name of the street she lived on and was even struggling to come up with the right words and lost her train of thought mid-sentence. Absolutely nothing like her normal state.

At first I thought they may have given her the wrong medication at the skilled nursing facility, but after a call to her insurance company nurse line I took her to the Emergency Room in the middle of the night. They kept her for 6 days treating a urinary tract infection, hypercalcemia and lacunar strokes.

What Happens In Vascular Dementia

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Vascular dementia can cause different symptoms depending on where the blood vessels are damaged in the brain. For example, a person who had a stroke may have sudden problems with memory, balance, or speech. However, a person can have several strokes that may be unnoticeably small, but the damage can add up over time.

Many people with vascular dementia have trouble with memory. Others may have difficulty with organization and solving complex problems, slowed thinking, or being easily distracted. People with vascular dementia may also have changes in mood or behavior, such as irritability, loss of interest, or depression.

Sometimes, people with vascular dementia have trouble with balance and movement. This might include weakness on one side of the body, and the symptoms may get worse over time.

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Is Delirium The Same As Dementia

Delirium and dementia have some similarities, but they are not the same.

  • Delirium mostly affects a persons attention. Dementia affects memory.
  • Delirium is a temporary state that begins suddenly. Dementia is chronic confusion that usually begins gradually and worsens over time.

However, someone can have both delirium and dementia. Seek care quickly if a person, especially one with dementia, begins to show symptoms of delirium.

The Link Between Uti And Dementia In Older Adults

Your elderly loved one with dementia may suddenly start displaying more severe behavioral symptoms of this disease and you may wonder why. There could be a simple reason behind it all. They could have a urinary tract infection, or UTI. This is a very common phenomenon in elderly dementia patients. Even if your loved one hasnt officially been diagnosed with dementia, you may notice that dementia-like symptoms, such as confusion, come on fairly quickly. Often, this can be traced to the development of a UTI. Whether your loved one is being cared for in a nursing home, in home care, or in hospice, you may wonder why this link exists. Lets explain why.

According to, if a senior patient already has dementia, a urinary tract infection may cause behavior changes instead of the physical symptoms that may plague a younger person. Whereas most otherwise healthy people display physical symptoms like burning when urinating, elderly patients may not complain of such pain. However, they may start to behave erratically, which is usually what tips off health care providers. If not detected early, infection can lead to serious health problems.

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Detecting Dementia And Infections

There is a major interplay between dementia and infections, and it can go in a couple of different directions.

A bad infection in an elderly person may not cause the typical symptoms that younger people often experience. In fact, it can create more mental symptoms than physical, mimicking dementia.

Recognizing the signs of an infection in an elderly person can point to a different illness causing their dementia symptoms. In this case, a heavy duty course of antibiotics may reverse their symptoms completely and restore their full mental function.

Knowing the signs of dementia, you can also see how a person faces a risk for contracting secondary infections. Dementia can cause infection in different ways.

A person with dementia may not even remember falling, leaving them unknowingly injured. Falls can lead to broken bones. Broken bones left alone can sometimes lead to infection.

Their cognitive state also puts them at risk for unknowingly developing more typical infections, such as pneumonia or urinary tract infections. As their mental state declines, they may find it more difficult to recognize changes in themselves.

This means that easy to treat illnesses may progress into something more serious before anybody detects them. This can threaten a persons life.

If you care for somebody who suffers from dementia, you should regularly watch them for signs of infection. These include:



Appetite Changes



What Happens In Rapidly Progressive Dementia

When someone with dementia acts fine around others

The presentation and progress of RPD will vary between individuals. People affected will usually develop problems with their memory, thought processes and communication. Many people also have personality or behavioural changes and mood disturbance. Movement changes can also occur as a result of the brain cell injury.

Some forms of RPD are treatable and, if diagnosis is made quickly, early symptoms may be reversed. Regrettably, for other causes of the condition, there are no available cures. There is an inevitable increase in symptoms and decline in function. Sadly, within months or years, the rapidly progressing dementia will cause failure of all body systems and death.

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Are There Medicines To Treat Vascular Dementia

Though there is no cure for vascular dementia yet, there are medications that can help manage the symptoms. Sometimes medications used to treat memory problems in Alzheimers disease may be helpful for vascular dementia. Sometimes, people with vascular dementia can have mood changes, such as depression or irritability. These can be managed by medications like the ones used for depression or anxiety.

How Is An Rpd Diagnosed

RPD can be difficult to diagnose, so it is often necessary to see a doctor who specializes in these conditions. The doctor might ask about the patients progression of symptoms, any similar illnesses in biological relatives or any recent possible exposures . The doctor may request some laboratory testing, such as blood, urine and cerebrospinal fluid brain imaging and/or an electroencephalogram . The information gathered by the physician and tests might help to determine the cause of disease.

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What You Can Do For Your Loved One

As an individual with dementia declines, you can help them by providing a loving and supportive presence. Sit with them. Hold their hand. Play music they enjoy.

One of the greatest gifts you can give your loved one is helping to get their affairs in order. Ensure that financial and healthcare powers of attorney are put in place, so you can make decisions when your loved one is no longer able. Look into funeral arrangements before you need them, so you dont need to make important decisions in a time of crisis.

Talk to your loved ones physician about the possibility of palliative care support in the home and hospice care when your loved one is ready.

How Can You Help Your Loved One With Alzheimer’s Disease


If you are or will be taking care of a loved one with Alzheimer’s, start learning what you can expect. This can help you make the most of the person’s abilities as they change. And it can help you deal with new problems as they arise.

Work with your loved one to make decisions about the future before the disease gets worse. It’s important to write a living will and a durable power of attorney.

Your loved one will need more and more care as the disease gets worse. You may be able to give this care at home. Or you may want to think about using assisted living or a nursing home.

Ask your doctor about local resources such as support groups or other groups that can help as you care for your loved one. You can also search the Internet for online support groups. Help is available.

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Stage : Mild Dementia

At this stage, individuals may start to become socially withdrawn and show changes in personality and mood. Denial of symptoms as a defense mechanism is commonly seen in stage 4. Behaviors to look for include:

  • Difficulty remembering things about one’s personal history
  • Disorientation
  • Difficulty recognizing faces and people

In stage 4 dementia, individuals have no trouble recognizing familiar faces or traveling to familiar locations. However, patients in this stage will often avoid challenging situations in order to hide symptoms or prevent stress or anxiety.


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