Diagnosis Of Dementia Due To Alzheimer’s Disease
- Obtaining a medical and family history from the individual, including psychiatric history and history of cognitive and behavioral changes.
- Asking a family member to provide input about changes in thinking skills and behavior.
- Conducting problem-solving, memory and other cognitive tests, as well as physical and neurologic examinations.
- Having the individual undergo blood tests and brain imaging to rule out other potential causes of dementia symptoms, such as a tumor or certain vitamin deficiencies.
- In some circumstances, using PET imaging of the brain to find out if the individual has high levels of beta-amyloid, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s normal levels would suggest Alzheimer’s is not the cause of dementia.
- In some circumstances, using lumbar puncture to determine the levels of beta-amyloid and certain types of tau in CSF normal levels would suggest Alzheimer’s is not the cause of dementia.
You Can’t Remember That Restaurant’s Name
If you constantly forget what you had for breakfast, or can’t recall the name of that restaurant you just went to, consider it a red flag. “The most common sign is memory problems that interfere with your daily life,” Dr. Fillit says. “You may have trouble remembering familiar names or places on a regular basis.”
It may not seem like a big deal. But if you find yourself struggling to remember details like these, or if this has become a frustrating problem, point it out to a doctor so they can monitor the situation.
Alzheimer’s Risk Factors May Be Measurable In Adolescents And Young Adults
- Risk factors for Alzheimer’s dementia may be apparent as early as our teens and 20s.
Risk factors for Alzheimer’s dementia may be apparent as early as our teens and 20s, according to new research reported at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference® 2020.
These risk factors, many of which are disproportionately apparent in African Americans, include heart health factors — such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes — and social factors like education quality. According to the Alzheimer’s Association Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report, older African Americans are about twice as likely to have Alzheimer’s or other dementias as older whites.
“By identifying, verifying, and acting to counter those Alzheimer’s risk factors that we can change, we may reduce new cases and eventually the total number of people with Alzheimer’s and other dementia,” said Maria C. Carrillo, Ph.D., Alzheimer’s Association chief science officer. “Research like this is important in addressing health inequities and providing resources that could make a positive impact on a person’s life.”
“These new reports from AAIC 2020 show that it’s never too early, or too late, to take action to protect your memory and thinking abilities,” Carrillo said.
African American Youth At Higher Risk of Dementia
Early Adult BMI Associated With Late Life Dementia Risk
They found no association between midlife BMI and dementia risk among women.
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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.
Signs Of Alzheimer’s Disease Can Start In Your 20s
Most people under the age of 40 do not pay too much attention to their Alzheimers risk because it is a disease commonly associated with the older generations. However, newest research has found that amyloid protein, the maker of Alzheimers disease, has been found in individuals in their twenties. This new research is considered worrisome because it could be a sign that what causes Alzheimers later in life is actually started in the younger years.
What does this new research mean for you? It means that you should live a healthier lifestyle no matter how old you are. It is never too early to live a healthy life that can prevent Alzheimers. Here are a few ways to start protecting your brain today.
Get Serious About Your Bad Habits
Alzheimers disease can be enhanced by many poor health issues, including diabetes, heart disease, pulmonary function, and obesity. This means you need to kick bad habits that are known to lead to these health issues. Some bad habits you should get serious about today are overeating, heavy drinking, smoking, and skipping exercise.
Get a Clean Diet
Ditch the processed foods and eat a clean diet. Add more brain-boosting foods to your diet to lower your Alzheimers risk. The Mediterranean diet, which is a diet rich in nuts, whole grains, fruit, and vegetables, has been connected to better cognitive function. Blueberries and healthy fats, like coconut oil and raw olive oil, are both linked to lower Alzheimers risk too.
Sweat It Out
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How Many People Develop Dementia In Their 30s
If you watched The Truth About Dementia last night on BBC1, youll have seen an interview with Chris Graham, told at the age of 35 that he was going to develop Alzheimers. We blogged about Chris in March last year, when he set off around America on his bike to raise funds for Alzheimers Research UK. But his story raises many questions about who develops Alzheimers and why.
Chris brother is in the later stages of the disease at 43 and his father, aunt and cousin all died from Alzheimers before the age of 45. This is an example of a family affected by a rare genetic form of the disease, which can devastate generations of the same blood line. In this blog, well explore how common these genetic forms are and what role our genes play in non-genetic forms of Alzheimers.
Dementia In Younger People
People whose symptoms started when they were under the age of 65 are often known as younger people with dementia or as having young-onset dementia. This is not for a biological reason, but is based on the fact that 65 was the usual age of retirement for many people.People sometimes use the terms early-onset dementia or working-age dementia. This information uses the term young-onset dementia.
Dementia is caused by a wide range of different diseases. This is similar for younger and older people , but there are important differences in how dementia affects younger people. These include the following:
- A wider range of diseases cause young-onset dementia.
- A younger person is much more likely to have a rarer form of dementia.
- Younger people with dementia are less likely to have memory loss as one of their first symptoms.
- Young-onset dementia is more likely to cause problems with movement, walking, co-ordination or balance.
- Young-onset dementia is more likely to be inherited this affects up to 10% of younger people with dementia.
- Many younger people with dementia dont have any other serious or long-term health conditions.
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Pillar #: Healthy Diet
In Alzheimers disease, inflammation and insulin resistance injure neurons and inhibit communication between brain cells. Alzheimers is sometimes described as diabetes of the brain, and a growing body of research suggests a strong link between metabolic disorders and the signal processing systems. By adjusting your eating habits, however, you can help reduce inflammation and protect your brain.
Manage your weight. Extra pounds are a risk factor for Alzheimers disease and other types of dementia. A major study found that people who were overweight in midlife were twice as likely to develop Alzheimers down the line, and those who were obese had three times the risk. Losing weight can go a long way to protecting your brain.
Cut down on sugar.Sugary foods and refined carbs such as white flour, white rice, and pasta can lead to dramatic spikes in blood sugar which inflame your brain. Watch out for hidden sugar in all kinds of packaged foods from cereals and bread to pasta sauce and low or no-fat products.
Enjoy a Mediterranean diet. Several epidemiological studies show that eating a Mediterranean diet dramatically reduces the risk of decline from cognitive impairment and Alzheimers disease. That means plenty of vegetables, beans, whole grains, fish and olive oiland limited processed food.
Preparing For Early Onset Ad
Receiving an early onset AD diagnosis can be worrying. Now is the time to put together a plan so that you have peace of mind for the future when symptoms appear or intensify.
Try creating a plan together with your family, friends, and medical team. It can also be beneficial to meet with a financial planner and a lawyer.
Here are some key things to consider:
- Education. You may find it helpful to learn more about AD and how it progresses. Talk with your doctor and learn about what your care plan could look like in the future.
- Health insurance. Find out which medications and treatments are covered by your plan.
- Future care costs. What will your medical and care expenses be? This may include professional home care of safety equipment for the home.
- Disability insurance. What is covered by your employer? What documentation is needed?
- Loss of income. Will you be able to keep working? If so, for how long? Will someone in your family need to stop working in order to become a caregiver?
- Power of attorney. Who will have the authority to make health, financial, and legal decisions for you when you cant any more?
- Support. Try finding a support group specifically for people with early onset AD and their caregivers. Their life situations are likely to be more similar to yours.
Its important to have a detailed, realistic plan for your future care. This will allow you to be more confident as you navigate through the stages of AD.
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Pillar #: Social Engagement
Human beings are highly social creatures. We dont thrive in isolation, and neither do our brains. Staying socially engaged may even protect against symptoms of Alzheimers disease and dementia in later life, so make developing and maintaining a strong network of friends a priority.
You dont need to be a social butterfly or the life of the party, but you do need to regularly connect face-to-face with someone who cares about you and makes you feel heard. While many of us become more isolated as we get older, its never too late to meet others and develop new friendships:
- Join a club or social group.
- Visit your local community center or senior center.
- Take group classes .
- Get to know your neighbors.
- Make a weekly date with friends.
- Get out .
You Struggle To Recall What You Just Read
Most dementia symptoms will have an affect on your memory, in some way, shape, or form. So it makes sense it can impact your ability to read â and remember what you just read â as well.
As Zerling says, many people with early-onset dementia find that they need to start taking notes while they’re reading, in order to remember what’s going on in the story.
Taking notes, of course, can be a good way to keep track or information, especially if you’re studying. And thus it isn’t a surefire sign of dementia. But if your note-taking is due to a newly developed memory problem, it may a symptom worth looking into.
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How Is Alzheimers Disease Diagnosed
Talk to a doctor if you or a loved one is finding it increasingly difficult to perform day-to-day tasks, or if you or a loved one is experiencing increased memory loss. They may refer you to a doctor who specializes in AD.
Theyll conduct a medical exam and a neurological exam to aid in the diagnosis. They may also choose to complete an imaging test of your brain. They can only make a diagnosis after the medical evaluation is completed.
Theres no cure for AD at this time. The symptoms of AD can sometimes be treated with medications meant to help improve memory loss or decrease sleeping difficulties.
Research is still being done on possible alternative treatments.
Scales For Rating Dementia
Rather than simply using early stage,middle-stage, and late-stage dementia as descriptors, there are scales that provide a more comprehensive description. These scales help better understand the different stages of Alzheimers disease based on how well a person thinks and functions . These scales are the Global Deterioration Scale for Assessment of Primary Degenerative Dementia, the Functional Assessment Staging Test, and the Clinical Dementia Rating.
Did You Know?
Global Deterioration Scale / Reisberg Scale
The most commonly used scale is often referred to simply as GDS, or by its more formal name, the Reisberg Scale . The GDS divides into seven stages based on the amount of cognitive decline. This test is most relevant for people who have Alzheimers disease because some other types of dementia do not always include memory loss.
Someone in stages 1-3 does not typically exhibit enough symptoms for a dementia diagnosis. By the time a diagnosis has been made, a dementia patient is typically in stage 4 or beyond. Stage 4 is considered early dementia, stages 5 and 6 are considered middle dementia, and stage 7 is considered late dementia.
|Global Deterioration Scale / Reisberg Scale|
Clinical Dementia Rating
|Clinical Dementia Rating Scale|
|Average duration is 1 year to 2.5 years.|
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Taking Longer To Complete Basic Tasks
As most people get older, they tend to slow down a little bit, both physically and mentally. However, if you’re losing the ability to follow plans and having trouble concentrating, meaning things take considerably longer than they used to, that could be an indication an Alzheimer’s diagnosis isn’t far off.
Problem Solving Or Planning Difficulties
The person may find that they have difficulty following directions, solving problems, and focusing. For example, they may find it difficult to:
- follow a recipe
- follow directions on a product
- keeping track of monthly bills or expenses
Some people often have problems like these, but if they start to happen when they did not happen before, it could indicate early onset Alzheimers disease.
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Treatment Of Alzheimer’s Dementia
2.5.1 Pharmacologic treatment
None of the pharmacologic treatments available today for Alzheimer’s dementia slow or stop the damage and destruction of neurons that cause Alzheimer’s symptoms and make the disease fatal. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved five drugs for the treatment of Alzheimer’s â rivastigmine, galantamine, donepezil, memantine, and memantine combined with donepezil. With the exception of memantine, these drugs temporarily improve cognitive symptoms by increasing the amount of chemicals called neurotransmitters in the brain. Memantine blocks certain receptors in the brain from excess stimulation that can damage nerve cells. The effectiveness of these drugs varies from person to person and is limited in duration.
Many factors contribute to the difficulty of developing effective treatments for Alzheimer’s. These factors include the slow pace of recruiting sufficient numbers of participants and sufficiently diverse participants to clinical studies, gaps in knowledge about the precise molecular changes and biological processes in the brain that cause Alzheimer’s disease, and the relatively long time needed to observe whether an investigational treatment affects disease progression.
2.5.2 Non-pharmacologic therapy
Why Knowing Life Expectancy Is Useful
Knowing what to expect, including life expectancy helps with planning. Someone predicted to survive for five or six years, as opposed to two years, will want to make more extensive plans, including getting an estate in order, activity planning, and budget. Knowing how quickly the disease is expected to progress symptomatically can impact care decisions. If the disease is predicted to come on very quickly, for example, then skipping traditional assisted living and looking into memory care or a nursing home might be the best option.
Knowing when full-time care becomes a requirement, either at-home or in a memory care residence, is especially useful given the high cost of care. It is estimated that 50% of nursing home residents have some level of dementia and over 60% of nursing home residents care is paid for by Medicaid. Medicaid eligibility is complicated, and families can spend up to 5 years waiting for a loved one with dementia to become Medicaid-eligible. Therefore, knowing how soon care is required can make a huge financial difference.
Contribute anonymously to our dementia life expectancy database. Start here.
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Stage : Normal Outward Behavior
Alzheimerâs disease usually starts silently, with brain changes that begin years before anyone notices a problem. When your loved one is in this early phase, they won’t have any symptoms that you can spot. Only a PET scan, an imaging test that shows how the brain is working, can reveal whether they have Alzheimer’s.
As they move into the next six stages, your friend or relative with Alzheimer’s will see more and more changes in their thinking and reasoning.
What Is The Burden Of Alzheimers Disease In The United States
- Alzheimers disease is one of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States.2
- The 6th leading cause of death among US adults.
- The 5th leading cause of death among adults aged 65 years or older.3
In 2020, an estimated 5.8 million Americans aged 65 years or older had Alzheimers disease.1 This number is projected to nearly triple to 14 million people by 2060.1
In 2010, the costs of treating Alzheimers disease were projected to fall between $159 and $215 billion.4 By 2040, these costs are projected to jump to between $379 and more than $500 billion annually.4
Death rates for Alzheimers disease are increasing, unlike heart disease and cancer death rates that are on the decline.5 Dementia, including Alzheimers disease, has been shown to be under-reported in death certificates and therefore the proportion of older people who die from Alzheimers may be considerably higher.6
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