Who Is This Dementia Quiz For
Below is a list of 10 questions designed for people who are concerned about memory loss. The questions relate to life experiences common among people who have been diagnosed with dementia, a neurocognitive disorder, and are based on criteria in the DSM-5 .
Please read each question carefully, and indicate how often you have experienced the same or similar challenges in the past few months.
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
The Start And Progression Of Alcoholic Dementia
Dementia caused by alcoholism can appear to people of all ages, and it usually starts as a result of abusing alcohol regularly for many years. Alcohol addicts develop the Wernickes encephalopathy first, and then this causes the Korsakoff syndrome. Ultimately, the serious memory problems caused by Korsakoff syndrome will lead to alcoholic dementia. The process takes time to develop, but it can be an incurable disease. The Wernickes encephalopathy appears because heavy drinkers lose thiamine from the body as a result of frequent and long binge drinking episodes. Most alcohol addicts do not replenish this vital substance , and as a result, alcoholic dementia can appear.
What Conditions Can Be Mistaken For Dementia
The term dementia refers to a specific group of symptoms related to a decline in mental ability. Often, people who experience subtle short-term memory changes, are easily confused, or exhibit different behaviors or personality traits are mistakenly thought to have dementia. These symptoms could be the result of a variety of other conditions or disorders, including other neurocognitive disorders such as Parkinsons disease, brain growths or tumors, mild cognitive impairment , and mood disorders, like depression.
Years Of Research In Illness
Many atypical dementias have been identified and characterized only in the past 40 years.
In the late 1970s, Marek-Marsel Mesulam had just finished a neurology residency at Boston City Hospital and was asked by his mentor, Norman Geschwind, to follow him to Beth Israel Hospital to start a behavioral neurology unit. They had a shared interest in aphasia patients who are no longer talking or are limited in what they say.
One of the patients was a woman who explained that she was having syntax errors and no articles. They began collecting other patients with unusual language problems, or aphasia, with no evidence of stroke. Their first six patients were described in a paper published in 1982. That puzzle was the beginning for Mesulam, now at Northwestern University in Chicago and the director of the Mesulam Center for Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimers Disease.
He is considered the father of language dementias. There are many forms and they fall under an umbrella term called primary progressive aphasia.
I came up with this name because the language problems were the primary cause of the changes in patients daily activities, said Mesulam, who in 1991 described the neural network for these language differences.
Also during the 1980s, the late D. Frank Benson, a neurologist at UCLA, identified unusual visual and spatial symptoms in a handful of his patients.
Like all of these neurodegenerative conditions, it is progressive.
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Attention And Language Impairment
While memory challenges can be involved in early onset Alzheimers, signs that something could be wrong can be much broader. In fact, experts note that memory loss, which is closely associated with Alzheimers, may actually be less prominent in people with early onset Alzheimers.
Instead, people with early onset Alzheimers often complain about difficulties finding words in conversation. They can experience problems with attention and orientation, as well as with simple math.
In the aggregate, patients with early-onset Alzheimers Disease, compared to similarly impaired patients with late-onset Alzheimers Disease, have better memory recognition scores and semantic memory but worse attention, language, executive functions, ideomotor praxis, and visuospatial skills, a research paper by Dr. Mario Mendez noted.
What Is Dementia And What Causes It
Dementia is a syndrome that causes a person to develop difficulty and problems with their memory or their ability to think. Unlike the normal changes that happen in a persons memory and thinking over time, dementia affects someones ability to function in their daily life activities and their normal routine .There are different causes of dementia. These causes are typically underlying neurological conditions . One common cause of dementia is Alzheimers disease. Other causes include diseases that impact brain blood vessels. For example, strokes may cause what is commonly termed Vascular Dementia. Some causes include Lewy Body Disease and Parkinsons disease.
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Do Create A Calm Environment
Think about all of the different stimuli in your home. Is there a TV on? How many objects give audio alerts ? While it can be soothing to have one source of entertainment on, overlapping noise and alerts can pull us out of the moment and distract us causing confusion and frustration.
Make sure that the home environment is visually and audibly quiet and at a comfortable temperature. Remove visually confusing clutter and fabric patterns. The calmer the sensory input, the more you can reduce confusion and frustration.
Conditions With Symptoms Similar To Dementia
Remember that many conditions have symptoms similar to dementia, so it is important not to assume that someone has dementia just because some of the above symptoms are present. Strokes, depression, excessive long-term alcohol consumption, infections, hormonal disorders, nutritional deficiencies and brain tumours can all cause dementia-like symptoms. Many of these conditions can be treated.
Stage : Moderate Dementia
Patients in stage 5 need some assistance in order to carry out their daily lives. The main sign for stage 5 dementia is the inability to remember major details such as the name of a close family member or a home address. Patients may become disoriented about the time and place, have trouble making decisions, and forget basic information about themselves, such as a telephone number or address.
While moderate dementia can interfere with basic functioning, patients at this stage do not need assistance with basic functions such as using the bathroom or eating. Patients also still have the ability to remember their own names and generally the names of spouses and children.
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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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.
Difficulty Completing Normal Tasks
A subtle shift in the ability to complete normal tasks may indicate that someone has early dementia. This usually starts with difficulty doing more complex tasks like balancing a checkbook or playing games that have a lot of rules.
Along with the struggle to complete familiar tasks, they may struggle to learn how to do new things or follow new routines.
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Forgetfulness And Memory Loss
While forgetting where you placed your car keys may commonly occur with anyone at any age, and perhaps a bit more as you age, persistent forgetfulness or lapses in memory is typically a sign that something is wrong. For people with early onset Alzheimers, they may begin noticing abnormal and chronic lapses in memory as early as their 30s or 40s.
If youre missing where you are and how you got there, struggling to find the right words when conversing or consistently forgetting what your partner asked you to do, yet you feel as if youre too young to be experiencing these things, you may be developing some signs of early memory decline.
Annual Report To Parliament On Canada’s Dementia Strategy
Each year the federal Minister of Health prepares a report to Parliament on the national dementia strategy.
The 2020 Report to Parliament shares a Canada-wide overview of some of the many dementia-related efforts underway across the country. This report highlights how many different organizations, including the federal government, are supporting the strategy’s national objectives and reflects the variety of those efforts.
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Dementia With Lewy Bodies
Dementia with Lewy bodies is caused by the build-up of tiny protein deposits in the brain. DLB is less common in younger people with dementia than in older people. Lewy bodies also cause Parkinsons disease and about one-third of people with Parkinsons eventually develop dementia.Symptoms of dementia with Lewy bodies can include hallucinations and varying levels of alertness. People can also develop the features of Parkinsons disease .
What is dementia with Lewy bodies?
Find out more about dementia with Lewy bodies, diagnosis and how to treat it.
The Case For Obtaining A Diagnosis
Research suggests that the average life expectancy for a person when diagnosed with dementia is between four and eight years. Given this, and the potential for misunderstanding and stress caused by the early signs of dementia particularly within a family and with colleagues at work it is important that a person is assessed and given a diagnosis as early as possible.
In England and Wales ideally this process takes place in a memory clinic with specialist medical staff and health professionals who are trained to diagnose dementia and treat and support those affected. The 2009 National Dementia Strategy for England has emphasised the importance of memory clinics as a key way of ensuring early diagnosis, and so the number and quality of these services are likely to increase in the coming years.
Individuals and family members may feel a sense of relief when they learn the diagnosis. For many people, it can help to know whats wrong so they are better placed to plan for the future.
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Signs Of Early Onset Dementia
It is important to recognize the signs of early-onset dementia. Even though we dont have a cure or treatment for dementia, having a diagnosis can help families plan for the future and address quality of life issues. These are some of the signs of the mental decline associated with early-onset dementia.
- Memory problems and difficulty learning and retaining new information
- Asking the same information over and over again
- Trouble solving problems like keeping up with paying bills, cooking, or following directions
- Losing track of the day or time of year
- Trouble with depth perception or other visual problems
- Getting lost or wandering
Common Early Symptoms Of Dementia
Different types of dementia can affect people differently, and everyone will experience symptoms in their own way.
However, there are some common early symptoms that may appear some time before a diagnosis of dementia. These include:
- memory loss
- difficulty concentrating
- finding it hard to carry out familiar daily tasks, such as getting confused over the correct change when shopping
- struggling to follow a conversation or find the right word
- being confused about time and place
- mood changes
These symptoms are often mild and may get worse only very gradually. It’s often termed “mild cognitive impairment” as the symptoms are not severe enough to be diagnosed as dementia.
You might not notice these symptoms if you have them, and family and friends may not notice or take them seriously for some time. In some people, these symptoms will remain the same and not worsen. But some people with MCI will go on to develop dementia.
Dementia is not a natural part of ageing. This is why it’s important to talk to a GP sooner rather than later if you’re worried about memory problems or other symptoms.
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The Truth About Dementia Tests
Certain tests for dementia don’t offer much diagnostic value in general, including genetic tests for Alzheimer’s. The only gene tests that can accurately determine whether you’ll get Alzheimer’s disease are for the autosomal dominant form, also known as familial early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. It is very rare, accounting for less than 5% of total cases, and it typically starts before middle age.
A blood test for the Alzheimer’s risk gene, APO-e4, also exists. However, the use of APO-e4 as a screening measure is controversial because it can’t determine for sure whether you will develop the disease.
Also of questionable merit are the do-it-yourself, at-home tests for dementia that are marketed directly to consumers. The Alzheimer’s Association doesn’t recommend these tests, because they don’t provide an adequate assessment of your risks. Distinguishing between normal, age-related memory changes and early signs of a more worrisome condition can be difficult. If you’re going to be evaluated for dementia, you want a neuropsychologist, neurologist, geriatrician, or geriatric psychiatrist to do the testing and help you understand the results.
Where To Find Help
When your loved one is displaying troubling symptoms, a trip to a primary care physician is often the first step. But to get a definitive diagnosis, youll need to see a specialist such as a neurologist, geriatrician or geriatric psychiatrist.
If you cant find one, the National Institute on Aging recommends contacting the neurology department of a nearby medical school. Some hospitals also have clinics that focus on dementia.
Ailments can mimic dementia
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What Are The Symptoms Of Frontotemporal Dementia
Symptoms of FTD start gradually and progress steadily, and in some cases, rapidly. They vary from person to person, depending on the areas of the brain involved. These are common symptoms:
- Behavior and/or dramatic personality changes, such as swearing, stealing, increased interest in sex, or a deterioration in personal hygiene habits
- Socially inappropriate, impulsive, or repetitive behaviors
- Impaired judgment
- Increasing dependence
Some people have physical symptoms, such as tremors, muscle spasms or weakness, rigidity, poor coordination and/or balance, or difficulty swallowing. Psychiatric symptoms, such as hallucinations or delusions, also may occur, although these are not as common as behavioral and language changes.
Rarer Types Of Dementia
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, but there are many rarer diseases and conditions that can lead to dementia, dementia-like symptoms or mild cognitive impairment.
Most people who are living with dementia have Alzheimers disease or vascular dementia. However, many other diseases and conditions can also cause dementia. These pages explain some of these rarer types.In the UK, about 1 in 20 people living with dementia have a rarer type. Alzheimers Society provides support and information for anyone affected by dementia. These pages include information about how to get in touch with specialist organisations that specifically help people with rarer causes of dementia:
- Atypical Alzheimers disease Frontal variant Alzheimers disease Posterior cortical atrophy
- Normal pressure hydrocephalus
- Progressive supranuclear palsy
Dementia Connect support line
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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
- 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.
How Does A Doctor Test For Dementia
There is no single diagnostic test for Alzheimers disease and other causes of dementia. Dementias are diagnosed by evaluating and understanding a persons memory and thinking patterns. Doctors will consider a persons memory, grasp of language, mood states, problem-solving skills, ability to maintain focus and perform complex tasks. Evaluation may include in-office cognitive screening , physical examination, and review of labs. Labwork helps to determine whether there are vitamin deficiencies or hormonal changes at play. In some cases, evaluation may require neuropsychological testing, brain imaging , and genetic testing.
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Can Alcohol Intoxication Cause Dementia
Alcohol dementia can appear to people of all ages, regardless of gender, height or body type. It can result from consuming alcoholic beverages in great quantities, including beer, wine, liquor, spirits, and more. Drinking small amounts of alcohol doesnt lead to this dangerous medical condition, so having a few drinks per week is considered to be safe.
Alcohol-induced dementia can be acquired if one gets intoxicated with alcohol regularly. This type of intoxication depletes the nutrients in the body, causes brain damage and seriously affects the function of major organs such as liver, kidneys, pancreas, and more. Each persons body can handle alcohol intoxication differently, but ultimately too much alcohol can lead to serious health conditions.
Withdrawing From Work And Social Life
People with early onset Alzheimers, who were once industrious and focused at their challenging jobs, may begin noticing a drop in concentration, motivation or productivity thats out of character for them. They may also find themselves isolating from family, friends, coworkers or hobbies that they used to previously enjoy.
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