Wednesday, June 15, 2022
HomeCan You Have Alzheimer's Without Dementia

Can You Have Alzheimer’s Without Dementia

What Are The Treatments For Dementia

Gravitas: Can long COVID be linked to dementia?

There is no cure for most types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease and Lewy body dementia. Treatments may help to maintain mental function longer, manage behavioral symptoms, and slow down the symptoms of disease. They may include:

  • Medicines may temporarily improve memory and thinking or slow down their decline. They only work in some people. Other medicines can treat symptoms such as anxiety, depression, sleep problems, and muscle stiffness. Some of these medicines can cause strong side effects in people with dementia. It is important to talk to your health care provider about which medicines will be safe for you.
  • Occupational therapy to help find ways to more easily do everyday activities
  • Speech therapy to help with swallowing difficulties and trouble speaking loudly and clearly
  • Mental health counseling to help people with dementia and their families learn how to manage difficult emotions and behaviors. It can also help them plan for the future.
  • Music or art therapy to reduce anxiety and improve well-being

Why Early Detection Can Be Difficult

Alzheimers disease usually is not diagnosed in the early stages, even in people who visit their primary care doctors with memory complaints.

  • People and their families generally underreport the symptoms.
  • They may confuse them with normal signs of aging.
  • The symptoms may emerge so gradually that the person affected doesnt recognize them.
  • The person may be aware of some symptoms but go to great lengths to conceal them.

Recognizing symptoms early is crucial because medication to control symptoms is most effective in the early stages of the disease and early diagnosis allows the individual and his or her family members to plan for the future. If you or a loved one is experiencing any of the following symptoms, contact a physician.

Why Dementia Symptoms Fluctuate

The common perception that symptoms come and go is an important area worthy of additional study. From what we know now, here are five considerations when thinking about why your loved one might experience increasing and decreasing signs of dementia.

  • Your loved one is in the early stages of dementia. The onset of dementia is confusing and frightening for patients and family alike. In early-stage dementia, memory problems and confusion come and go and may be accompanied by periods of completely normal behavior. As one writer puts it, One day the person may be calm, affectionate and functioning well, the next, forgetful, agitated, vague and withdrawn.
  • Co-existing medical conditions. Its very common for those who suffer from dementia to have other diseases that may worsen symptoms. For example, when an Alzheimers patient is also depressed, it may be that a deepening depression is to blame for emotional problems. Sometimes, treating the other condition will appear to improve Alzheimers. This is why its important for loved ones as well as the medical support team to not make any assumptions as to why the patient seems better or worse.
  • Maybe its not Alzheimers. There usually arent major changes in cognitive function from day to day for Alzheimers patients. On the other hand, its common with another form of dementia called Lewy body dementia. This under-recognized and under-diagnosed dementia can result in an apparent improvement in symptoms.
  • Also Check: Karen Vieth Edgar Knight

    What Are The Benefits Of An Early Alzheimer’s Diagnosis

    Alzheimers disease slowly worsens over time. People living with this disease progress at different rates, from mild Alzheimers, when they first notice symptoms, to severe, when they are completely dependent on others for care.

    Early, accurate diagnosis is beneficial for several reasons. While there is no cure, there are several medicines available to treat Alzheimers, along with coping strategies to manage behavioral symptoms. Beginning treatment early in the disease process may help preserve daily functioning for some time. Most medicines work best for people in the early or middle stages of the disease. Learn more about Alzheimers medications.

    In addition, having an early diagnosis helps people with Alzheimers and their families:

    How Mri Is Used To Detect Alzheimer’s Disease

    Alzheimer

    One way to test for Alzheimer’s disease is to assess the brain’s functioning. There are several frequently used cognitive screenings that can be used to evaluate someone’s memory, executive functioning, communication skills, and general cognitive functioning. These tests are commonly done in your healthcare provider’s office widely used is Mini Mental Status Exam or Montreal Cognitive Assessment . These can be very helpful in identifying if a problem exists, or if there’s just a normal lapse in memory.

    These can be very helpful in identifying if a problem exists, or if there’s just a normal lapse in memory due to aging. There are, however, several different types of dementia, as well as other conditions that can cause symptoms of dementia but are reversible. There are ways you can tell.

    Don’t Miss: How To Stop Alzheimer’s Patient From Picking Skin

    How Is Alzheimers Disease Treated

    Alzheimers is complex, and it is therefore unlikely that any one drug or other intervention will successfully treat it in all people living with the disease.

    Scientists are exploring many avenues to delay or prevent the disease as well as to treat its symptoms. In ongoing clinical trials, scientists are developing and testing several possible interventions. Under study are drug therapies aimed at a variety of disease interventions, as well as nondrug approaches such as physical activity, diet, cognitive training, and combinations of these. Just as we have many treatments for heart disease and cancer, we will likely need many options for treating Alzheimers. Precision medicine getting the right treatment to the right person at the right time will likely play a major role.

    Current approaches to treating Alzheimers focus on helping people maintain mental function, treating the underlying disease process, and managing behavioral symptoms.

    Dementia And Power Of Attorney: What To Do If Someone Cant Or Wont Sign A Poa

    The number of Americans with different forms of dementia, such as Alzheimers disease, continues to grow at an alarming rate, according to the Alzheimers Association.

    If youre caring for someone with dementia, you may face a legal catch-22 you hadnt anticipated: they cant or wont sign a power of attorney. Thats the legal document that allows someone else to make critical medical and financial decisions on their behalf when theyre not able to.

    Dementia and power of attorney issues can cause unwanted complications in a persons care. Their inability or refusal to sign essential legal documents may leave family with limited options that may not be in the persons best interests.

    Ron Anderson, an ARAG® network attorney, says There are common scenarios that we see in our practice regarding the impact of dementia on making important decisions and estate planning.

    Find out about three common scenarios involving someone with dementia and their power of attorney, some of the options available in these situations, and what steps to take to avoid costly problems.

    Also Check: Alzheimers Awareness Ribbons

    Tips For Caregivers And Families Of People With Dementia

    On this page

    A caregiver, sometimes referred to as a caretaker, refers to anyone who provides care for another person. Millions of people living in the United States take care of a friend or family member with Alzheimers disease or a related dementia. Sometimes caregivers live with the person or nearby, other times they live far away. For many families, caring for a person with dementia isnt just one persons job, but the role of many people who share tasks and responsibilities. No matter what kind of caregiver you are, taking care of another person can be overwhelming at times. These tips and suggestions may help with everyday care and tasks.

    How Does Alzheimer’s Disease Progress

    Living with dementia

    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.

    Don’t Miss: Aphasia In Alzheimer’s

    Tips For Everyday Care For People With Dementia

    Early on in Alzheimers and related dementias, people experience changes in thinking, remembering, and reasoning in a way that affects daily life and activities. Eventually, people with these diseases will need more help with simple, everyday tasks. This may include bathing, grooming, and dressing. It may be upsetting to the person to need help with such personal activities. Here are a few tips to consider early on and as the disease progresses:

    • Try to keep a routine, such as bathing, dressing, and eating at the same time each day.
    • Help the person write down to-do lists, appointments, and events in a notebook or calendar.
    • Plan activities that the person enjoys and try to do them at the same time each day.
    • Consider a system or reminders for helping those who must take medications regularly.
    • When dressing or bathing, allow the person to do as much as possible.
    • Buy loose-fitting, comfortable, easy-to-use clothing, such as clothes with elastic waistbands, fabric fasteners, or large zipper pulls instead of shoelaces, buttons, or buckles.
    • Use a sturdy shower chair to support a person who is unsteady and to prevent falls. You can buy shower chairs at drug stores and medical supply stores.
    • Be gentle and respectful. Tell the person what you are going to do, step by step while you help them bathe or get dressed.
    • Serve meals in a consistent, familiar place and give the person enough time to eat.

    How Is Alzheimer’s Disease Diagnosed

    Doctors use several methods and tools to help determine if a person with thinking or memory problems has Alzheimers disease. To diagnose Alzheimers, doctors may:

    • Ask the person experiencing symptoms, as well as a family member or friend, questions about overall health, use of prescription and over-the-counter medicines, diet, past medical problems, ability to carry out daily activities, and changes in behavior and personality.
    • Administer a psychiatric evaluation to determine if depression or another mental health condition is causing or contributing to a person’s symptoms.
    • Conduct tests of memory, problem solving, attention, counting, and language.
    • Order blood, urine, and other standard medical tests that can help identify other possible causes of the problem.
    • Perform brain scans, such as computed tomography , magnetic resonance imaging , or positron emission tomography , to support an Alzheimers diagnosis or rule out other possible causes for symptoms.

    Doctors may want to repeat these tests to help best determine how the persons memory and other cognitive functions are changing over time. The tests can also help diagnose other causes of memory problems, such as stroke, tumor, Parkinsons disease, sleep disturbances, side effects of medication, an infection, or another type of dementia. Some of these conditions may be treatable and possibly reversible.

    People with memory problems should return to the doctor every six to 12 months.

    Also Check: Andrea Mitchell Drunk

    Support For Families And Alzheimer’s Disease Caregivers

    Caring for a person with Alzheimers can have significant physical, emotional, and financial costs. The demands of day-to-day care, changes in family roles, and decisions about placement in a care facility can be difficult. NIA supports efforts to evaluate programs, strategies, approaches, and other research to improve the quality of care and life for those living with dementia and their caregivers.

    Becoming well-informed about the disease is one important long-term strategy. Programs that teach families about the various stages of Alzheimers and about ways to deal with difficult behaviors and other caregiving challenges can help.

    Good coping skills, a strong support network, and respite care are other things that may help caregivers handle the stress of caring for a loved one with Alzheimers. For example, staying physically active provides physical and emotional benefits.

    Some caregivers have found that joining a support group is a critical lifeline. These support groups enable caregivers to find respite, express concerns, share experiences, get tips, and receive emotional comfort. Many organizations sponsor in-person and online support groups, including groups for people with early-stage Alzheimers and their families.

    Read about this topic in Spanish. Lea sobre este tema en español.

    Causes And Risk Factors

    Anosognosia: How Aware Are Dementia Patients?

    The cause depends on the type, but the exact causes of many forms of dementia are currently unclear.

    Dementia is not an inevitable part of aging, but age is one of the main risk factors. In fact, up to 50% of people aged 85 years and older may have a type of dementia.

    Also, in the United States, around 11.3% of people aged over 65 years currently have Alzheimers disease, according to the Alzheimers Association. This number rises to 34.6% in those aged 85 years and older. Symptoms tend to worsen with age.

    It is possible to develop dementia at a younger age, but the condition is more common among older adults.

    Recommended Reading: Purple Ribbon Alzheimers

    How Is Dementia Treated

    Treatment of dementia depends on the underlying cause. Neurodegenerative dementias, like Alzheimers disease, have no cure, though there are medications that can help protect the brain or manage symptoms such as anxiety or behavior changes. Research to develop more treatment options is ongoing.

    Leading a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, healthy eating, and maintaining social contacts, decreases chances of developing chronic diseases and may reduce number of people with dementia.

    Signs And Symptoms Of Alzheimer’s Disease

    Memory problems are typically one of the first signs of cognitive impairment related to Alzheimers. Some people with memory problems have a condition called mild cognitive impairment . With MCI, people have more memory problems than normal for their age, but their symptoms do not interfere with their everyday lives. Movement difficulties and problems with the sense of smell have also been linked to MCI. Older people with MCI are at greater risk for developing Alzheimers, but not all of them do so. Some may even revert to normal cognition.

    The first symptoms of Alzheimers vary from person to person. For many, decline in nonmemory aspects of cognition, such as word-finding, vision/spatial issues, and impaired reasoning or judgment may signal the very early stages of the disease. Researchers are studying biomarkers to detect early changes in the brains of people with MCI and in cognitively normal people who may be at greater risk for Alzheimers. More research is needed before these techniques can be used broadly and routinely to diagnose Alzheimers in a health care providers office.

    Also Check: Diet Soda And Alzheimer’s

    How To Vote In Person

    If you have registered to vote in person, polling stations will be open from 7am to 10pm on the day of an election .

    Local authorities have a responsibility to make sure that polling stations are accessible, and the Electoral Commission provides advice and guidance on the steps they can take to do this. If you do need any assistance, you can ask the staff at your polling station.

    A person with dementia has the option of bringing along a companion to assist them to vote in person. The companion must be a close relative .

    You should ask the permission of the Presiding Officer at the polling station if you want to be assisted by a companion.

    Isnt Dementia Part Of Normal Aging

    How to ask someone with dementia a question without getting in an argument

    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.

    You May Like: Senile Vs Dementia

    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.

    What Causes Dementia To Progress So Quickly

    Dementia symptoms are typically mild at first and progress over time to moderate and then severe, over several years. The speed as which dementia progresses varies between individuals, but some factors can cause dementia to progress more quickly. These include the persons age, the type of dementia, and other long term health problems. Dementia tends to progress more slowly in people over 65 compared to younger people below 65.

    Also Check: Dementia Ribbon Tattoo

    Duration Of Stages: How Long Do The Stage Of Alzheimers / Dementia Last

    No two people with dementia experience the disease exactly the same way, and the rate of progression will vary by person and type of dementia. In addition, it is not uncommon for individuals to have mixed dementia, meaning they have more than one type. That said, there is a natural course of the disease, and over time the capabilities of all persons with dementia will worsen. Eventually, the ability to function goes away. Keep in mind that changes in the brain from dementia begin years before diagnosis, when there are no outward symptoms. This makes it difficult to know how much time a person has left, though there are ways to come close to knowing life expectancy.

    Life Expectancy by Dementia Type
    Dementia Type
    2 to 8 years following pronounced symptoms

    Mild DementiaIn this early stage of dementia, an individual can function rather independently, and often is still able to drive and maintain a social life. Symptoms may be attributed to the normal process of aging. There might be slight lapses in memory, such as misplacing eyeglasses or having difficulty finding the right word. Other difficulties may include issues with planning, organizing, concentrating on tasks, or accomplishing tasks at work. This early stage of dementia, on average, lasts between 2 and 4 years.

    RELATED ARTICLES

    Most Popular