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Does Dementia Come On Suddenly

What Increases The Risk For Dementia

Dementia Caregiving Verbal or Physical Outbursts
  • AgeThe strongest known risk factor for dementia is increasing age, with most cases affecting those of 65 years and older
  • Family historyThose who have parents or siblings with dementia are more likely to develop dementia themselves.
  • Race/ethnicityOlder African Americans are twice more likely to have dementia than whites. Hispanics 1.5 times more likely to have dementia than whites.
  • Poor heart healthHigh blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking increase the risk of dementia if not treated properly.
  • Traumatic brain injuryHead injuries can increase the risk of dementia, especially if they are severe or occur repeatedly.

Is It Dementia Or Mild Cognitive Impairment

Sometimes, when an older person is having memory problems or other cognitive issues, they end up diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment.

Mild cognitive impairment means that a persons memory or thinking abilities are worse than expected for their age , but are not bad enough to impair daily life function.

The initial evaluations for MCI and dementia are basically the same: doctors need to do a preliminary office-based cognitive evaluation, ask about ADLs and IADLs, look for potential medical and psychiatric problems that might be affecting brain function, check for medications that affect cognition, and so forth.

Does Dementia Come On Suddenly

While there is no perfect memory loss remedy, there are several things that you can do to prevent it. First of all, exercising regularly can help keep your lungs in good shape. People who get regular exercise have better memories, and a regular exercise program can reduce stress. Additionally, exercising can help prevent memory loss by keeping your mind active. Here are some of the best ways to make your brain healthier and keep your mind sharp. Read on to learn more. Does Dementia Come on Suddenly

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What Age Does Dementia Start

Typically, dementia symptoms occur after age 65, and the risk of dementia increases with age. Though rare, even people in their 30s can start showing signs of Alzheimers, according to the National Institute on Aging. The age when someone can get dementia also varies depending on the type theyre experiencing.

Here are the age ranges of when some common forms of dementia are typically diagnosed.

  • Alzheimers disease: Mid-60s
  • Frontotemporal dementia: Between 45 and 64
  • Lewy body dementia: After age 50
  • Vascular dementia: Over age 65

If someone gets Alzheimers before their mid-60s, its considered to be early-onset dementia. The signs of early-onset dementia are similar to typical symptoms of dementia.

Conditions With Symptoms Similar To Dementia

Vascular Dementia: Overview and More

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.

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What Happens In Rpd

The progression of RPD varies from patient to patient and in part depends on the underlying cause. Patients typically develop problems with their thinking, mood/personality/behavior, ability to speak or understand, or ability to control their movements. Many are often treatable and reversible if diagnosed quickly. For some other RPDs, there are no cures, and the progression of symptoms is inevitable. There may be some treatment to help relieve specific symptoms. Patients with non-curable forms of RPD may die within months or a few years from onset.

How Quickly Does Dementia Progress

For many people with dementia, progression can happen over a number of years the average falls between 4 and 10 years, but some live with the condition for 20+ years. For others, it may happen a lot faster. Things such as genetics, or previous health and medical history may play a part in how quickly dementia progresses, however the type of dementia can make a difference too.

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What Happens In Rapidly Progressive Dementia

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.

What Are The Main Types Of Dementia

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Alzheimers disease is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for around 2 out of every 3 of cases in older people. Vascular dementia is another common form, while dementia with Lewy bodies and frontotemporal dementia are less common.

It is possible to have more than one type of dementia at the same time. Alzheimers is sometimes seen with vascular dementia or dementia with Lewy bodies. You might hear this called mixed dementia.

The symptoms of dementia vary depending on the disease, or diseases, causing it. You can read more about the symptoms associated with different types of dementia on the Alzheimers Society website .

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What Are The Early Signs Of Dementia In Women And Men

Generally, the most common early signs of dementia in men and women are similar. They may include typical symptoms like short-term memory loss, lack of concentration, and difficulty with familiar tasks.

Some types of dementia affect women more often than men and vice versa. Among the common types of dementia, men appear to be more likely than women to have Lewy body dementia and vascular dementia, according to a research review in Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience.

However, women are twice as likely to get Alzheimers, the leading cause of dementia. The fact that women simply live longer than men is a main reason theyre more likely to develop Alzheimers. But researchers are also exploring other possible links between sex and gender and the risk of Alzheimers.

Meanwhile, men and women are at equal risk of developing frontotemporal dementia, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Lastly, men and women can have different symptoms depending on the type of dementia. For instance, women with Alzheimers tend to experience depression more, while men are more likely to experience agitation, according to a research review in Psychiatric Times.

How Is Vascular Dementia Treated

Because many different disease processes can result in different forms of vascular dementia, there may not be one treatment for all. However, vascular dementia is often managed with medications to prevent strokes and reduce the risk of additional brain damage. Some studies suggest that medications that are used to treat Alzheimer’s might benefit some people with an early form of vascular dementia. Treating modifiable risk factors like high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and problems with the rhythm of the heartbeat can help prevent additional stroke. Living a healthy lifestyle is important to help reduce the risk factors of vascular dementia.

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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Dementia

Because dementia is a general term, its symptoms can vary widely from person to person. People with dementia have problems with:

  • Reasoning, judgment, and problem solving
  • Visual perception beyond typical age-related changes in vision

Signs that may point to dementia include:

  • Getting lost in a familiar neighborhood
  • Using unusual words to refer to familiar objects
  • Forgetting the name of a close family member or friend
  • Forgetting old memories
  • Not being able to complete tasks independently

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What Causes Sudden Confusion And Memory Loss

Eating a healthy diet is an excellent memory loss remedy. It should consist of fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grains and low-fat proteins. Avoid alcohol and drugs, which can also cause confusion and memory loss. Its important to follow your doctors recommendations, and review your medications regularly. If you suspect a medical condition, you may want to consult a medical professional for a diagnosis and treatment. This way, a physician can prescribe the right medication. Does Dementia Come on Suddenly

Eating a healthy diet is an effective memory loss remedy. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can improve your memory. A balanced diet can also help you to retain information longer. Try to consume at least five servings of these foods a day. The berries contain anthocyanins and flavonoids, which can be very helpful in fighting memory loss. A study of 16,000 women found that those who ate more berries were less likely to suffer from cognitive decline. Turmeric root contains a substance called curcumin, which is found in high concentrations. This compound is a powerful antioxidant that has anti-inflammatory effects.

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Problems With Speech And Writing

Dementia affects how a person speaks and understands language, making it difficult for them to find the right words. They may also have trouble following conversations. Similarly, people with dementia struggle to spell or write sentences.

Pay attention to whether theres a decline in writing ability. Perhaps theyre struggling to write a message in a birthday card or understand a story told by their grandchild.

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Certain medications can also affect memory. A lack of sleep and an impaired thyroid function can negatively affect memory. Some of these conditions can also lead to a decreased ability to remember events. In addition to these, natural aging can affect brain function, and may lead to a slowdown in memory. Although this symptom does not necessarily mean that youre losing your memory, it could indicate a problem with your cognitive ability. If you are suffering from either, a medical evaluation is necessary to determine if youre suffering from memory loss. Does Dementia Come on Suddenly

In addition to aging, medications can affect memory. Certain antidepressants, anxiety medications, and sleep disorders can all affect memory. A persons mental health can also contribute to memory problems. In some cases, a persons mental state may be affected by the medication they are taking. Some untreated medical conditions can lead to deterioration of the brain and affect the ability to learn and remember. It is also important to see a medical professional if your symptoms persist even after youve stopped taking certain medications.

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A Condition That Can Fool Even Experienced Doctors

In fact, Mrs. M was suffering from delirium, at that time called acute organic brain syndrome that results in rapidly changing mental states, and causes confusion and changes in behavior. She returned to her previous healthy cognitive status very quickly after her eye patches were removed and her post-operative recovery continued.

The lesson I learned from her recovery was that delirium can fool even experienced doctors into misdiagnosing dementia, which is now called Major Neurocognitive Disorder . Confusion, disorientation, and memory impairment are signs of delirium that are shared with MaND.

Delirium looks very different, though, in other ways. It comes on rapidly, often after a medical or surgical event or toxic combination of medications. It is accompanied by shifting alertness, resulting in moments of sleepiness alternating with moments of agitation. Delirium is more often associated with visual hallucinations or psychotic delusions than MaND. And, most importantly, delirium can often be reversed once the cause is found and treated.

Its causes are many and include infection, metabolic disturbances, toxic medication reactions, withdrawal from alcohol, and the effects of head injury, just to name a few.

What makes this especially tragic is that distinguishing delirium from MaND is usually not too difficult and just requires careful attention to history, symptoms, physical and mental status examinations, and the results of common laboratory tests.

Other Disorders With Dementia

Recognizing The Early Stages of Dementia

Many other conditions, in addition to the ones above, can cause symptoms that mimic dementia or Alzheimers disease, including disorders of the heart, lungs, liver or kidneys, thyroid problems, sodium or vitamin B12 deficiency, some cancers, pain, constipation, heavy alcohol use and depression.

Many of those conditions are treatable, and cognitive symptoms can be reversed, as long as they are properly diagnosed, Ellison and Hashmi say. A routine metabolic blood test and a urinalysis, along with neuroimaging, will pick up many of those disorders.

If tests come back normal, experts suggest asking for a referral to a geriatrician who specializes in older adults, who will do a comprehensive assessment before accepting a diagnosis of Alzheimers disease or dementia.

Its very important for clinicians and patients to recognize that dementia is not a normal expected part of aging, Ellison says. About 11 percent of adults 65 and older have Alzheimers disease, the most common form of dementia, according to the Alzheimers Association. Everyone deserves a good workup to identify treatable and reversible conditions, Ellison adds.

Michelle Crouch is a contributing writer who has covered health and personal finance for some of the nation’s top consumer publications. Her work has appeared in Reader’s Digest, Real Simple, Prevention, The Washington Post and The New York Times.

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What To Do If A Loved One Is Suspicious Of Having Dementia

  • Discuss with loved one. Talk about seeing a medical provider about the observed changes soon. Talk about the issue of driving and always carrying an ID.
  • Medical assessment. Be with a provider that you are comfortable with. Ask about the Medicare Annual Wellness exam.
  • Family Meeting. Start planning, and gather documents like the Health Care Directive, Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, Estate Plan.

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Delirium Vs Dementia: Whats The Difference

When it comes to ensuring that your loved one receives the absolute best in support and services, its crucial to understand that cognitive changes, like delirium and dementia, require just as much care as physical conditions, like heart disease and high blood pressure.

Cognitive issues can affect a seniors ability to think, reason, or remember and become much more common as we age. In fact, around one-third of seniors who arrive at hospital emergency rooms are found to be suffering an episode of delirium. And 1 in 6 women and 1 in 10 men past the age of 55 will go on to develop dementia.

To best support your loved one, its important to know how to identify both delirium and dementia. What are the signs and symptoms? What causes these cognitive issues? And how are these conditions different? Lets take a closer look at delirium vs. dementia in seniors.

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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 Can You Do About It

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Unfortunately, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 1 in 10 seniors over the age of 65 has dementia. Though the disease affects each patient differently, most people with Alzheimer’s live only 4 to 8 years after diagnosis.

While you cannot reverse dementia or the damage it causes, there are ways to improve quality of life. Here are some simple tips for management that you can discuss with your doctor:

  • Take prescription medications to counteract cognitive and behavioral symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and mood swings.
  • Find support in the form of therapy, support groups, friends, or family to help develop coping mechanisms for cognitive and behavioral changes.
  • Address safety issues in the home by installing safety bars in the bathroom and shower, automatic shut-off switches on appliances, and reminders to lock the door.
  • Stay on top of co-existing conditions, working with your doctor to manage medical problems with the proper form of treatment.
  • Follow a healthy diet that supports brain health and function. Focus on antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, natural sources of omega fatty acids, and foods high in fiber and protein.
  • Talk to your doctor about taking supplements to support memory and cognitive function. Options you might consider include caprylic acid, coenzyme Q10, ginkgo biloba, phosphatidylserine, and omega-3 fatty acids.

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Problems With Vision And Hearing

Sensory limitations, too, can create a picture like cognitive impairment that worsens as the affected person becomes increasingly isolated as a result of hearing or vision problems. Recent research has emphasized that there is a relationship between hearing loss and the risk for development of cognitive impairment.

Signs And Symptoms Of Later Stage Dementia

The symptoms of later stage dementia include the following:

  • Severe memory loss including forgetting recent memories , thinking they are living in an earlier time period and difficulties recognising themselves and others .
  • Problems with concentration, planning and orientation. They may only be able to carry out very simple activities and become increasingly disorientated in time and place.
  • Problems with verbal communication. The person may not understand what is being said to them, they may lose speech and use sounds, gestures and body language instead. They may also repeat the same word or phrase.
  • Mobility and physical problems. Many people gradually lose their ability to move around, stand or get themselves out of a chair. Not all people in the later stages will have problems with mobility.
  • Changes in behaviour. The person may behave in ways that are out of character such as becoming distressed or agitated, repetitive or aggressive. This can be very upsetting for the person themselves, and their family and friends. These behaviours are often the result of the person having needs that arent being met or because they are confused, distressed, or have delirium. Behaviour is often a means of communication.

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