What Diagnosis Falls Under Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimers disease is a diagnosis in itself. When it is noticeable clinically and identified early on, the formal diagnosis may be Mild Cognitive Impairment due to Alzheimers disease which may later develop into a diagnosis of dementia due to Alzheimers disease.
Four Common Types Of Dementia
The term dementia is an umbrella term used to describe the symptoms of cognitive impairment. And within the dementia umbrella, there are many different variations Alzheimers included. Most of us average folk dont realize that all dementia is not Alzheimers. In fact, I would venture to say that the regular layman isnt quite sure what the difference between Alzheimers and Dementia is. Dont fret Ill explain it here!
Learning the difference between the varying levels of memory loss can be crucial to know the dos and donts of dealing with behavior challenges. It will also come into play with understanding the levels of care that are available to fit your loved ones needs, so they can live more comfortably.
In this blog we will discuss the Top 4 most common types of Dementia. The good news for you is that at The Kensington, we are very experienced with these areas of Memory Care and more. We welcome everyone!
Yes, there are many, many more types of dementia that are known. There is dementia resulting from years of alcohol misuse. There is dementia associated with Parkinsons Disease. There is dementia that is a result of a traumatic brain injury. All in all, there are over 100 types of dementia being treated and researched today. An accurate diagnosis is critical to the treatment of someone with dementia, for obvious reasons.
Stimulating Exercises For People With Dementia
Dementia is a progressive disease, meaning symptoms get worse over time. The progression of dementia is different for every individual for some people, it progresses rapidly, whereas for others, it may progress over the span of several years. However, research shows that cognitive stimulation helps reduce decline in cognitive function for individuals with mild to moderate dementia.
Here are 10 stimulating exercises for people with dementia:
1. Create a Memory Box
Since most forms of dementia affect an individuals memory, looking through a memory box with pictures of their loved ones and happy moments can be a great reminiscent activity. The memory box can consist of anything, not just pictures. It promotes engagement opportunities for patients living with dementia, as well as for their loved ones and caregivers.
2.Cook Simple Recipes
The process of cooking and baking requires motor skills, thinking, and short-term memory. Also, the smell or taste of their favourite childhood recipe allows the individual to have a reminiscent experience while cooking. Cooking healthy recipes helps improve general health, and is also beneficial for brain health.
3.Listen and Dance to Music
Similar to the memory box, listening to music that the individual enjoys can provide comfort and feelings of nostalgia. A bonus benefit of this activity is that it encourages dancing, a physical activity that helps keep you in healthy shape!
4 .Work on a Picture Puzzle
5. Household Chores
8. Read a Book
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What You Can Do Post
Get help and support from loved ones. Listen to the guidance of your trusted healthcare provider. Seek information from reputable sources. The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America and several other non-profit organizations have a wealth of resources, and many wonderful people are there to offer help. Most importantly: Do not stop living! Keep active and involved and savor every precious day.
Memory Loss Or Dementia
In short, dementia, whatever the type, is characterized by various symptoms like memory losses, learning difficulties, language troubles, confusion, mood and personality changes, bad decisions, difficulty in thinking, depression, loss of interest for some activities, etc. Thus, we cant only consider memory disorders to determine if a parent is affected by Alzheimers disease or another type of dementia. In fact, cognitive problems associated with memory may, sometimes, have another origin, like drugs interaction, drinking alcohol, depression, thyroid problems or a lack of vitamins.
If you think one of your parents suffers from Alzheimer of dementia, it is better to visit a doctor, specialized in geriatrics for example. Tell them about the behaviours and troubles that seem to touch the concerned person, in this way the doctor will be able to determine if it actually is dementia, and what type it is. Then they will direct you towards adapted treatments or approaches.
About Visavie Home Care Services
Since 1994, Visavie offers seniors in-home care services to preserve their autonomy and especially, continue to take advantage of the comfort of their home.
Besides, researches have shown that for a person with Alzheimers disease, remaining in a familiar surrounding helps manage the challenges related to memory loss.
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How Common Is Mixed Dementia
Autopsy studies looking at the brains of people who had dementia suggest that a most of those aged 80 and older probably had mixed dementia, caused by processes related to both Alzheimers disease and vascular disease. In fact, some studies indicate that mixed vascular-degenerative dementia is the most common cause of dementia in the elderly.
In a person with mixed dementia, it may not be clear exactly how many of a persons symptoms are due to Alzheimers or another type of dementia. In one study, about 40 per cent of people who were thought to have Alzheimers were found after autopsy to also have some form of cerebrovascular disease. Several studies have found that many of the major risk factors for vascular disease also may be risk factors for Alzheimers disease.
Researchers are still working to understand how underlying disease processes in mixed dementia influence each other. It is not clear, for example, if symptoms are likely to be worse when a person has brain changes reflecting multiple types of dementia. However, the prognosisor treatment outcome is likely to be poor if there are multiple disease processes taking place simultaneously in the person.
What Increases The Risk For Dementia
- 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.
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Early Symptoms Of Dementia
Dementia is a collection of symptoms that can occur due to a variety of possible diseases. Dementia symptoms include impairments in thought, communication, and memory.
If you or your loved one is experiencing memory problems, dont immediately conclude that its dementia. A person needs to have at least two types of impairment that significantly interfere with everyday life to receive a dementia diagnosis.
In addition to difficulty remembering, the person may also experience impairments in:
Help From The Ontario Government
Caring for someone with dementia can be difficult, but help is available. Each province in Canada offers different resources and programs for dementia patients and caregivers. Were going to look at the options available in Ontario, however if you live in a different province, similar options will likely be provided.
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The Seven Stages Of Dementia
One of the most difficult things to hear about dementia is that, in most cases, dementia is irreversible and incurable. However, with an early diagnosis and proper care, the progression of some forms of dementia can be managed and slowed down. The cognitive decline that accompanies dementia conditions does not happen all at once – the progression of dementia can be divided into seven distinct, identifiable stages.
Learning about the stages of dementia can help with identifying signs and symptoms early on, as well as assisting sufferers and caretakers in knowing what to expect in further stages. The earlier dementia is diagnosed, the sooner treatment can start.
Knowing The Stages Of Dementia Helps You Plan
Even if the stages arent exact and symptoms can still be unpredictable, being able to plan ahead is essential.
The truth is that Alzheimers and dementia care is expensive and time-consuming. Being financially prepared for increasing care needs is a necessity.
On an emotional level, having an idea of what symptoms to expect helps you find ways to cope with challenging behaviors.
It also gives you a chance to mentally prepare yourself for the inevitable changes in your older adult.
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What Is Dementia Symptoms Types And Diagnosis
Dementia is the loss of cognitive functioning thinking, remembering, and reasoning to such an extent that it interferes with a person’s daily life and activities. Some people with dementia cannot control their emotions, and their personalities may change. Dementia ranges in severity from the mildest stage, when it is just beginning to affect a person’s functioning, to the most severe stage, when the person must depend completely on others for basic activities of living.
Dementia is more common as people grow older but it is not a normal part of aging. Many people live into their 90s and beyond without any signs of dementia.
There are several different forms of dementia, including Alzheimers disease. A persons symptoms can vary depending on the type.
What Is Mixed Dementia
It is common for people with dementia to have more than one form of dementia. For example, many people with dementia have both Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.
Researchers who have conducted autopsy studies have looked at the brains of people who had dementia, and have suggested that most people age 80 and older probably have mixed dementia caused by a combination of brain changes related to Alzheimer’s disease,vascular disease-related processes, or another condition that involves the loss of nerve cell function or structure and nerve cell death .
Scientists are investigating how the underlying disease processes in mixed dementia start and influence each other. Further knowledge gains in this area will help researchers better understand these conditions and develop more personalized prevention and treatment strategies.
Other conditions that cause dementia-like symptoms can be halted or even reversed with treatment. For example, normal pressure hydrocephalus, an abnormal buildup of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain, often resolves with treatment.
Researchers have also identified many other conditions that can cause dementia or dementia-like symptoms. These conditions include:
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What Is The Life Expectancy For Dementia Can It Be Cured
There is no cure for dementia.
- Although Alzheimer’s disease is listed as the 6th most common cause of death in the U.S.. Patients with Alzheimer’s disease most commonly die due to infections caused by lack of mobility.
- Pneumonia, bladder infections, bedsores, and other causes can lead to more wide-spread infection and subsequent death.
- Patients with dementias have widely varying life expectancies, depending on the underlying cause of their dementia. Life expectancy can range from only 1 to 2 years to more than 15 years the average duration of the disease is between 4 and 8 years after diagnosis.
Isnt Dementia Part Of Normal Aging
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.
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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.
What Kind Of Treatment Is Available
Most people living with mixed dementia are diagnosed with just a single type of dementia. Therefore, a physician might base the choice of medication on the type of dementia that has been diagnosed.
Currently, there arent any pharmaceutical drugs available that are specifically targeted to treating mixed dementia. In situations where the physician considers Alzheimers disease to be among the conditions contributing to a persons dementia symptoms, they may prescribe the medications intended for Alzheimers disease treatment.
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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.
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.
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If Youre Worried About Possible Dementia
Lets say youre like the man I spoke to recently, and youre worried that an older parent might have dementia. Youre planning to have a doctor assess your parent. Heres how you can help the process along:
- Obtain copies of your parents medical information, so you can bring them to the dementia evaluation visit. The most useful information to bring is laboratory results and any imaging of the brain, such as CAT scans or MRIs. See this post for a longer list of medical information that is very helpful to bring to a new doctor.
How To Diagnose Alzheimers Vs Dementia
Alzheimers is a progressive and fatal brain disorder. Dementia is not a specific disease, but an umbrella term that defines a syndrome and used to refer to a specific group of symptoms related to a decline in mental ability. Alzheimers is one of the most common causes of dementia. Both Alzheimers and dementia are diagnosed using a variety of different assessments and tests, including a physical exam, lab tests, cognitive and neuropsychological tests, and an analysis of changes in behavior.
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Can Dementia Be Diagnosed During A Single Visit
So can dementia be diagnosed during a single visit? As you can see from above, it depends on how much information is easily available at that visit. It also depends on the symptoms and circumstances of the older adult being evaluated.
Memory clinics are more likely to provide a diagnosis during the visit, or shortly afterwards. Thats because they usually request a lot of relevant medical information ahead of time, send the patient for tests if needed, and interview the patient and informers extensively during the visit.
But in the primary care setting, and in my own geriatric consultations, I find that clinicians need more than one visit to diagnose dementia or probable dementia. Thats because we usually need to order tests, request past medical records for review, and gather more information from the people who know the senior being evaluated. Its a bit like a detectives investigation!
Understanding Lewy Body Dementia
Lewy body dementia symptoms are so similar to those of other forms of dementia that LBD can be misdiagnosed. This might make more sense when you consider that there are many types of dementia.
It may help to think of dementia as one large “umbrella” that slowly robs people of their ability to think, talk, remember, and use their bodies. Many diseases crowd underneath this umbrella, including:
- Alzheimers disease
- Struggle with incontinence
With dementia with Lewy bodies, cognitive changes may appear earlier than, about the same time, or shortly after any physical changes surface.
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