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HomeHealthHow Does Someone Get Diagnosed With Dementia

How Does Someone Get Diagnosed With Dementia

Treating Language Problems In Ftd

How to get a diagnosis of dementia?

Treatment of PPA has two goals maintaining language skills and using new tools and other ways to communicate. Treatment tailored to a persons specific language problem and stage of PPA generally works best. Since language ability declines over time, different strategies may be needed as the illness progresses. The following strategies may help:

  • Use a communication notebook , gestures, and drawings to communicate without talking.
  • Store lists of words or phrases in a computer or phone to point to.
  • Speak slowly and clearly, use simple sentences, wait for responses, and ask for clarification if needed.
  • Work with a speech-language pathologist familiar with PPA to determine the best tools and strategies to use. Note that many speech-language pathologists are trained to treat aphasia caused by stroke, which requires different strategies from those used with PPA.

Promoting Early Diagnosis Of Dementia

The early symptoms of dementia can include memory problems, difficulties in word finding and thinking processes, changes in personality or behaviour, a lack of initiative or changes in day to day function at home, at work or in taking care of oneself. This information does not include details about all of these warning signs, so it is recommended that you seek other sources of information. If you notice signs in yourself or in a family member or friend, it is important to seek medical help to determine the cause and significance of these symptoms.;

Obtaining a diagnosis of dementia can be a difficult, lengthy and intensive process. While circumstances differ from person to person, Dementia Australia believes that everyone has the right to:

  • A thorough and prompt assessment by medical professionals,;
  • Sensitive communication of a diagnosis with appropriate explanation of symptoms and prognosis,;
  • Sufficient information to make choices about the future,
  • Maximal involvement in the decision making process,;
  • Ongoing maintenance and management, and;
  • Access to support and services.;;

How Is Ftd Diagnosed

FTD can be hard to diagnose because the symptoms are similar to those of other conditions. For example, bvFTD is sometimes misdiagnosed as a mood disorder, such as depression. To make matters more confusing, a person can have both FTD and another type of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease. Also, because these disorders are rare, physicians may be unfamiliar with the signs and symptoms.

To help diagnose frontotemporal dementia, a doctor may:

  • Perform an exam and ask about symptoms
  • Look at personal and family medical history
  • Use laboratory tests to help rule out other conditions
  • Order genetic testing
  • Conduct tests to assess memory, thinking, language skills, and physical functioning
  • Order imaging of the brain

A psychiatric evaluation can help determine if depression or another mental health condition is causing or contributing to the condition. Only genetic tests in familial cases or a brain autopsy after a person dies can confirm a diagnosis of FTD.

Researchers are studying ways to diagnose FTD earlier and more accurately and to distinguish them from other types of dementia. One area of research involves biomarkers, such as proteins or other substances in the blood or cerebrospinal fluid which can be used to measure disease progression or the effects of treatment. Researchers are also exploring ways to improve brain imaging and neuropsychological testing.

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Risk Factors And Prevention

Although age is the strongest known risk factor for dementia, it is not an inevitable consequence of ageing. Further, dementia does not exclusively affect older people young onset dementia accounts for up to 9% of cases. Studies show that people can reduce their risk of dementia by getting regular exercise, not smoking, avoiding harmful use of alcohol, controlling their weight, eating a healthy diet, and maintaining healthy blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Additional risk factors include depression, low educational attainment, social isolation, and cognitive inactivity.

Tip : Pursue Activities That Bring You Meaning And Joy

Dementia  Symptoms, Diagnosis, Causes and Treatments ...

Having Alzheimers or another dementia doesnt mean your life has to stop moving forward. By pursuing meaningful activities and relationships, you can continue to nourish your spirit and find pleasure and purpose in life.

Even when symptoms advance and certain activities become difficult, you can still find other ways to nurture and enrich your spirit. If you can no longer paint, for example, you may still be able to visit museums and appreciate the art of others. Or if you can no longer cook, you may still be able to devise the menu and help shop for ingredients.

While we all have different ways of experiencing meaning and joy, you may want to:

Pursue your favorite hobbies and interests. Engaging in activities that are important to you can help maintain your identity as well as enrich your life. Try taking a class or joining a club to keep your interest growing or to explore new activities.

Build your legacy. In the early stages of dementia, many people are mindful of how they want to be remembered. Maybe you want to pass on your skills and knowledge to others, or leave a record of your life for your grandchildren to enjoy. You might want to create photo albums, write your memoirs or a how-to book, share your favorite recipes, make a record of family traditions, or research your family history. Or perhaps you simply want to spend time with your closest loved ones to create new memories.

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Stage : Age Associated Memory Impairment

This stage features occasional lapses of memory most frequently seen in:

  • Forgetting where one has placed an object
  • Forgetting names that were once very familiar

Oftentimes, this mild decline in memory is merely normal age-related cognitive decline, but it can also be one of the earliest signs of degenerative dementia. At this stage, signs are still virtually undetectable through clinical testing. Concern for early onset of dementia should arise with respect to other symptoms.

Tip : Plan For The Future

While its not easy to think about, getting your finances in order and figuring out how you want your healthcare handled can give you a sense of power over your future. Talk with your loved ones and communicate your wishes. Discuss and document treatment and end-of-life preferences with your doctors and family members. Appoint someone you trust to make decisions for you when you can no longer make them for yourself.

Although these conversations may be difficult, making your wishes known can also be empowering. And by making important decisions early, youll avoid future medical, financial, and legal confusion.

Also Check: How Fast Does Dementia Kill

The Future Of Ftd Treatment

Researchers are continuing to explore the biological changes in the body, including genetic mutations and proteins, that lead to FTD and identify and test possible new drugs and other treatments. They are also developing better ways to track disease progression, so that treatments, when they become available, can be directed to the right people. Clinical trials and studies are underway to advance these efforts. People with FTD and healthy people may be able to participate. To find out more, talk to your health care provider or visit the Alzheimers.gov Clinical Trials Finder.

Communicating About Dementia With Health Care Providers

How is dementia diagnosed?

Good communication with the primary care provider affects the well-being of the person with dementia as well as the well-being of the;caregiver. Communicating your concerns clearly and describing the changes you may have observed will help guide the provider to investigate further. In some cases, you may find yourself âeducatingâ medical staff about your loved oneâs symptoms.

It is important that your concerns are taken seriously, and you are treated with respect and dignity. If you are not receiving the attention you need, you should communicate your concerns to the provider and request a referral to a resource in the community that specializes in the evaluation of people experiencing cognitive changes. The goal is to establish a partnership to both maintain the quality of health and to solve problems.

Recommended Reading: What Is The Difference Between Dementia And Senility

Early Diagnosis Of Dementia

KAREN S. SANTACRUZ, M.D., and DANIEL SWAGERTY, M.D., M.P.H., University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, Kansas

Am Fam Physician.;2001;Feb;15;63:703-714.

;See patient information handout on dementia, provided by an AAFP staff patient education writer.

Until recently, the most significant issue facing a family physician regarding the diagnosis and treatment of dementia was ruling out delirium and potentially treatable etiologies. However, as more treatment options become available, it will become increasingly important to diagnose dementia early. Dementia may be suspected if memory deficits are exhibited during the medical history and physical examination. Information from the patient’s family members, friends and caregivers may also point to signs of dementia. Distinguishing among age-related cognitive decline, mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease may be difficult and requires evaluation of cognitive and functional status. Careful medical evaluation to exclude treatable causes of cognitive impairment is important. Patients with early dementia may benefit from formal neuropsychologic testing to aid in medical and social decision-making. Follow-up by the patient’s family physician is appropriate in most patients. However, a subspecialist may be helpful in the diagnosis and management of patients with dementia with an unusual presentation or following an atypical course.

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.

  • Alzheimers Association.;Stages of Alzheimers. Accessed May 27, 2021.
  • National Institute on Aging. Alzheimers Disease Fact Sheet. Content reviewed May 2019. Accessed May 27, 2021.
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    What Kind Of Doctor Tests For Dementia

    A primary care doctor can perform a physical exam and find out more about your symptoms to determine what may be the cause. They will likely refer you to one or several specialists that can perform specific tests to diagnose dementia. Specialists may include neurologists, who specialize in the brain and nervous system; psychiatrists or psychologists, who specialize in mental health, mental functions, and memory; or geriatricians, who specialize in healthcare for older adults.

    What We Know About Dementia

    5 Tips to Help Keep Dementia at Bay

    The National Institute on Aging says that dementia affects approximately 3.4 million Americans, or 13.9 percent, of the U.S. population ages 71 and older and is usually caused by brain damage associated with Alzheimers disease, vascular dementia or Parkinsons disease. And in Canada, the number of people living with dementia is expected to rise 66% by the time we reach 2031.

    It is important to differentiate the various types of dementia; for about 70% of patients, a diagnosis of dementia will be accompanied by a diagnosis of Alzheimers disease. Although these terms are often used interchangeably, Alzheimers and dementia are not one in the same. Dementia is a loss of brain function that refers to a group of illnesses.

    Although dementia may be a symptom of Alzheimers, it may have other underlying causes, such as Picks disease, hypothyroidism or head trauma. While Alzheimers is the leading cause of dementia, vascular dementia, which is often caused by stroke, accounts for about 17% of all dementia cases.

    While people will experience dementia differently, most people with dementia share some of the same symptoms that may come and go.

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    Managing Movement Problems In Ftd

    Medications and physical and occupational therapy may provide modest relief for the movement symptoms of FTD. A doctor who specializes in these disorders can guide treatment.

    For people with corticobasal syndrome, Parkinsons disease medicines may offer some temporary improvement. Physical and occupational therapy may help the person move more easily. Speech therapy can help them manage language symptoms.

    For people with progressive supranuclear palsy, sometimes Parkinsons disease drugs provide temporary relief for slowness, stiffness, and balance problems. Exercises can keep the joints limber, and weighted walking aids such as a walker with sandbags over the lower front rung can help maintain balance. Speech, vision, and swallowing difficulties usually do not respond to any drug treatment. Antidepressants have shown modest success. For people with abnormal eye movements, bifocals or special glasses called prisms are sometimes prescribed.

    People with FTD-ALS typically decline quickly over two to three years. During this time, physical therapy can help treat muscle symptoms, and a walker or wheelchair may be useful. Speech therapy may help a person speak more clearly at first. Later on, other ways of communicating, such as a speech synthesizer, can be used. The ALS symptoms of the disorder ultimately make it impossible to stand, walk, eat, and breathe on ones own.

    Can Dementia Be Prevented

    Although dementia cannot be prevented, living a health-focused life might influence risk factors for certain types of dementia. Keeping blood vessels clear of cholesterol buildup, maintaining normal blood pressure, controlling blood sugar, staying at a healthy weight basically, staying as healthy as one can can keep the brain fueled with the oxygen and nutrients it needs to function at its highest possible level. Specific healthful steps you can take include:

    • Follow a Mediterranean diet, which is one filled with whole grains, vegetables, fruits, fish and shellfish, nuts, beans, olive oil and only limited amounts of red meats.
    • Exercise. Get at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week.
    • Keep your brain engaged. Solve puzzles, play word games, and try other mentally stimulating activities. These activities may delay the start of dementia.
    • Stay socially active. Interact with people; discuss current events; keep your mind, heart, and soul engaged.

    Read Also: What Is The Difference Between Dementia And Senility

    Take The Sage Test At Home

    Anyone can take the SAGE test anytime. Its free and you can get it here on the Ohio State University website.

    Print the test and take it with a pen or pencil. Theres no time limit, but most people finish in about 15 minutes.

    Sample questions from the test:

    • How many nickels are in 60 cents?
    • You are buying $13.45 of groceries. How much change would you receive back from a $20 bill?
    • Write down the names of 12 different animals.
    • Draw a large face of a clock and place in the numbers.Position the hands for 10 minutes after 11 oclock. On your clock, label L for the long hand and S for the short hand.

    Tip : Take Steps To Slow The Advancement Of Symptoms

    Getting a dementia diagnosis – People with dementia speak out

    Even when youve been diagnosed with Alzheimers disease or dementia, there is still a great deal that you can do to slow its progress. The same healthy lifestyle changes and mental stimulation techniques that are used to prevent or delay the onset of dementia can also be effective in slowing the progression of the disease and maintaining your independence for longer.

    1. Get moving. Regular exercise stimulates the brains ability to maintain old connections, make new ones, and slow deterioration of your cognitive abilities.

    2. Reach out to others. The more you connect face-to-face with others, the more you engage socially, the better your cognitive function will be.

    3. Eat well. Eating a brain-healthy diet, such as the Mediterranean diet, can help reduce inflammation, protect neurons, and promote better communication between brain cells.

    4. Seek mental stimulation. By continuing to learn new things and challenge your brain, you can strengthen your cognitive skills and stay mentally active for longer.

    5. Improve your sleep. Getting quality sleep can flush out brain toxins and avoid the build-up of damaging plaques.

    6. Manage stress. Unchecked stress takes a heavy toll on the brain, shrinking a key memory area, hampering nerve cell growth, and worsening Alzheimers symptoms. Relaxation practices and other stress management techniques can help you ease the tension and regain control.

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    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.

    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.

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    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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