Lots Of Different Factors Contribute To Someone Getting An Illness That Causes Dementia This Means That Its Impossible To Predict Exactly Who Will Get Them So It Can Seem To Happen By Chance
When somebody you know is very ill, it can make you worry that you might become ill too.
Lots of different factors contribute to someone getting an illness that causes dementia. This means that its impossible to predict exactly who will get them so it can seem to happen by chance.
Dementia is unfortunately common, so many people have more than one person with dementia in their family. Even if this is the case, it doesnt usually mean that you are more likely to get dementia. Like everyone else, your chances of developing dementia in the future will depend on many different factors, including your age, genes, health and lifestyle.
You can read more about risk factors for dementia here.
A few, very rare, types of dementia are genetic, which means that they can be passed down from one family member to another. Very few people have these types of dementia. If your family is affected by a rare genetic form of dementia you can read more in our online booklet.
If you are worried about dementia, ask for help to find out more. Dont be afraid of upsetting other people by asking questions. Your family would much rather you asked than worried. If they dont know the answer themselves, they can help you to find out. You could also speak to your family doctor.
Changes In Mood Behavior And Personality
Unexplained changes in mood and personality could be a sign of dementia, doctors warn. “Observational studies have found that people with these behavior changes are more likely to develop cognitive issues,” says Dr. Seth Gale, a neurologist with Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “It may be that these changes are a reflection of early development of plaques and tangles, but this is not entirely clear. Still, it’s a good idea to have symptoms like these checked out by your doctor.”
How To Spot Early Indicators That Your Loved One May Have Alzheimers Or Dementia
by Patrick J. Kiger, AARP, Updated September 27, 2021
En español | From age 50 on, its not unusual to have occasional trouble finding the right word or remembering where you put things.
But persistent difficulty with memory, cognition and ability to perform everyday tasks might be signs that something more serious is happening to a loved ones brain.
Dementia isnt actually a disease, according to the Mayo Clinic. Its a catch-all term for changes in the brain that cause a loss of functioning that interferes with daily life. Dementia can diminish focus, the ability to pay attention, language skills, problem-solving and visual perception. It also can make it difficult for a person to control his or her emotions and lead to personality changes.
More than 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s dementia, according to the “2021 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures” report fromthe Alzheimer’s Association. Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of dementia, accounting for 60 percent to 70 percent of cases, but a range of brain illnesses can lead to the condition .
Diseases that cause dementia
These conditions are the leading causes of dementia. Many patients have mixed dementia, a combination of two or more types, such as Alzheimers and vascular dementia.
Lewy body dementia. Abnormal protein deposits in the brain, called Lewy bodies, affect brain chemistry and lead to problems with behavior, mood, movement and thinking.
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What Is Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible brain disorder. It is a progressive condition that causes issues with memory, cognition, and behavior.
It was first discovered in 1906 by Dr. Alois Alzheimer, a German psychiatrist and neuropathologist. He examined the brain of a woman who had died following symptoms including memory loss, language problems, and altered behavior. He found unusual clumps in her brain, known as amyloid plaques, as well as tangles in her brain fibers that are some of the main features of Alzheimer’s disease.
Since this initial discovery, many other complex changes in the brain have been discovered among people suffering from disease, including the loss of connection between neurons.
How The Blood Test For Dementia Works
Also known as the Precitivity AD, the C2N test or blood test for dementia uses mass spectrometry. An analytic technique used to detect specific beta-amyloid protein fragment that is one of the most common hallmarks of Alzheimers.
The beta-amyloid proteins normally accumulate and form plaques which can be seen on the brain 2 decades after an individual starts to notice they have memory issues.
The levels of beta-amyloid start to decline in the surrounding fluids as the plaques continue to build up in the brain. These changes can be measured in spinal fluid samples.
It is also possible to measure them in the blood where beta-amyloid concentrations are usually lower.
PrecivityAD is one of the first blood tests for Alzheimers that could enable early detection of the neurodegenerative illness.
HOPEFULLY, decades before the first symptoms appear.
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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.
Forgetting How To Do Everyday Tasks
This is different to: more typical age-related forgetfulness such as needing help to record a tv programme or how to use the settings on a microwave oven.
Your parent may start to find it hard to complete daily tasks these might include the setting of a table, driving to a familiar location or remembering the rules of their favourite game.
Forgetting how to do everyday tasks can be spotted just by observing someone or by completing a Self-Administered Gerocognitive Exam an early signs of dementia test which can be taken online.
However, this shouldnt be used as an official diagnostic tool you should always seek the advice of a GP. Other examples of forgetting how to do simple everyday tasks can include:
- Closing the fridge door
- Making a cup of tea or coffee
- Locking / closing the front door
- Managing a budget
Your parent may start to find it difficult to complete tasks they used to be able to do with ease. For example, if they used to be a fantastic baker, they may now find it hard to bake the sponge cake theyve made over and over again.
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Difficulty Completing Familiar Tasks
Some people may experience a greater problem with concentration. Routine day-to-day tasks requiring critical thought may take longer as the disease progresses.
The ability to drive safely may also be called into question. If you or a loved one gets lost while driving a commonly traveled route, this may be a symptom of AD.
What Happens In The Early Stage Of Dementia
Dementia affects everyone differently and early symptoms are often relatively mild and not always easy to notice.
Many people at the early stage of dementia stay largely independent and only need a bit of assistance with daily living. It is important to focus on what the person can do and not to take over and do things for them. Instead, try doing things with them, for example helping the person develop a routine, reminder lists and prompts, and use technology.
For more information for people living with dementia, see the ‘Keeping active and involved‘ page.
The early stage of dementia is when many people choose to make plans for the future, while they still have the ability to do so. This includes making a Lasting power of attorney , and advance decisions and advance statements to ensure their wishes and preferences are made clear.
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Information For Your Doctor
Itâs a good idea to put together the following for your first appointment:
- A list of symptoms — include everything youâre feeling, even if you donât think it could be related to dementia
- Any sources of major stress or recent life changes
- A list of all medications you take, including vitamins and supplements, and the dosage
- A list of any questions you have
What Are The Different Types Of Dementia
Various disorders and factors contribute to the development of dementia. Neurodegenerative disorders result in a progressive and irreversible loss of neurons and brain functioning. Currently, there are no cures for these diseases.
The five most common forms of dementia are:
- Alzheimers disease, the most common dementia diagnosis among older adults. It is caused by changes in the brain, including abnormal buildups of proteins, known as amyloid plaques and tau tangles.
- Frontotemporal dementia, a rare form of dementia that tends to occur in people younger than 60. It is associated with abnormal amounts or forms of the proteins tau and TDP-43.
- Lewy body dementia, a form of dementia caused by abnormal deposits of the protein alpha-synuclein, called Lewy bodies.
- Vascular dementia, a form of dementia caused by conditions that damage blood vessels in the brain or interrupt the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain.
- Mixed dementia, a combination of two or more types of dementia.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Dementia
Signs and symptoms of dementia result when once-healthy neurons, or nerve cells, in the brain stop working, lose connections with other brain cells, and die. While everyone loses some neurons as they age, people with dementia experience far greater loss.
The symptoms of dementia can vary and may include:
- Experiencing memory loss, poor judgment, and confusion
- Difficulty speaking, understanding and expressing thoughts, or reading and writing
- Wandering and getting lost in a familiar neighborhood
- Trouble handling money responsibly and paying bills
- Repeating questions
- Not caring about other peoples feelings
- Losing balance and problems with movement
People with intellectual and developmental disabilities can also develop dementia as they age, and recognizing their symptoms can be particularly difficult. Its important to consider a persons current abilities and to monitor for changes over time that could signal dementia.
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.
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How Is Dementia Diagnosed
To diagnose dementia, doctors first assess whether a person has an underlying, potentially treatable, condition that may relate to cognitive difficulties. A physical exam to measure blood pressure and other vital signs, as well as laboratory tests of blood and other fluids to check levels of various chemicals, hormones, and vitamins, can help uncover or rule out possible causes of symptoms.
A review of a persons medical and family history can provide important clues about risk for dementia. Typical questions might include asking about whether dementia runs in the family, how and when symptoms began, changes in behavior and personality, and if the person is taking certain medications that might cause or worsen symptoms.
The following procedures also may be used to diagnose dementia:
Early detection of symptoms is important, as some causes can be treated. However, in many cases, the cause of dementia is unknown and cannot be treated. Still, obtaining an early diagnosis can help with managing the condition and planning ahead.
Am I At Risk For Alzheimer’s
Whether we have seen early signs in ourselves or not, many of us want to know what our chances of getting this disease may be. Research has shown a number of possible factors that can impact your chances of getting Alzheimer’s disease, although none of these are a cause in and of themselves.
Some ages are more at risk
Old age is one of the most obvious risk factors. The vast majority of people develop the disease after the age of 65, and once you reach 65, your risk of getting Alzheimer’s doubles every five years. But Alzheimer’s doesn’t only affect people over 65 it has been known to affect people half that age, although this is much rarer.
Alzheimer’s is hereditary
A family history will also increase your risk of getting the disease. The risk increases even more if you have multiple family members who have suffered from the disease.
Whilst this may be due to the hereditary genetic factors we will look at in more depth later, there may be other factors at play. These could include environmental factors that impact both yourself and your family.
Gender is another significant risk factor. The first discovery of the disease back in 1906 was in a woman, and about twice as many women as men over 65 have Alzheimer’s. This may be in part to the fact that women have a longer lifespan or may even possibly be linked to menopause.
Genetic factors of Alzheimer’s
Other risk factors
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The Early Signs Of Dementia Are Very Subtle And May Not Be Immediately Obvious
Early symptoms also vary a great deal.
Usually though, people first seem to notice that there is a problem with memory, particularly in remembering recent events.
Memory loss that affects day-to-day function
It’s normal to occasionally forget appointments or a friend’s phone number and remember them later.
A person with dementia may forget things more often and not remember them at all.
Difficulty performing familiar tasks
People can get distracted from time to time and they may forget to serve part of a meal.
A person with dementia may have trouble with all steps involved in preparing a meal.
Confusion about time and place
It’s normal to forget the day of the week – for a moment.
But a person with dementia may have difficulty finding their way to a familiar place, or feel confused about where they are.
Problems with language
Everyone has trouble finding the right word sometimes, but a person with dementia may forget simple words or substitute inappropriate words, making sentences difficult to understand.
Problems with abstract thinking
Managing finances can be difficult for anyone, but a person with dementia may have trouble knowing what the numbers mean.
Poor or decreased judgment
A person with dementia may have difficulty judging distance or direction when driving a car.
Problems misplacing things
Anyone can temporarily misplace a wallet or keys. A person with dementia may put things in inappropriate places.
Changes in personality or behaviour
A loss of initiative
Putting Things In The Wrong Place
This is different to: more normal age-related behaviours such as losing things but being able to retrace the steps to find them.
Losing things or putting things in strange places, and then being unable to retrace steps to find them again, is on the official observation list for early signs of dementia.
Sometimes someone else might be accused of stealing which may occur more frequently over time. For example, your dad may insist that a friend keeps stealing his money, whereas its in its regular hiding place. Other examples that may indicate potential dementia symptoms could include teabags in the fridge or remote control in the cutlery drawer.
Misplacing or losing items is more common in Alzheimers Disease, rather than vascular dementia. Find out more about the different types of dementia.
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Monday 17 September 2018
Dementia is the term given to a group of diseases that affect a persons thinking, behaviour and ability to perform everyday tasks. While its commonly thought of as an older persons disease, dementia can affect people of all ages.
Early symptoms of dementia can be vague and vary between people. While some people pick up on changes in their own thinking or behaviour that might be caused by dementia, sometimes these signs are first noticed by those around them.
If youve noticed a change in someone close to you, the steps below can help you assist them in seeking diagnosis and treatment.
Dementia With Lewy Bodies
In this and other forms of dementia, proteins called Lewy bodies build up and damage brain cells. Dementia with Lewy bodies can lead to problems with memory and movement. Someone with this condition might act out dreams or see things that arenât there . Although thereâs no cure, your doctor can help treat symptoms.
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Difficulty Remembering Or Trouble Finding Words
Its normal for older adults to have lapses in thought here and there. But showing signs of forgetfulness every day is an early warning sign of dementia.
If your mom is consistently losing track of her thoughts mid-sentence, or if your dad has trouble finding words in casual conversations, these are dementia signs to note.