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.
Can You Prevent Lewy Body Dementia
If you have a family history of Lewy body dementia or Parkinson’s disease, it’s understandable to be concerned about developing Lewy body dementia. Like other types of dementia, there’s not a guaranteed way to completely prevent Lewy body dementia. However, understanding the factors that increase the risk helps us identify opposing strategies that can decrease this likelihood, and these strategies are generally connected with better physical health, as well.
Early Signs Of Dementia And How To Spot Them
Spotting the early signs of Dementia can make all the difference to the progression of the disease. If it is diagnosed during the early stages there is a chance that medication will slow down the diseases that cause the damage to the brain.
Weve put together this guide to the early signs of dementia for you to look out for, and some specific symptoms you can monitor. Please use the links below to navigate the article:
Read Also: What Is Vascular Dementia Life Expectancy
How Diabetes Drives Dementia Risk
Diabetes is linked to the degeneration of small blood vessels as well as strokes which are in turn risk factors of dementia. It is possible beta-amyloid plaques and tau tangles, the biomarkers of Alzheimers, play a role in high blood sugar levels, Larson said. But more research is needed to pinpoint biological mechanisms linking diabetes and dementia beyond those related to blood flow.;
Most people have type 2 diabetes, which leads to a two-fold increased risk of developing Alzheimers. As cells fail to respond to insulin the hormone that manages blood sugar levels the body produces more insulin, which in turn, leads to overly high levels of blood sugar.;
Heres what you can do: Researchers warn that type 2 diabetes and Alzheimers are reaching epidemic proportions, as they urge people to manage their stress, get a good nights sleep, maintain a balanced weight, eat a healthy diet with less sugary beverages, stay active and exercise regularly.;
Read more about past research on the link between the brains metabolic function, diabetes and dementia;;
Pillar #: Vascular Health
Theres more and more evidence to indicate that whats good for your heart is also good for your brain. Maintaining your cardiovascular health can be crucial in protecting your brain and lowering your risk for different types of dementia, including Alzheimers disease and vascular dementia. And of course, addressing heart-health issues can also help you to lower your risk for a future heart attack or stroke.
Brain Risk Factors That Can Be Controlled
- mental activity regularly challenging your brain with mentally stimulating activities through education, occupation or leisure is linked with lower risk of cognitive decline and dementia
- social activity participating in social activities and being connected with your community, family and friends is linked with a lower risk of dementia.
How Long Do Dementia Patients Live After Diagnosis
Dementia symptoms typically progress slowly. People with dementia will progress from mild to severe dementia at varying speeds and may be diagnosed earlier or later in life. Some people with dementia may live for up to 20 years after their diagnosis, though according to the Alzheimer’s Association research shows that the average person lives for four to eight years after a diagnosis of dementia. It’s important to point out that the diagnosis of dementia is often missed, delayed, or diagnosed when the illness is moderate or advanced. The impact of that variable may not be accurately reflected in the research regarding the years of life post-diagnosis.
Researchers Continue To Seek Answers
The idea of Alzheimers as a metabolic disease that affects the brain, and Alzheimers markers such as glucose metabolism, have led scientists in various directions. Besides the Mediterranean diet and its variations, they are looking at other diets as well as individual foods and nutrients.
For example, the ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that prompts the production of ketones, chemicals that help brain cells work. Studies show that this diet may affect gut bacteria in distinctive ways in people with and without cognitive impairment, and may help brain cells better use energy, improving their overall function.
Researchers are seeking answers to these questions:
- Which foods are critical to brain health and should be included in diet-based interventions?
- Which groups of people are most likely to benefit from dietary interventions targeting prevention of dementia and cognitive decline?
- Can dietary interventions introduced in midlife lead to better outcomes?
These clinical trials are recruiting participants to test dietary interventions:
To learn more or to find a trial near you, visit the Alzheimers.gov Clinical Trials Finder.
Can Eating Certain Foods Or Diets Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease
People often wonder if a certain diet or specific foods can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. The recent NASEM review of research did not find enough evidence to recommend a certain diet to prevent cognitive decline or Alzheimer’s. However, certain diets and healthy eating patterns have been associated with cognitive benefits. Studies of diets, such as the Mediterranean diet and the MIND dieta combination of the Mediterranean and DASH dietsare underway. Learn more about what we know about diet and the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.
For more information, read What Do We Know About Diet and Alzheimer’s Prevention?
Also Check: How To Keep Dementia Patients In Bed At Night
How To Get A Quality Sleep
Reinforce circadian rhythms by going to bed and getting up at the same time every day. Your brain will respond to regularity.
If you find that you need to nap in the daytime, it can also affect your night time sleep. So, if you need an energising afternoon nap, set a timer for 30 minutes.
Ideally dont use a computer, tablet or your phone in the bedroom or for at least 2 hours before bedtime. Use of these can excite the brain, preventing sleep.
Snoring can prevent a good nights sleep. If you have sleep apnea, then it can be potentially dangerous due to interrupted breathing. See your doctor for advice.
If you have difficulty in falling to sleep, dont lie in bed tossing, turning and worrying about sleep; get up make a camomile tea or read an unexciting book.
Have a bedtime ritual. Take a relaxing bath, do some simple stretches, dim the lights. This will signal the brain that it is time for some quality sleep.
Clear your mind of the day by writing a page in your journal. Make to-do lists as this will help you to drop off to sleep without worrying.
Stress, anxiety or negative internal dialogues can prevent sleep. Read or relax in another room. Try a milky drink or turkey sandwich to help aid sleep.
New studies have highlighted that poor sleep is not a symptom of Dementia it, it is a possible risk factor. Advice is that if you are affected by poor sleep patterns, you should seek medical advice. Most adults need 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night.
How To Identify That A Person Needs Help
Setting a diagnosis is the doctors task. But you may suspect that your loved one has signs of dementia if you notice that he or she:
- often loses essential things or puts them in strange places
- often asks questions again, forgetting the answer that was just received
- confuses time or is lost in a familiar place
- experiences difficulties with concentration and is mistaken in monetary calculations
- cannot learn simple instructions for example, how to turn on the washing machine or microwave
There are other signs of dementia: for example, if a person suddenly changes in character, behavior, or has mood swings for no reason. Already in the early stages of Alzheimers, an active person may suddenly become apathetic, lose any initiative, and stop enjoying even their favorite activities.
Later, as dementia progresses, some patients become irritable, impatient, or impulsive; others become restless and even aggressive. A person can have delusional thoughts . Disruption of the brain processes leads to the fact that their behavior ceases to be conscious. The patient does not recognize his relatives and gradually loses the ability to understand speech.
So, what to do with elderly parents that need help?
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Keep Up Social Connections Just 10 Minutes A Day Can Help
Things like music therapy or just playing some pleasing, quiet music, a massage, or exercise can help the mood and behavior of some people with dementia. Unfortunately, the research on these alternative therapies is not far-reaching enough to suggest them as treatment or therapy for dementia patients, but you could see if these work for your loved one.11
Encourage people to visit and meet with the patient. Sometimes the embarrassment or fear of others seeing the changed behavior, personality, and memory of the individual can be discouraging when it comes to having visitors. Overcome this, because these relationships are crucial. Keep up their routines and hobbies and interests as much as possible. If they were a weekly church-goer, go to church with them. If they liked walking in the park every evening, they should continue to do so, but with someone to help them if they forget their way home. Keep up as much of a semblance of normalcy as you can. As one study found, the impact this can have is huge! Researchers found that dementia patients who indulged in as little as 60 minutes of conversation every week which translates to an average of 8.5 minutes a day saw reduced agitation levels. This also cut down the perception of pain they were living with.12
Ways To Help Someone Living With Dementia Get A Better Nights Sleep
As most of us will have experienced at one time or another, not being able to sleep, or not sleeping well can become literally a nightmare.;For those living with dementia, not getting a good nights sleep can be particularly acute and really affect their quality of life, and that of those caring for them.This guide explains how to help dementia patients sleep. You can also find out more about common sleep problems, get tips on how to keep dementia patients in bed at night and read our helpful FAQs.;
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If you are finding it particularly hard to help someone with dementia with their sleep, and its affecting your ability to care for an elderly relative, it may be a good idea to share some of the care responsibilities with a live-in carer, like those found on our best live-in care companies page.
Also Check: Do People With Dementia Sleep More
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.
I Care For More Than One Person With Dementia And Wonder How To Keep Dementia Patients Not Sleeping In Bed At Night Should I Put Them To Bed Straight Away
According to the Alzheimers Association, patients can spend up to 40% of their time lying in bed awake, this equates to sleeping too much during the day. If the patient does get up, dont try to get them back to bed. Try to restart a small bedtime routine instead of putting them straight to bed. Keep lights low, take them to the toilet, play relaxing music or read to them for a bit to calm them down.
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Change The Foods And Drinks
Some foods and drinks are harder to consume than others. Hard and chewy foods take extra effort to eat, and someone with dementia may not have the ability to chew and swallow these foods with the muscles involved.;
To fix this, switch to softer, easier foods to make it easier on the patient as they eat. Avoid stringy foods or anything thats spicy. Refraining from fizzy drinks may also be a good idea.
Discussing Dementia Symptoms With Dr Alex Bailey
In a new episode of the Age Space Podcast, we talk to Dr Alex Bailey, an old age psychiatrist working in Westminster, sharing his thoughts and advice on dementia. This includes identifying the early signs of dementia, details of memory services, supporting those with dementia to live well, psychological therapies, supporting carers and much more. Listen to the dementia explained podcast.
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Can Increasing Physical Activity Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease
Physical activity has many health benefits, such as reducing falls, maintaining mobility and independence, and reducing the risk of chronic conditions like depression, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Based on research to date, there’s not enough evidence to recommend exercise as a way to prevent Alzheimer’s dementia or mild cognitive impairment , a condition of mild memory problems that often leads to Alzheimer’s dementia.
Years of animal and human observational studies suggest the possible benefits of exercise for the brain. Some studies have shown that people who exercise have a lower risk of cognitive decline than those who don’t. Exercise has also been associated with fewer Alzheimer’s plaques and tangles in the brain and better performance on certain cognitive tests.
While clinical trials suggest that exercise may help delay or slow age-related cognitive decline, there is not enough evidence to conclude that it can prevent or slow MCI or Alzheimer’s dementia. One study compared high-intensity aerobic exercise, such as walking or running on a treadmill, to low-intensity stretching and balance exercises in 65 volunteers with MCI and prediabetes. After 6 months, researchers found that the aerobic group had better executive functionthe ability to plan and organizethan the stretching/balance group, but not better short-term memory.
Why Do Dementia Patients Stop Eating + Tips To Help Them Remember
Food and water give us the energy and nutrients our bodies need to thrive so it can be confusing and stressful when a loved one with dementia stops eating as much or at all.
Its tough to see this happen, but know that this is a natural part of dementia.;
See, were used to eating without thinking much about it. However, its a complex process neurologically speaking, and dementia impacts parts of the brain and muscles involved in the process.
As a result, someone with dementia may cough, choke, and work harder, in general, to chew and swallow food than others.
That said, at this stage of the disease, the body slowly adjusts to the lower food and drink intake, so they arent necessarily in immediate danger of starvation and dehydration.
But they still do need to eat and drink, although it may take some extra effort on the caregivers part. Here are some tips to make it easier.
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Evaluating The Latest Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention Research
A recent review of research looked carefully at the evidence on ways to prevent or delay Alzheimer’s dementia or age-related cognitive decline. Led by a committee of experts from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine , the review found “encouraging but inconclusive” evidence for three types of interventions:
The evidence for other interventions, such as medications and diet, was not as strong. However, scientists are continuing to explore these and other possible preventions.
Why Education May Help Prevent Dementia
Education could play an important role in improving cognitive reserve, which is the brains ability to cope with damage that would otherwise lead to dementia, according to Oh.;
Research suggests that education helps the brain develop more synapses, which are the junctions between brain cells that relay information, but were not entirely sure, says Oh. More synapses may boost cognitive reserve, which may help prevent dementia.
Another reason could be that people with more education tend to have healthier lifestyles than those with less education. People who are more educated may be more aware that smoking, lack of exercise and not eating well are bad for their health, she says, and they may make healthier choices.
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Activities To Help Prevent Dementia
24th August 2017
Dementia is considered to be the leading cause of death for elderly people in the UK. The Office for National Statistics report for 2017 states that 1 in 6 people over the age of 80 are diagnosed with dementia. As of now, over 850,000 people are living with dementia, which is expected to rise to 2 million by 2050. Additionally, 70% of individuals who are looked after in Care Homes have dementia or memory difficulties that severely impact on their daily lives.
The cost of care for dementia patients can often exceed the combined cost of treatment and care for cancer, stroke and heart disease. Research continues relentlessly for a cure and to pinpoint the specific causes of dementia.
Given the damage that dementia can have on individuals, their families, and the high cost of care, we can adopt a positive approach that will help reduce the risk of dementia.
Research has shown that the risk of dementia decreases by making some simple yet effective lifestyle changes may help prevent dementia, slow it down or even reverse some of the symptoms. In the simplest of terms, dementia affects the way that messages are relayed to and from the brain resulting in some or all of the following symptoms: