Symptoms Specific To Dementia With Lewy Bodies
Dementia with Lewy bodies has many of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, and people with the condition typically also experience:
- periods of being alert or drowsy, or fluctuating levels of confusion
- visual hallucinations
- becoming slower in their physical movements
- repeated falls and fainting
Read more about dementia with Lewy bodies.
What To Say When You Think Your Loved One Might Have Dementia
Now that youve done some research and possibly compared notes with a healthcare professional, its time to sit down and have a calm, candid chat. Some experts suggest that a good way to begin is to just be honest. Share that you have noticed that they cant seem to remember things all that well. Ask if they have been feeling stressed or had trouble sleeping. Then wonder aloud if it might be a good idea to see a doctor and get to the bottom of things.
The approach lets you share your concerns without using the D word. It also shows respect for your loved one by asking them what they think.
Some people will be open to the idea of consulting with their primary care doctor. However, depending on your mom or dads personality, and how advanced their condition is, its not unusual to encounter resistance. Although they may be resistant, there are still ways to help a parent with dementia who refuses care.
Like you, they might be scared. Or it could be that the condition is affecting their ability to think things through. Whatever the reason, continue to display empathy and understanding.
One more thought: Dont jump to any conclusions. While it might well be dementia, it could be something else. Changes in memory, mood, and behavior can be the result of other physical conditions, reactions to medication, nutritional issues, hormonal fluctuations and a host of other reasons.
How Do I Know If Its Alzheimers
May 24, 2019
Every 65 seconds, someone in the United States develops Alzheimers disease. With more than 5.8 million people in the U.S. living with the disease in 2019, theres no better time to learn about the early warning signs of Alzheimers and other forms of dementia.
Forewarned is forearmed when it comes to the disease and knowing how to spot the signs of potential illness and how to know if its Alzheimers is a critical line of defense in the fight against age-related cognitive diseases.
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Physical Examination And Diagnostic Tests
During a medical work up, you can expect the doctor to:
- Ask them about diet, nutrition and use of alcohol .
- Evaluation all medications. .
- Check blood pressure, temperature and pulse.
- Pay attention to the heart and lungs.
- Carry out other procedures to examine overall health.
- Collect blood or urine samples for lab testing.
Information from a physical examination and lab tests can help identify health issues that can cause symptoms of dementia. Conditions aside from Alzheimers that might cause confused thinking, difficulty focusing or memory problems include anemia, depression, infection, diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease, certain vitamin shortages, thyroid abnormalities, and problems with the heart, blood vessels and lungs.
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.
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How To Know If Its Alzheimers Disease
Most people are unaware of how Alzheimers and dementia actually attack the human body.
Research has shown that there are plaques that first attack the brain and these plaques not only physically deteriorate it, but also inhibit normal nervous system functioning to the rest of the body. These physical changes are what determine whether someone actually suffers from the disease or not.
But how do we know whether we are having a senior moment or whether theres actually cause for concern? Here are some tell-tale signs:
Telling Someone You Are Concerned They May Have Dementia
Youve noticed that a friend or loved one is having some problems and you are worried they might have dementia. How do you voice your concerns and encourage them to seek help?
How do you tell a person if you think they might have dementia? Its not an easy conversation and its natural that the person may be defensive, angry or even in denial that anything is wrong. The most important thing is to try and see the situation from their point of view and also make sure that you dont appear to be critical or accusing them of anything. Here is the best way to let them know you have concerns:
Firstly, plan when you are going to have the conversation. Timing is key. Make sure its when youre both at your best, not when youre tired from a long day at work and not when they are most likely to be irritable. You will need to be patient and diplomatic and the person you are speaking to will need to be relaxed and feeling well.
Choose the right environment. Somewhere quiet and comfortable is key. Make sure you wont be interrupted turn off the TV and put your phone on silent. Rule out any distractions.
Decide in advance what you are going to say. Explain first that its important for you to have a conversation and why its a good thing to be able to talk to family members or loved ones when you are concerned about them.
Reassure them at every stage of the conversation. Let them know you are there to help and that you want to make sure they are OK.
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Ways To Find The Right Words To Say
There are times in life when words escape us. This is one of them. You want to make sure your relative knows that you understand the news is difficult. Share that you are in this together. Be sure they know that people with dementia can continue to enjoy life.
Discussing the dementia diagnosis will be the first of many conversations as the disease progresses. The ideas that follow may help you express yourself in an honest yet loving way, both in your first conversation and those to come.
What Are The Most Common Types Of Dementia
- Alzheimers disease. This is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for 60 to 80 percent of cases. It is caused by specific changes in the brain. The trademark symptom is trouble remembering recent events, such as a conversation that occurred minutes or hours ago, while difficulty remembering more distant memories occurs later in the disease. Other concerns like difficulty with walking or talking or personality changes also come later. Family history is the most important risk factor. Having a first-degree relative with Alzheimers disease increases the risk of developing it by 10 to 30 percent.
- Vascular dementia. About 10 percent of dementia cases are linked to strokes or other issues with blood flow to the brain. Diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol are also risk factors. Symptoms vary depending on the area and size of the brain impacted. The disease progresses in a step-wise fashion, meaning symptoms will suddenly get worse as the individual gets more strokes or mini-strokes.
- Lewy body dementia. In addition to more typical symptoms like memory loss, people with this form of dementia may have movement or balance problems like stiffness or trembling. Many people also experience changes in alertness including daytime sleepiness, confusion or staring spells. They may also have trouble sleeping at night or may experience visual hallucinations .
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How Is Dementia Different From Aging
The NHS says dementia is not a natural part of aging.
Katie explained: As we get older our brains do get a little bit smaller, and this is normal. We have a slowing of our thinking and memory processes.
But in Alzheimers , its a significant amount of shrinking.
Over time, brain cells become damaged due to a buildup of toxic proteins called amyloid and tau.
These start to interrupt how brain cells communicate with each other and thats what brings on the symptoms we associate with Alzheimers repetitiveness, memory loss, sometimes disorientation, and problems with communication.
The breakdown of communication between brain cells causes them to eventually die off and the volume of the brain which is a mass of cells starts to shrink.
How To Know If You Have Alzheimers
12 August 2009
This Weeks Question:Ive been forgetting names of people lately and I have this dread that this is an early symptom of Alzheimers. How can I tell?
I dont know a geezer who hasnt asked this question. Once you hit 60, you begin to wonder if your lost keys have greater significance than they did when you were younger.
The scary truth is that Alzheimers begins with difficulty remembering the familiar people, things, events. Or, you start having trouble doing simple arithmetic in your head. These annoyances are common to seniors with healthy brains, so most of us dont get too worked up over them.
But, as Alzheimers progresses, it can make people forget how to brush their teeth or change channels on a TV. And it gets worse until patients require complete care.
So, when should you go to your doctor to discuss your memory lapses?
Thats a personal judgment call. Ive found that I cant remember the names of movie stars and ballplayers the way I used to. I attribute this to what I call the overloaded filing cabinet. As we get older, we accumulate so many memories that its impossible to find the one we want.
Im not sufficiently worried about my memory difficulties to mention them to my doctor. But if you are worried, get tested.
And then there are those pesky emotions. Feeling sad, lonely, worried, or bored can affect people facing retirement or coping with the death of a loved one. Adapting to change can make you forgetful.
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Early Signs Of Dementia
Its not easy to spot the early signs of dementia in someone we are caring for. If a person is struggling to remember a name, follow a conversation or recall what they did yesterday, many of us may put it down to the fact that the person is getting older. But it may well be a warning that they are in the early stages of dementia.
Family, friends and care workers are likely to be the first to see the signs and play a key role in encouraging a person receiving care to see a GP.
Because I was with my wife continuously, I think I was less likely to recognise some of the changes that were taking place than people who saw her less regularly.
A carer speaking about his wifes early signs of dementia, healthtalk website
A doctor can help establish whether a person has dementia or a treatable illness or condition that can cause dementia-like symptoms, such as depression, a urinary infection or nutritional disorders.
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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Say What You Need To Saykindly
Dont bombard your mom or dad with questions right away. Cover one thought or idea at a time and give them plenty of time to respond. They will likely be overwhelmed by the news and may not be able to process all of the details. Instead of getting upset, focus on speaking with kindness and validation. Using validation to communicate through dementia is an effective way to accept their reality and reduce agitation.
As the disease progresses, if your parent isnt getting what you are trying to say, dont repeat the same question. Instead, try putting things another way. For instance, show them a photo of someone you are talking about. It can also be helpful to stick with questions that can be answered yes or no.
What Are Potentially Treatable Causes Of Dementia
The dementia in treatable conditions may be reversible or partially reversible, even if the underlying disease or damage is not. However, readers should note that if underlying brain damage is extensive or severe, these causes may be classified as irreversible by the individual’s physician.
There is no specific test for dementia. However, dementia may be diagnosed if at least two of the following core mental functions are significantly impaired, according to some researchers:
- Attentiveness/focus on a problem or subject
- Visual perception
In some people, the signs and symptoms of dementia are easily recognized in others, they can be very subtle. A careful and thorough evaluation is needed to identify their true cause.
An assessment of dementia symptoms should include a mental status evaluation. This evaluation uses various “pencil and paper,””talking,” and physical tests to identify brain dysfunction. A more thorough type of testing, performed by a psychologist, is called neuropsychologic testing.
Lab tests may be used to identify or rule out possible causes of dementia.
In some cases, imaging studies of the brain may be necessary to detect conditions such as normal pressure hydrocephalus, brain tumor, or infarction or bleeding in the brain.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Dementia
Some symptoms may point to dementia if you have become significantly more forgetful to the extent that it is affecting your daily life. This is especially true if you:
- struggle to remember recent events, although you can easily recall things that happened in the past,
- find it hard to follow conversations or programmes on TV,
- forget the names of friends or everyday objects,
- struggle to recall things you have heard, seen or read recently,
- regularly lose the thread of what you are saying,
- leave objects in unusual places ,
- have problems thinking and reasoning,
- feel anxious, depressed or angry,
- feel confused even when in a familiar environment or get lost on familiar journeys,
- find that other people start to comment on your forgetfulness,
- Is dementia inherited?
Memory Loss And Other Symptoms Of Dementia
While symptoms of dementia can vary greatly, a minimum of two of the following core psychological functions must be considerably impaired to be considered dementia:
- Visual understanding. Diet
Individuals with dementia might have problems with short-term memory, tracking a bag or wallet, paying costs, preparation and preparing meals, keeping in mind appointments or traveling from the community.
Lots of dementias are progressive, meaning symptoms start slowly and slowly become worse. If you or a loved one is experiencing memory problems or other changes in believing abilities, do not neglect them. See a doctor soon to determine the cause. Professional assessment may discover a treatable condition. And even if symptoms recommend dementia, early diagnosis enables a person to get the maximum benefit from available treatments and provides a chance to volunteer for medical trials or studies. It also supplies time to plan for the future.
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Difficulty Completing Normal Tasks
A subtle shift in the ability to complete normal tasks may indicate that someone has early dementia. This usually starts with difficulty doing more complex tasks like balancing a checkbook or playing games that have a lot of rules.
Along with the struggle to complete familiar tasks, they may struggle to learn how to do new things or follow new routines.
What Is The Treatment For Symptoms And Complications Of Dementia
Some symptoms and complications of dementia can be relieved by medical treatment, even if no treatment exists for the underlying cause of the dementia.
- Behavioral disorders may improve with individualized therapy aimed at identifying and changing specific problem behaviors.
- Mood swings and emotional outbursts may be treated with mood-stabilizing drugs.
- Agitation and psychosis may be treated with antipsychotic medication or, in some cases, anticonvulsants.
- Seizures usually require anticonvulsant medication.
- Sleeplessness can be treated by changing certain habits and, in some cases, by taking medication.
- Bacterial infections require treatment with antibiotics.
- Dehydration and malnutrition may be treated with rehydration and supplements or with behavioral therapies.
- Aspiration, pressure sores, and injuries can be prevented with appropriate care.
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Are Early Signs Of Dementia Obvious
Changes in a person in the early stages of dementia can be so gradual they can often be mistaken for normal ageing. Because dementia affects people in different ways, symptoms may not always be obvious. In fact, failure to recognise early signs often leads to people not being diagnosed for several years.
So what to look for? Perhaps someone you care for is struggling to remember what they did yesterday and forgets the names of friends or everyday objects. They may have difficulty following conversations or TV programmes, repeat things over and over, or have problems thinking or reasoning. They may feel angry, anxious or depressed about memory loss or feel confused even in a familiar environment.
The healthtalk website presents a range of carers experiences of identifying the early signs of dementia. One carer put it this way.
The first stage is not recognisable I think, or certainly wasnt recognisable as far as I was concerned initially . I was certainly not understanding… the fact that my wife was at the beginning of a serious problem, a serious mental health problem. Because I was with my wife continuously, I think I was less likely to recognise some of the changes that were taking place than people who saw her less regularly.