Just Forgetful Or Is It Dementia
Everyone becomes forgetful from time to time: forgetting where you placed the car keys, not remembering to pick up an item at the grocery store, forgetting to return a friends phone call. And as we age, most of us become increasingly forgetful. At least half of those over age 65 say that they are more forgetful than they were when they were younger, experiencing senior moments about things like where they put things or recalling somebodys name.
But when does an ordinary memory lapse indicate something more serious, like early or ? Can you brush it off as just being forgetful, or might it be mild cognitive impairment, a more pronounced form of that sometimes precedes dementia?
We now know the early warning signs of Alzheimers disease can begin some 15 years before symptoms of mild cognitive impairment, or long before the beginning signs of a dementia surface, said , director of the Fisher Alzheimers Disease Education and Resources Program at New York University Langone Medical Center. Because the onset of dementia can be so insidious, forgetfulness and other may develop over a period of many years.
In order to distinguish the ordinary forgetfulness that comes with aging from more serious problems like Alzheimers disease, it helps to consider some key symptoms of mild cognitive impairment and the .
By ALZinfo.org, The Alzheimers Information Site. , Ph.D., Fisher Center for Alzheimers Research at The Rockefeller University.
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.
Forgetting Names Stories Words Or Something You’ve Already Said Could Be An Early Sign Of Alzheimer’s
According to a new report released by the Alzheimer’s Association, the earliest stages of the neurological disease can first appear as an affliction known as mild cognitive impairment . But research shows that while the condition affects roughly one in seven adults over the age of 60, it can be difficult for many to spot it due to a lack of awareness: A recent survey found that 81 of patients believed that symptoms caused by MCI were a part of “normal aging.” Despite this, experts point out that there are still specific signals you’re dealing with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
“Mild cognitive impairment is often confused with normal aging because it is very subtle,” , PhD, chief science officer of the Alzheimer’s Association, told NPR. Often, she says symptoms of MCI can include “forgetting people’s names, forgetting perhaps that you’ve said something already, forgetting a story, forgetting words.”
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Why Is My Memory Failing
But becoming forgetful does not necessarily mean that you have Alzheimers disease or another form of dementia. Your memory may become less sharp as you age, and forgetfulness can be a symptom of stress or depression. But if youre concerned you may want to check your symptoms out.
Often thought of as an elderly disease, dementia can occur in people under 65, although this is not as common, and there are more than 40,000 younger people with dementia in the UK . But whatever age you are, or whether you have an elderly parent youre concerned about, dementia is a scary prospect: two thirds of people surveyed by Saga magazine said they feared developing it more than cancer.
Are You Losing Things And Just Cant Figure Out Where They Went
We all misplace things. And yes, on a busy morning we may even put the cornflakes box in the refrigerator if were moving too fast. Its normal to put things in the wrong spot, and its normal to catch the mistake or retrace our steps to find the keys sitting on top of todays stack of mail.
Whats not: Being unable to figure out where lost belongings might be, putting things in more and more unusual places and starting to suspectwithout evidencethat people have stolen your missing possessions.
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Dementia Other Brain Issues
Alzheimers is the most common type of dementia, followed by vascular dementia. They have similar symptoms: confusion, getting lost, forgetting close friends or family, or an inability to do calculations like balance the checkbook. Certain medical conditions thyroid disorders, syphilis can lead to dementia symptoms, and less common types of dementia can have different kinds of symptoms.
Alzheimers has a distinct set of symptoms often associated with certain changes in the brain.
Focusing on safety and appropriate supervision, particularly in the home, is critical for all people with dementia. Your doctor or a social worker can help you find support.
Its also important to be aware of two other things that can lead to decreased mental functioning delirium and depression.
Delirium, a rapid change in cognition or mental functioning, can occur in people with an acute medical illness, such as pneumonia or even covid-19 infection. Delirium can occur in patients in the hospital or at home. Risk for delirium increases with age or previous brain injuries symptoms include decreased attention span and memory issues.
Depression can happen at any time, but its more common with aging. How can you tell if youre depressed? Heres one simple definition: when your mood remains low and youve lost interest or joy in activities you once loved.
Having dementia is challenging. Learn what you can do to support those with dementia in your own community.
Older People Wonder And Worry About So
The number of cases of dementia in the U.S. is rising as baby boomers age, raising questions for boomers themselves and also for their families, caregivers and society. Dementia, which is not technically a disease but a term for impaired ability to think, remember or make decisions, is one of the most feared impairments of old age.
Incidence increases dramatically as people move into their 90s. About 5% of those age 71 to 79 have dementia, and about 37% of those about 90 years old live with it.
Older people may worry about their own loss of function as well as the cost and toll of caregiving for someone with dementia. A 2018 study estimated that the lifetime cost of care for a person with Alzheimers, the most common form of dementia, to be US$329,360. That figure, too, will no doubt rise, putting even more burdens on family, Medicare and Medicaid.
Theres also been a good deal of talk and reporting about dementia in recent months because of the U.S. presidential election. Some voters have asked whether one or both candidates might have dementia. But, is this even a fair question to ask? When these types of questions are posed adding further stigma to people with dementia it can unfairly further isolate them and those caring for them. We need to understand dementia and the impact it has on more than 5 million people in the U.S. who now live with dementia and their caregivers. That number is expected to triple by 2060.
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What To Do When Signs Of Dementia Appear
If youve noticed that a loved one seems to be displaying signs of dementia, its important to enlist the help of a doctor. When memory loss becomes frequent or severe, it can place a person at serious risk of injury or death.
A doctor will assess the patients memory history and any present risk factors, such as family history of dementia and medications. Once a diagnosis has been made, the doctor will treat the person for memory loss symptoms and may be able to recommend some care measures that will help alleviate the symptoms of memory loss and make life safer and more enjoyable. Additionally, early diagnosis is important to get ahead of memory loss symptoms and ensure that proper care is received.
Although memory loss is a frightening prospect, there are many ways to determine the difference between normal forgetfulness and dangerous Alzheimers symptoms. If you notice any of the dementia symptoms in yourself or a loved one, seek medical care immediately in order to produce a positive outcome.
Why We May Forget A Name
Thats a lot of steps to learn and retrieve namesno wonder theyre hard to remember! Lets take a look at some of the many reasons that we can fail in recalling a name when we need it.
Very often the problem is that we didnt learn the name well in the first place. Perhaps we didnt hear it clearly, whether the problem was due to our own hearing or a crowded, noisy room. Maybe we were not paying attention when the person was introduced perhaps we were thinking of what we were going to say instead of paying attention to the name.
The problem could also be that our short-term memory storage area or the long-term memory area for peoples names arent working well. Lastly, the trouble could be due to something in the retrieval process, whether it is a problem with our vision or the active search mechanism directed by our frontal lobes.
For healthy individuals of any age, perhaps the most common issue is difficulty remembering the name of someone youve just met a few minutes earlier. Assuming the problem isnt simply that the music was too loud and you couldnt hear the name, the usual cause is lack of attention when the name was said. Or perhaps enough alcohol was consumed to impair the function of the hippocampus, and the name didnt make it into short-term storage.
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I Forget Names All The Time: Could This Be Alzheimer’s Disease
Diane M. Goodman, BSN, MSN-C, APRN
I have reached the age where I place items in special locations throughout the house, believing I will easily remember where I put them. Unfortunately, I do not remember where the items are located, which is incredibly stressful to me, especially on days when time is tight.
I am also dreadful at remembering the names of patients and peers. This finding is not new, but I worry: Do I have Alzheimer’s disease?
As increasing numbers of aging adults demonstrate signs and symptoms of the disease, my worries may be warranted, but how would I know?
Alzheimer’s disease is a disease of the brain much like coronary artery dysfunction is a disease of the heart. The overall impact on society and healthcare has been steadily rising in the United States: an estimated 6.2 million Americans over the age of 65 are “living with Alzheimer’s dementia” today. Experts have predicted this number could grow to more than twice that amount by 2060 unless medical breakthroughs to prevent the disease become widely available.
Prior to the COVID pandemic, Alzheimer’s disease was the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Between the years 2000 and 2019, deaths from stroke and heart disease decreased, but deaths from Alzheimer’s disease increased more than 145%.
For these reasons, recognition of signs and symptoms of the disease becomes crucial, especially during the month of November .
When Alzheimer’s disease Is Present
A Visit To The Doctor Can Determine If Memory Problems Are The Result Of Mci Or Something Else Entirely
Many tend to fear the worst when they notice what they think are the first signs of cognitive decline. But experts point out that other health problems or environmental factors could cause some memory-related symptoms.
“Maybe somebody is tired. Maybe somebody is not sleeping well. Maybe somebody is taking some medications that make them a little groggy,” Carrillo told NPR.
Fortunately, a trip to the doctor can help determine if any other underlying causes could be to blame for the changes in behavior and sometimes can be treated. “If there’s a vitamin B12 deficiency, it does actually mimic mild cognitive impairment or even early Alzheimer’s dementia,” Carrillo explains. “And that can be solved with vitamin B12 injections.”
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Where To Get Help
- Your local community health centre
- National Dementia Helpline Dementia Australia Tel. 1800 100 500
- Aged Care Assessment Services Tel. 1300 135 090
- My Aged Care 1800 200 422
- Cognitive Dementia and Memory Service clinics Tel. 1300 135 090
- Carers Victoria Tel. 1800 242 636
- Commonwealth Carelink and Respite Centres Australian Government Tel. 1800 052 222
- Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Service Tel. 1800 699 799 for 24-hour telephone advice for carers and care workers
They Misplace Items And Dont Remember Where They Are
Occasionally misplacing things is normal, but doing so frequently could be a sign of forgetfulness that is actually Alzheimers disease. Leaving things in odd places in particular is symptomatic of Alzheimers, according to Dr. Verghese. In Alzheimers disease, this occurs more often, and patients leave them in unusual places, he says, for example, leaving their keys in the refrigerator. As with words, if you eventually remember where you put your keys or another object, this is a sign of typical age-related changenot of Alzheimers disease, according to the Alzheimers Association. These are the top 5 autoimmune diseases affecting women in Canada.
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They Get Lost In Familiar Places
Old age, or the normal aging process, has to do with forgetting about things you dont deal with on a regular basis, like forgetting someone you met at a conference months ago or looking up an address that you visited months prior, says Ghalib Wahidi, MD, medical director of Amada Senior Care. People with Alzheimers disease, on the other hand, usually forget things they shouldnt, like getting lost on the street where theyve lived for a significant amount of time. Or they might forget the names of close family members and friends they see regularly. These are not normal signs of aging, according to Dr. Wahidi. Check out the 12 diseases doctors can actually detect through smell.
How Do People Know They Have It
The first sign of Alzheimer disease is an ongoing pattern of forgetting things. This starts to affect a person’s daily life. He or she may forget where the grocery store is or the names of family and friends. This stage may last for some time or get worse quickly, causing more severe memory loss and forgetfulness.
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Symptoms Specific To Vascular Dementia
Vascular dementia is the second most common cause of dementia, after Alzheimer’s. Some people have both vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, often called “mixed dementia”.
Symptoms of vascular dementia are similar to Alzheimer’s disease, although memory loss may not be as obvious in the early stages.
Symptoms can sometimes develop suddenly and quickly get worse, but they can also develop gradually over many months or years.
Specific symptoms can include:
- stroke-like symptoms: including muscle weakness or temporary paralysis on one side of the body
- movement problems difficulty walking or a change in the way a person walks
- thinking problems having difficulty with attention, planning and reasoning
- mood changes depression and a tendency to become more emotional
Read more about vascular dementia.
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.
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Conditions With Symptoms Similar To Dementia
Remember that many conditions have symptoms similar to dementia, so it is important not to assume that someone has dementia just because some of the above symptoms are present. Strokes, depression, excessive long-term alcohol consumption, infections, hormonal disorders, nutritional deficiencies and brain tumours can all cause dementia-like symptoms. Many of these conditions can be treated.
Trouble Remembering Names Is Common In Normal Agingand In Alzheimers Disease
Youre at a party and you see him walking toward you. Youre sure youve met him before but cannot recall exactly where. Now hes getting closerand smiling at youbut you cannot remember his name
Is this scenario familiar? Remembering names can be difficult for anyone, and it generally becomes harder as we age. But trouble remembering names is also common in Alzheimers disease and other causes of dementia. How do you know when it is normal and when it is not?
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