Talking With A Doctor
After considering the persons symptoms and ordering screening tests, the doctor may offer a preliminary diagnosis or refer the person to a Cognitive Dementia and Memory Service clinic, neurologist, geriatrician or psychiatrist.Some people may be resistant to the idea of visiting a doctor. In some cases, people do not realise, or else they deny, that there is anything wrong with them. This can be due to the brain changes of dementia that interfere with the ability to recognise or appreciate the changes occurring. Others have an insight of the changes, but may be afraid of having their fears confirmed.One of the most effective ways to overcome this problem is to find another reason for a visit to the doctor. Perhaps suggest a check-up for a symptom that the person is willing to acknowledge, such as blood pressure, or suggest a review of a long-term condition or medication.Another way is to suggest that it is time for both of you to have a physical check-up. Any expressed anxiety by the person is an excellent opportunity to suggest a visit to the doctor. Be sure to provide a lot of reassurance. A calm, caring attitude at this time can help overcome the person’s very real worries and fears.Sometimes, your friend or family member may refuse to visit the doctor to ask about their symptoms. You can take a number of actions to get support including:
- talking with other carers who may have had to deal with similar situations
- contacting your local Aged Care Assessment Team
Loss Of Daily Life Skills
A home that may not be as well kept as usual may be a sign that the person living there has dementia. They may lose the ability to do many of the things they normally do themselves, such as preparing meals, household chores and eating and drinking properly.
They may also struggle to maintain their personal hygiene and getting dressed. Deciding what to wear, how to put things on and in the right order may become increasingly difficult. Getting around the house without walking into furniture and other items may also be a problem.
Mental Fluctuations Losing Train Of Thought
The issue that we most often associate with dementia is memory loss. However, it can be hard to recognize because anyone can, once in a while, forget a word, a name or a thought they wanted to squeeze into a conversation. So, it is not so much about forgetting, but that it has become a regular pattern.
Specifically, we would watch for:
- Stopping in the middle of the conversation and having no idea how to continue.
- Repeating themselves.
- Asking the same question over and over.
- Forgetting most recently learned information.
What Is The Life Expectancy For A Person With Dementia
The outlook for most types of dementia is poor unless the cause is an early recognized reversible condition. Irreversible or untreated dementia usually continues to worsen over time. The condition usually progresses over years until the person’s death. Life expectancy after diagnosis averages about 8-10 years with a range from about 3-20 years.
Making decisions about end-of-life care is important.
- The earlier in the disease these issues are discussed, the more likely the person with dementia will be able to express his or her wishes about medical care at the end of life.
- The issues may be presented by your health care professional. If not, ask about them.
- These issues include use of aggressive interventions and hospital care, artificial feeding, and medical treatment for medical illnesses.
- These issues should be discussed by family members and decisions made about how to deal with them when the time comes.
- The decisions should be documented in the person’s medical records.
Knowing When To Get Help
If;any;of these problems sound familiar, dont ignore them in the hopes that theyll improve on their own or simply stay the same call Neurology Consultants of Arizona for a neurological exam as soon as possible.;
Sometimes, memory loss and thinking problems are related to a treatable medical condition like kidney disease or hypothyroidism. In such cases, addressing the underlying disorder is often all it takes to alleviate dementia symptoms.;
Even though dementia cant be cured, early diagnosis and the right treatment approach can help slow its progression and keep your symptoms under control, giving you time to enjoy life, make new memories with your family, and plan for the future.;
Neurology Consultants of Arizona can provide a complete assessment and customized treatment plan that targets your type of dementia. To learn more,;;our Scottsdale, Arizona, office today, or;;any time to schedule a visit with Dr. Shayya.
Staring With Reduced Gaze And Trouble Reading
Reduced gaze is the clinical term for the dementia symptom that alters peoples ability to move their eyes normally. We all move our eyes and track with them frequently, says Rankin. But people showing early signs of dementia;look like theyre staring a lot. Rankin adds that, they try to read and they skip lines. This is one of the signs of dementia that the patient might not completely be aware of, although people around them probably will be.
Stages Of Dementia Have A Common Thread: Memory And Motor Problems
Have you ever been in your home and thought to yourself that you wanted to make a sandwich and just automatically made your way to the kitchen without thinking about it, meanwhile weighing in your mind whether you wanted turkey or ham and whether there was any lettuce leftover in the refrigerator?
As memory issues arise, the risk of injury due to falling also increases.
We use our memory unconsciously all the time. Yet memory influences just about everything we do. The three stages of dementia all involve memory to a great extent. As dementia progresses, memory issues become more noticeable, and the risk of falling also increases. According to a study by researchers Allan, Ballard, Rowan, and Kenny older people with dementia are eight times more likely to fall than older people who are not diagnosed with a dementia. As memory issues arise, the risk of injury due to falling also increases.
Confusion About Time And Day
When you eat breakfast, but then realize its dinner time, or you cant remember the day of the week without looking at a calendar, that can be a sign of cognitive impairment. Caccappolo says patients who have more advanced dementia may get up in the middle of the night and get dressed. It may also become increasingly difficult to know what season or even what year it is.
Inability To Adapt To Change
Difficulty adapting to change is one of the typical early signs of dementia. The inability to recall peoples names or follow what others are talking about can cause nervousness and fear of new changes.
It makes someone with dementia almost obsessive about sticking to their usual routine. On the other hand, they are shying away from trying out new experiences.
Dementia can also alter the way how a person responds to different environments. They may be frustrated and irritated since they cannot follow whats happening in unfamiliar places.
Disruptive noise, conversations, large crowds, and movements may be overwhelming for them.
Moreover, they find it even more difficult to comprehend information in such surroundings.
Do You Get Lost In Familiar Places
Losing the way while driving, walking or taking public transportation to a new place is normal. So is getting so absorbed in your journey that you have to reorient yourself to figure out exactly where you are.
Whats not: Driving or walking for a long time without realizing youre lost or completely forgetting where you are, and not asking for help in these situation could ;be a sign of dementia, Yasar says. You may also forget how you got to a new location, become easily disoriented in familiar places, or lose the ability to read a map or follow landmarks and traffic signs.
The Benefits Of An Early Alzheimers Diagnosis
People on the onset of Alzheimers may experience just one early warning sign or several and signs will show in varying degrees.
If youre concerned that a loved ones memory loss;may be serious, consult with a doctor.
While Alzheimers currently has no cure, an early diagnosis means early treatment. That increases a persons chances of maintaining independence for as long as possible and having a voice in planning for their future.
Did any early signs of Alzheimers lead to a diagnosis for you or a loved one? Share your story with us in the comments below.
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What Your Doctor Will Do
When you get to your doctors appointment, a basic appointment will include a review of your;memory;or;cognitive issues, how long the problems have been happening and any other mood, behavioral or movement problems you may be having.
Cognitive testing may be performed to document the presence and severity of the cognitive concerns.
A screening for depression also may be performed, along with routine blood work. A CT scan of your brain also could be performed to exclude other problems.
If you notice problems over six months and its affecting your quality of life, its crucial you have it checked, Dr.;Factora;says. The ultimate goal is to preserve your independence and to plan ahead if you need assistance.
How To Get Help For Your Parents Dementia Symptoms
Its important to find professional help after noticing early symptoms of dementia.
- Find the right doctor.;Doctors specializing in dementia will ask about problems related to common dementia behaviors.;You should look;for a physician whose specialty is geriatrics, neurology, or clinical psychiatry, according to the Fisher Center for Alzheimers Research Foundation.
- Communicate observations in detail.;The more details you can share regarding warning signs of dementia, the easier it can be for a doctor to determine the cause and tests needed for a diagnosis. The doctor can also develop more effective treatment options for dementia symptoms based on the specificity of the data collected.
- Prepare for a diagnosis. A dementia diagnosis is;determined through a series of steps. There are many different possible tests to rule out other health conditions like;vitamin B12 deficiency, brain tumors, thyroid conditions, and more, as some of these conditions also may cause dementia symptoms. A dementia evaluation can include:
- Reviewing a persons medical history
- Physical or mental exam
- Lab tests
- Brain imaging
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Tips For Managing Dementia End
Because individuals with advanced dementia will often have difficulty communicating, it is important that caregivers keep a close eye on their loved one for signs of pain or discomfort. These signs may include moaning or yelling, restlessness or an inability to sleep, grimacing, or sweating. This may also signal that its time to call hospice or a palliative care team to help with the pain management.
If an individual with end-stage dementia is having trouble sitting up without assistance, hospice can provide a hospital bed or other equipment to lift their head.
Perhaps the hardest thing for families is when a loved one with dementia is no longer able to eat or swallow. Because an individual with dementia is unable to understand the benefits of feeding tubes or IV drips, they will often be incredibly distressed and attempt to remove them, causing added pain and risk of infection. Instead, focusing on keeping the individual comfortable. Supporting them with mouth care to prevent their mouth from becoming dry will allow them to make their final transition in peace.
Challenges Performing Everyday Tasks
Difficulty in performing familiar tasks is also one of the early signs of dementia. As a result of the changes brought about by the condition, abstract thinking becomes quite hard.
Moreover, the person with dementia often shows an unusual struggle performing mental tasks.
People with this disease may at many times find it hard to handle regular everyday tasks that they had previously carried out with ease.
For example, organizing events, planning chores or make simple financial transactions like paying bills become more and more challenging due to the significant decline in brain cognition.
Something as simple as brewing a cup of coffee may prove difficult to someone with dementia because it may be troublesome to follow the right steps.
Forgetting This One Thing Can Be A Sign Of Dementia
Dementia is a much-feared prospect of getting older, but it’s increasingly common: Experts estimate that the number of Americans with dementia will double by the year 2040, as a growing population ages and people live longer. Although the condition is progressive, it’s important to recognize dementia early and seek treatment so its advancement can be slowed. These are some of the most common symptoms of dementia; forgetting one thing, in particular, is a red flag for the condition. To find out what it is, read on for these 5 key points, including the one thing you might forget that’s a major sign. And to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You Have “Long” COVID and May Not Even Know It.
Trouble Accomplishing Mundane Tasks
One of the most common signs of dementia is when one starts to develop a problem completing familiar tasks.
For instance, all of a sudden, they start having trouble making a cup of coffee or even bringing a meal to the table. Moreover, they forget how to tie shoelaces or clean the floor.
What was once a piece of cake, unexpectedly, a person gets distracted too frequently or completely forgets/ignores the process.
When you observe drastic and repeated changes in their behavior, it is very advisable to seek a doctor or a practitioner.
Together, you can then investigate the condition further and diagnose whether he or she has dementia.
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Becoming Confused In Familiar Surroundings
This is different to: getting confused about the day of the week but working it out later.
Your parent may forget where they are and how they got there.; Along with losing track of dates, seasons and the time this is one of the most tell-tale signs of early onset dementia.
They may also struggle to understand something if its not happening immediately. This is because the mind of someone with dementia is mostly situated in the present and they find it difficult to comprehend the passage of time.
For example, your mum may tell you shes missed you because she thinks she hasnt seen you in a long time, but in reality you visited her last week. ;Another example includes time passing very slowly in a general sense: ten minutes might seem like an hour, an hour might seem like a day and so on.
When To See A Doctor For Memory Loss
Its time to consult a doctor when memory lapses become frequent enough or sufficiently noticeable to concern you or a family member. If you get to that point, make an appointment as soon as possible to talk with your primary physician and have a thorough physical examination. Even if youre not displaying all the necessary symptoms to indicate dementia, now may be a good time to take steps to prevent a small problem becoming a larger one.
Your doctor can assess your personal risk factors, evaluate your symptoms, eliminate reversible causes of memory loss, and help you obtain appropriate care. Early diagnosis can treat reversible causes of memory loss, lessen decline in vascular dementia, or improve the quality of life in Alzheimers or other types of dementia.
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Memory Loss And Recall Problems
Most adults become more forgetful and even lose some of their memories as they grow older, so it can be difficult to know when memory loss is cause for concern. If youre eventually able to remember the thing you forgot, whether its someones name, a word, or a missed meeting, chances are youre just experiencing the effects of normal aging.;
In its earliest stages, dementia makes it harder to recall recently learned information; it also makes you more likely to repeat yourself and forget appointments. When memory lapses limit your life or make it less enjoyable, its a good idea to have the problem checked out as soon as possible.;
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 Is The Treatment For Dementia
Although an individual with dementia should always be under medical care, family members handle much of the day-to-day care. Medical care should focus on optimizing the individual’s health and quality of life while helping family members cope with the many challenges of caring for a loved one with dementia. Medical care depends on the underlying condition, but it most often consists of medications and nondrug treatments such as behavioral therapy.
However, early investigation into the cause of dementia symptoms is urged because, as mentioned previously in the causes of dementia section. There are some conditions that when adequately treated may either limit or reverse dementia.