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.
Statistics Of Dementia In Men
Approximately 14 percent of Americans 71 years and older have some form of dementia, with the prevalence being slightly higher in women. Sixteen percent of women 71 years and older suffer from dementia, compared to only 11 percent of men. These results were found during the Aging, Demographics, and Memory Study .
Researchers and scientist are still unclear why this gender difference exists, but theorize that the longer life expectancies of women may play a factor. Other possible reasons may be hormonal differences between men and women, genetic differences , and even historical differences in education, as in the past, educated women were a rarity and it is known that low education is a risk factor for the development of Alzheimers.
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.
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Early Diagnosis Is Beneficial
Many companies are researching and creating products and activities suitable for those living with dementia, but early detection is necessary. People usually dont go to the doctor earlier enough for fear of getting confirmation of their doubts.
And with the corona epidemic, people are avoiding hospitals as much as possible. However, what they fail to understand is that the delay only makes the situation worse. Often drugs and treatments work better when introduced earlier on. In fact, detecting the initial signs of dementia can allow doctors to manage treatable underlying conditions such as abnormal thyroid function or a vitamin deficiency.
Moreover, early detection is crucial for diseases like Alzheimers, primarily to slow down its progression. With this in mind, a range of online tests has been created to help those in doubt make sense of the situation.
Where To Find Help
When your loved one is displaying troubling symptoms, a trip to a;primary care physician is often the first step. But to get a definitive diagnosis, youll need to see a specialist such as a neurologist, geriatrician or geriatric psychiatrist.
If you cant find one, the National Institute on Aging recommends contacting the neurology department of a nearby medical school. Some hospitals also have clinics that focus on dementia.
Ailments can mimic dementia
Discuss Test Results With A Doctor
Dont assume that the test results are equal to a diagnosis of any kind.
The SAGE test is a screening tool that helps doctors detect early signs of cognitive impairment that are typically not noticeable during a normal office visit.
When the test is repeated over time, doctors can watch for changes in cognitive ability. Being able to measure changes helps them detect and treat health conditions early.
Thats why its important to bring the completed test to the doctor to have it reviewed. If there are signs of cognitive impairment, they may recommend further testing.
Problems Speaking Or Writing
In the early stages of dementia, it can be difficult for your loved one to follow conversations. You may observe your loved one stopping in the middle of a conversation with no idea how to continue.
They may also struggle to find the right words. We all forget words from time to time and eventually remember them. People with dementia often cannot retrieve the word even after trying many times. Your loved one may also begin to repeat sentences within a conversation or say the same thing repeatedly in a short period of time.
What You Might Notice: Youve called your dad up to let him know about your plans for Christmas. He sounds agreeable but as you are saying goodbye he says, When are the kids coming for Easter? I need to buy somesomebox wrapping.
How You Can Help: If you know what they are trying to say, dont correct. Just agree and calmly provide the needed word. If they repeat themselves, remember that they are not aware of it. Listen and then continue the conversation in a different direction.
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What Other Resources Are Available To Me
The Alzheimers Association has a 24/7 helpline for people who need support, or you can join an online community. Your family doctor can also provide you with contacts in your area. Interested in contributing to a cure? Consider joining a research study. Alzheimers Los Angeles has a helpline providing care and support for families in the Los Angeles area.
For more than 30 years, Keck Medicine of USC physicians and researchers have made major contributions to understanding Alzheimers disease, vascular brain injury and memory problems.
If you are in the Los Angeles area and are looking for exceptional care from some of the top Alzheimers specialists in the world, schedule an appointment, by calling or by visiting
Know The Signs Of Dementia
Early diagnosis can help people with dementia plan for the future, and might mean they can access interventions that help slow down the disease. Being familiar with the signs of dementia can help people receive a diagnosis as early as possible.
Early signs that a person might have dementia can include:
- being vague in everyday conversations
- memory loss that affects day-to-day function
- short term memory loss
- difficulty performing everyday tasks and taking longer to do routine tasks
- losing enthusiasm or interest in regular activities
- difficulties in thinking or saying the right words
- changes in personality or behaviour
- finding it difficult to follow instructions
- finding it difficult to follow stories
- increased emotional unpredictability.
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One Of The Challenges Of Entering Mid
Doctors at Torontos Baycrest Hospital saw the need for a private, science based test that adults could take unsupervised at home to help them answer the question: Is my memory normal or should I see my doctor?;
The Cogniciti test works like an online thermometer for the mind. The web-based cognitive test;takes about 20 minutes to complete and is targeted for the 50-79 age bracket. Since its launch one year ago this May, its had 108,000 visits from 76,000 adults who have completed 34,000 assessments.
We spoke with Dr. Angela Troyer, Professional Practice Chief of Psychology and Program Director, Neuropsychology and Cognitive Health, at Baycrest Health Sciences in Toronto, and Michael Meagher, President of Cogniciti Inc. to discuss this test, and to answer our questions on memory loss and aging.
What Test-Takers Get
- Each of the test completers has received a report with their brain health score relative to adults of similar age/education.
- A yes/no answer to the question of whether a doctor visit is recommended.;
- All site visitors, whether they complete a test or not, get access to a rich library of science-based brain health information and tools.
How Many Canadians Are Diagnosed With Alzheimer or Dementia?
Barriers to Diagnosis
Are Senior Moments Normal?
When Should We Worry?
What Causes Dementia?
The most common causes of dementia are:
- Alzheimer disease
- Cardiovascular disease
- Lewy-body disease
- Frontotemporal dementia
Does A Stress or Trauma Harm Memory?
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.
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What Are The Benefits Of Early Diagnosis
Early planning and assistanceEarly diagnosis enables a person with dementia and their family to receive help in understanding and adjusting to the diagnosis and to prepare for the future in an appropriate way. This might include making legal and financial arrangements, changes to living arrangements, and finding out about aids and services that will enhance quality of life for people with dementia and their family and friends. Early diagnosis can allow the individual to have an active role in decision making and planning for the future while families can educate themselves about the disease and learn effective ways of interacting with the person with dementia.
Checking concernsChanges in memory and thinking ability can be very worrying. Symptoms of dementia can be caused by several different diseases and conditions, some of which are treatable and reversible, including infections, depression, medication side-effects or nutritional deficiencies. The sooner the cause of dementia symptoms is identified, the sooner treatment can begin. Asking a doctor to check any symptoms and to identify the cause of symptoms can bring relief to people and their families.
What Treatment Is Available For Alzheimers Or Dementia
There is no cure for dementia. But people with Alzheimers might be prescribed a type of medication called cholinesterase inhibitors. There are three options: Donepezil, Rivastigmine or Galantamine. These medications work by preventing the breakdown of a chemical messenger which helps nerve cells in the brain communicate with each other.
Memantine can also be prescribed in the moderate to severe stage of Alzheimers disease alongside one of the above medications. This medication blocks the effects of excess glutamate in the brain and can help people with Alzheimers show some improvement with their memory, reasoning, language and attention.
If vascular dementia is caused by or related to heart disease, diabetes, or strokes, taking medication to control these conditions may prevent your dementia from getting worse.
Living healthily is the most important change you can make to help to reduce your risk of developing dementia or to slow down its progression, once diagnosed. There is evidence that what is good for the heart is also good for the brain. You can improve your brain function and overall health by eating a healthy balanced diet, giving up smoking, taking 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity per week e.g. brisk walking or cycling; and drinking alcohol in moderation. It is recommended that anyone over the age of 40 should attend an NHS Health Check every five years for early identification and treatment of physical health issues.
Modified Clinical Dementia Rating Test
The modified version of the CDR test allows a family member or anyone familiar with the individual to answer questions about their mental health. Its a short and straight-forward test, taking no more than 3 minutes to complete. And the best thing is that results are received immediately.
Even though the 6 questions by no means can provide a definitive diagnosis, it can give family members a heads up about any initial conditions that could warrant further testing.
What Causes Dementia To Progress So Quickly
Dementia symptoms are typically mild at first and progress over time to moderate and then severe, over several years. The speed as which dementia progresses varies between individuals, but some factors can cause dementia to progress more quickly. These include the persons age, the type of dementia, and other long term health problems. Dementia tends to progress more slowly in people over 65 compared to younger people below 65.
Why Spotting The Early Signs Of Dementia Is So Important
There is currently no cure for dementia, but recognising the early signs and symptoms is still very important. We explore why spotting the early signs matters for everyone affected by dementia and why we support research to improve diagnosis.
Headlines like A simple test to diagnose dementia or New blood test improves diagnosis of dementia appear in the media every other day.;
You could be forgiven for thinking, why is diagnosis so important? Especially as we dont have treatments that can stop the condition from progressing.
Its important to remember there are lots of ways we can support people to live well with dementia, even in the absence of drugs to slow the progression.;
The truth is, diagnosis goes hand-in-hand with understanding the causes of dementia and developing new treatments. Diagnosis rates are improving across the UK, but there are still many people living in limbo with symptoms they dont fully understand.
Sadly, the tests used to diagnose people today are not always accurate and it can take months or even years to get the right diagnosis.;
Who Else May A Person With Dementia See
A person with suspected dementia may come into contact with a range of health and social care professionals. Consultants usually operate within specialist teams, including nurses, psychologists, occupational therapists and social workers. Nurses who work with people with dementia, and those caring for them, include: community mental health nurses , who work in the community, providing treatment, care and support for people with mental health problems and dementia; district or community nurses, who provide care and advice for people living at home; and practice nurses, who work with doctors in GP practices.
Clinical psychologists, who often work with consultants in memory clinics, assess memory and learning abilities. Occupational therapists can advise people on ways of maintaining their independence including carrying out adaptations and using special equipment. Social workers may be involved in assessing someones need for care services and home care workers may be brought in to help with personal and other care. Physiotherapists may be asked to advise on exercise for people, particularly in the early stages of dementia. Dieticians may be asked to provide guidance on nutrition, poor appetite, weight loss or weight gain.
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Misplacing Things And Losing The Ability To Retrace Steps
Misplacing things could mean putting objects in strange places, like placing car keys in the microwave, and it is a common sign of dementia. Those struggling may also have difficulty in retracing their steps to find the things theyve lost. This lack of ability to retrace steps differentiates this as a sign of dementia versus a normal sign of aging. It can be both dangerous and frustrating. As the disease progresses, the afflicted person may accuse others of stealing things that have been misplaced.
During the early stages of dementia, decision-making is impacted and can cause poor judgment. People may spend money foolishly or have a hard time remembering to feed and walk a pet. They may also pay less attention to grooming and personal hygiene. Those struggling with dementia are especially susceptible to scams involving money. One poor decision should not be considered an indicator of dementia though. Instead, look for a pattern which might include things like constantly wearing summer dresses even though its winter, or walking in a busy area and not paying attention to traffic lights.
Why Would Anyone Want An Early Alzheimers Diagnosis
The SAGE test is useful because it helps you understand if your concerns are something to be worried about.
If the results seem to indicate that there could be a problem, you might think theres no point in talking with the doctor because theres no cure for dementia.
The most important is that a treatable condition could be the cause of cognitive impairment. Finding out sooner means getting treatment ASAP to eliminate the cognitive symptoms.
If the cognitive impairment is caused by Alzheimers or dementia, a major benefit is that starting treatment early is far more effective in managing symptoms and delaying progression of the disease.
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Some Questions You May Wish To Ask You Doctor Regarding Tests Used In Diagnosing Dementia
- What tests will be conducted?
- Who will be performing the tests and how long will it take?
- Should I prepare for the tests in any way?
- Will any of the tests involve pain or discomfort?
- Will there be any cost involved?
- What follow-up will be necessary and who will follow up?
- How will I be informed of the test results and the diagnosis?
Dementia But What Kind
Rather than one specific disease, dementia describes a group of symptoms that are caused by disorders affecting the brain. There are more than a dozen types of dementia, including rare conditions and others that may develop from other brain disorders, like Parkinsons disease or Huntingtons disease.
Here are the five most diagnosed forms of dementia:
Alzheimers disease is the most common type of dementia, accounting for up to 80 per cent of all diagnoses. Generally, Alzheimers affects most areas of the brain as it progresses and can therefore involve changes in memory, language, problem solving, mood and behaviour.
Vascular dementia, the second-most-common type, happens when there is a blockage to the brains blood supply, which causes brain cells to be deprived of oxygen and die. Strokes, transient ischemic attacks and blood-vessel disease are common causes of vascular dementia and can affect different brain areas.
Lewy body dementia is caused by abnormal deposits of a protein called alpha-synuclein inside the brains nerve cells. This protein, which destroys brain cells, is also found in people with Parkinsons disease. Areas of the brain involved in thinking, movement and visual processing are most affected.
Mixed dementia occurs when a person has at least two different types of dementia, most often Alzheimers disease and vascular dementia. Studies reveal its much more common than previously thought.
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