Dementia Can Manifest In Many Different Ways
Symptoms associated with dementia may include memory loss, confusion, and disorientation, according to the Mayo Clinic. But cognitive decline can manifest in unexpected ways as well, including having problems managing money and experiencing certain food cravings.
Personality and mood changes are more commonly known potential symptoms, however. “People with dementia often act in ways that are very different from their ‘old self,’ and these changes can be hard for family and friends to deal with,” according to the experts at the Weill Institute for Neurosciences. They go on to explain the reasons for these behavior changes, writing that, “In dementia, it is usually because the person is losing neurons in parts of the brain. The behavior changes you see often depend on which part of the brain is losing cells.”
Depression is another early sign of cognitive decline, they say: “People with dementia often suffer from depression, especially in the early to moderate stages of the disease when they have some awareness of losing their abilities.” But depression is a condition with many potential causes, and it isn’t necessarily a symptom of dementia.
As Therapists What We Can Do To Help
As therapists, we recognize that one of the most powerful things we can offer to any person regardless of their age is the value of caring.
For us, caring means listening attentively, relating with compassion, and not judging anyone for speaking about their symptoms or lifes struggle. We believe that knowledge without caring does very little.
The practice of caring accompanied by clinical knowledge can be an excellent approach to help you live a more pleasant and meaningful life.
Conditions Commonly Mistaken As Dementia
Did your elderly loved one get diagnosed with dementia? If so, you may be wondering if that is really what is going on? Sometimes, elderly people are misdiagnosed. There might be another health condition that is mimicking the symptoms of dementia. Learning about these conditions can help you to stand up for your elderly loved one if you dont believe they have dementia.
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How Is Parkinson Disease Treated
Parkinson disease can’t be cured. But there are different therapies that can help control symptoms. Many of the medicines used to treat Parkinson disease help to offset the loss of the chemical dopamine in the brain. Most of these medicines help manage symptoms quite successfully.
A procedure called deep brain stimulation may also be used to treat Parkinson disease. It sends electrical impulses into the brain to help control tremors and twitching movements. Some people may need surgery to manage Parkinson disease symptoms. Surgery may involve destroying small areas of brain tissue responsible for the symptoms. However, these surgeries are rarely done since deep brain stimulation is now available.
Going For An Assessment
The list of conditions and problems above isnt everything. Theres a whole range of things that can occasionally cause dementia-like symptoms for some people.
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Frontotemporal Dementia Versus Alzheimers Disease
AD is the most common dementia in older people. Therefore, it is often one of the first diseases a doctor considers. But Alzheimers disease usually begins with memory loss, while FTD is typically a behavior or language disorder.
- The probability of AD is strongly affected by the age of the person showing the symptoms. The odds of having Alzheimers disease increase markedly the older you get, while the odds for FTD may decrease with age.
- FTD often begins with distinct behavioral changes while people with Alzheimers disease in the early stages tend to remain socially skillful despite their memory problems . In advanced AD, people generally have trouble managing their finances, show poor judgment and irritability, and may become equally difficult to manage as people with FTD.
- Apathy in AD patients is milder, whereas apathy in FTD patients is more pervasive and more often reflects a lack of concern for others or lack of initiative.
- People with AD usually have an early and profound difficulty learning and retaining new information. As the disease progresses, memory for new and old information is lost. These memory problems may lead to language problems as well, but the root is a problem remembering. In contrast, most mildly impaired FTD patients generally know the day or time and their location, and they are able to keep track of recent events. They may not test well, but that may be due to lack of concern or effort in the testing situation.
Other Disorders With Dementia
Many other conditions, in addition to the ones above, can cause symptoms that mimic dementia or Alzheimers disease, including disorders of the heart, lungs, liver or kidneys, thyroid problems, sodium or vitamin B12 deficiency, some cancers, pain, constipation, heavy alcohol use and depression.
Many of those conditions are treatable, and cognitive symptoms can be reversed, as long as they are properly diagnosed, Ellison and Hashmi say. A routine metabolic blood test and a urinalysis, along with neuroimaging, will pick up many of those disorders.
If tests come back normal, experts suggest asking for a referral to a geriatrician who specializes in older adults, who will do a comprehensive assessment before accepting a diagnosis of Alzheimers disease or dementia.
Its very important for clinicians and patients to recognize that dementia is not a normal expected part of aging, Ellison says. About 11 percent of adults 65 and older have Alzheimers disease, the most common form of dementia, according to the Alzheimers Association. Everyone deserves a good workup to identify treatable and reversible conditions, Ellison adds.
Michelle Crouch is a contributing writer who has covered health and personal finance for some of the nation’s top consumer publications. Her work has appeared in Reader’s Digest, Real Simple, Prevention, The Washington Post and The New York Times.
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What Are The Complications Of Parkinson Disease
Parkinson disease causes physical symptoms at first. Problems with cognitive function, including forgetfulness and trouble with concentration, may arise later. As the disease gets worse with time, many people develop dementia. This can cause profound memory loss and makes it hard to maintain relationships.
Parkinson disease dementia can cause problems with:
- Speaking and communicating with others
- Problem solving
- Paying attention
If you have Parkinson disease and dementia, in time, you likely won’t be able to live by yourself. Dementia affects your ability to care of yourself, even if you can still physically do daily tasks.
Experts don’t understand how or why dementia often occurs with Parkinson disease. Its clear, though, that dementia and problems with cognitive function are linked to changes in the brain that cause problems with movement. As with Parkinson disease, dementia occurs when nerve cells degenerate, leading to chemical changes in the brain. Parkinson disease dementia may be treated with medicines also used to treat Alzheimer’s disease, another type of dementia.
Problems With Vision And Hearing
Sensory limitations, too, can create a picture like cognitive impairment that worsens as the affected person becomes increasingly isolated as a result of hearing or vision problems. Recent research has emphasized that there is a relationship between hearing loss and the risk for development of cognitive impairment.
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Why Is Depression Often Mistaken For Dementia
When it comes to taking care of their aging loved ones, families are often careful to take notice of changes to the persons personality, mood, and behaviour. Oftentimes, two conditions come to mind when these distinct changes take place: depression or dementia.
There are many symptoms these illnesses share, which is why it can be difficult to differentiate between the two. Generally, the distinction can be made by understanding what is generally behind both conditions:
- Dementia: A chronic, progressive disease caused by brain disease or injury that presents itself through impaired memory, personality change, and decreased reasoning
- Depression: A mental health disorder that affects behaviour, thinking, and disposition
- Delirium: Often caused by being put into a new place, dehydration, or medication
Another important distinction between the two is that depression is considered a mental health issue, while dementia, although it can affect overall mental well-being, is not.
A third condition that is sometimes confused with depression or dementia is delirium. Delirium is a short-term memory loss that results from a person being put into new, unfamiliar surroundings or living conditions, becoming dehydrated, or having a reaction to medication. This condition is often reversible if treated early, whereas most types of depression and dementia can be treated but arent reversible.
What are the symptoms of dementia in seniors?
Here are some of the signs to watch out for:
Infections Can Cause Mental Symptoms
If fighting an infection, an older person can be affected cognitively to a greater degree than a younger person might be. Urinary tract infections, for example, can wreak havoc with mental clarity. Even if there is no background of infections, a person who is showing cognitive decline needs a thorough physical. This physical should include checking for any level of infection.
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A Condition That Can Fool Even Experienced Doctors
In fact, Mrs. M was suffering from delirium, at that time called acute organic brain syndrome that results in rapidly changing mental states, and causes confusion and changes in behavior. She returned to her previous healthy cognitive status very quickly after her eye patches were removed and her post-operative recovery continued.
The lesson I learned from her recovery was that delirium can fool even experienced doctors into misdiagnosing dementia, which is now called Major Neurocognitive Disorder . Confustion, disorientation, and memory impairment are signs of delirium that are shared with MaND.
Delirium looks very different, though, in other ways. It comes on rapidly, often after a medical or surgical event or toxic combination of medications. It is accompanied by shifting alertness, resulting in moments of sleepiness alternating with moments of agitation. Delirium is more often associated with visual hallucinations or psychotic delusions than MaND. And, most importantly, delirium can often be reversed once the cause is found and treated.
Its causes are many and include infection, metabolic disturbances, toxic medication reactions, withdrawal from alcohol, and the effects of head injury, just to name a few.
What makes this especially tragic is that distinguishing delirium from MaND is usually not too difficult and just requires careful attention to history, symptoms, physical and mental status examinations, and the results of common laboratory tests.
Its Not Necessarily Alzheimers
More than 50 conditions can cause or mimic the symptoms of dementia, and a small percentage of dementias are reversible. Two common examples are dementia caused by vitamin B12 deficiency or an underactive thyroid . Getting the right diagnosis is important so that you know what options you have, because symptoms subside when the underlying problem is treated.
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Its Not Always Dementia: Top 5 Misdiagnoses
If youve been forgetting appointments or struggling to remember words or details, you might be concerned that these are symptoms of long term memory loss, such as dementia or Alzheimers disease.
Although the Alzheimers Association estimates that the number of Americans living with the disease could rise from 5 million to 16 million by 2050, researchers who studied nearly 1,000 people listed in the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center database found that 1 in 5 Alzheimers cases may be misdiagnosed.
Its a complex disease and a complex diagnostic process, and there is limited availability of experts, says Marc Agronin, a geriatric psychiatrist at Miami Jewish Health Systems and the author of the book The End of Old Age: Living a Longer, More Purposeful Life .
Often, people who experience subtle short-term memory changes and are easily confused dont have Alzheimers disease. Many treatable conditions have symptoms similar to Alzheimers disease or another form of dementia, and without the right diagnostic tools or training, some doctors have a hard time telling them apart.
Here are the top fiveoften treatableconditions that are sometimes mistaken for Alzheimers.
1. Other Neurocognitive Disorders
I had one patient who was rapidly deteriorating, Agronin says. His doctor said it was Alzheimers disease but didnt even do a brain scan. Turns out, the patient had a large benign tumor. He had it removed and lived another 10 years.
Thyroid Problems Can Cause Confusion
The thyroid secretes hormones that affect the whole body. When something goes wrong in this gland people can feel sluggish, confused and worn out. Thyroid problems generally develop slowly, so its not always easy to know when the problems began. If you are having vague symptoms that your doctor is having trouble pinning down, he or she may suggest a thyroid test. Thats generally a good call and could possibly uncover your problem.
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Lung And Heart Disorders
Disorders of the heart and lungs are some of the top answers available for anyone who asks what conditions can be mistaken for dementia.
This is mainly because the two organs provide nutrients and oxygen to the brain hence, they are essential for normal functioning.
As people age, they may develop vascular diseases that interrupt cardiac output. Others can get lung diseases that affect oxygen delivery to the brain.
When this happens the affected person may have issues with executive function, memory, and alertness which can fool people into thinking that it is dementia.
Top 6 Conditions That Are Commonly Misdiagnosed As Alzheimers Disease
February 9, 2021
When a grandparent or parent becomes forgetful, it may be tempting to associate this type of behavior with Alzheimers disease or another form of dementia. Although memory loss and poor judgement are symptoms of Alzheimers, there are a large number of conditions that share these symptoms. From Delirium, Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus, to Mild Cognitive Impairment, the source of your parents poor recollection may not be related to dementia. To help you determine the source of your family members memory issues, we have compiled a list of conditions that are commonly misdiagnosed as Alzheimers disease.
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This Common Condition Can Be Mistaken For Dementia W3schools
Problems that involve cognitive drop, this sort of as Alzheimersa progressive ailment that is the most typical cause of dementiaarent just prevalent theyre on the increase. Alzheimers Condition Intercontinental experiences that additional than 55 million men and women across the world ended up living with dementia in 2020. That quantity is predicted to double just about every 20 many years, building for 139 million people with dementia in 2050.
Although there is presently no overcome for dementia, an early analysis can lead to interventions that may perhaps assist sluggish its development. That makes catching the initial indications of cognitive drop crucial. Even so, you can find a single typical affliction that can simply be mistaken for dementia, and may perhaps direct to a misdiagnosis. Study on to study what it isand when medical practitioners say it is probable to establish into dementia down the line.
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Signs or symptoms connected with dementia could involve memory reduction, confusion, and disorientation, according to the Mayo Clinic. But cognitive decline can manifest in sudden methods as perfectly, including owning problems handling dollars and encountering certain foodstuff cravings.
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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
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Memory Changes That Happen With Age
As we get older, our memory naturally starts to get a little worse. But there is a difference between these expected memory problems and dementia symptoms. Forgetting your keys or walking into a room and forgetting what you went in there for are normal memory lapses. But if memory lapses are starting to affect everyday life and are getting worse, they may be a sign of dementia.
Reversible Health Conditions That Can Mimic Dementia
If youve ever forgotten where you parked your car, lost your keys in your own house, or walked into a room and forgot why you went there, you are not alone. We all have days like that. But often as we get older, forgetfulness tends to cause more than just temporary anxiety. We sometimes jump to the conclusion that we are getting dementia or have Alzheimers disease.
Dementia and Alzheimers disease are words that strike fear into many of us. Growing older, losing our ability to remember, think, reason, speak, or care for ourselves is not the way we want to view our own aging or that of our loved ones.
There are many forms of dementia, including Alzheimers disease. Alzheimers itself does not have a specific test to determine its presence doctors merely rely on a cluster of symptoms to recognize it. Doctors often diagnose dementia as a generalized disorder that affects the brain causing memory loss, confusion, personality changes, and even physical manifestations.
Other symptoms of dementia of various types include:
short-term memory loss loss of sense of direction difficulty recognizing loved ones and familiar faces difficulties walking or moving around
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