Dementia And Eyesight: 3 Common Changes And Behaviors
1. Field of vision narrowsTeepa explains that by the time were 75 years old, the normal changes related to aging reduce our normal peripheral vision a little bit, so were not able to see and notice as much as we would when we were younger .
When someone has dementia, their field of vision narrows to about 12 inches around. As Teepa says, its like wearing binoculars .
If you were to use binoculars and try to move around normally, it would be very difficult.
2. The brain shuts down information, making it harder to see things right in front of themAs dementia advances, the brain may find that the information coming in through two eyes is too overwhelming.
So, it effectively shuts down the information coming from one eye at that point, your older adult could basically be seeing through one eye .
That means they lose depth perception and cant tell if something is two-dimensional or three-dimensional.
That makes it hard for your older adult to know if something is a pattern in the carpet or an object on the floor, a real apple or a picture of an apple, or what the chair seats height is .
3. Changes in vision cause behavior changes that dont make sense to usThese changes in vision can cause someone to do things that seem strange to us.
Teepa shows how someone might seem like theyre picking at the air, but theyre actually trying to turn off the ceiling light because it seems much closer than it really is .
Stage : Early Stage Moderate Vascular Dementia
This is also one of the most important vascular dementia stages that everyone should not look down but watch out carefully for good! This stage is the only one wherein the signs and symptoms are clear for the first time. This is because the condition has advanced to the 4th stage and is very clear and evident. People suffering from vascular dementia in this stage tend to stay away from their family and friends. They find it hard to frame sentences and maintain a conversation.
This stage will last for 2-3 years before everything gets more serious if there is no treatment. The most effective way to treat this condition is to stimulate the individual who are suffering from this disorder to join a community workshop. At this place, he or she will be instructed to play games, which have effect on sharpening the motor and memory skills. In this stage, individual will be diagnosed with moderate vascular dementia.
This is actually also one out of the vascular dementia stages that a lot of people in the world have been diagnosed and have been trying to minimize the damages.
Causes And Signs Of Untreated Pain In Dementia
Experts estimate that at least 50% of people living with dementia experience daily pain, and research suggests that in those who have chronic pain, cognitive decline is likely to progress more quickly.
There are two ways that dementia can cause or worsen pain:
- Neurological changes associated with the underlying disease can affect pain centers in the brain.
- Cognitive decline may make a person unable to communicate their pain.
In the latter case, the pain can stem from a separate health condition that may go un- or undertreated. These conditions most often include osteoarthritis, urinary tract infections, falls, and pressure sores, all of which can cause significant pain.
Some research suggests that people with dementia may experience pain differently than those whose cognition is intact, while other experts argue that increased pain stems primarily from a reduced capability to express that pain. In either case, researchers tend to agree that people with dementia have a high risk of being under-treated for pain.
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How Is Vascular Dementia Diagnosed
In addition to a complete medical history and physical exam, your healthcare provider may order some of the following:
- Computed tomography . This imaging test uses X-rays and a computer to make horizontal, or axial images of the brain. CT scans are more detailed than general X-rays.
- FDG-PET scan. This is a PET scan of the brain that uses a special tracer to light up regions of the brain.
- Electroencephalogram . This test measures electrical activity in the brain
- Magnetic resonance imaging . This test uses large magnets, radiofrequencies, and a computer to make detailed images of the brain.
- Neuropsychological assessments. These tests can help sort out vascular dementia from other types of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
- Neuropsychiatric evaluation. This may be done to rule out a psychiatric condition that may resemble dementia.
How Is Vascular Dementia Linked To Stroke
When you have a stroke, the blood supply to part of your brain is cut off, killing brain cells. The damage from a stroke can cause problems with memory and thinking. For many people, these problems improve over time. If the problems dont improve or get worse this may be a sign of vascular dementia.
Vascular dementia can also be caused by a series of small strokes. These result in lots of small areas of damage in your brain. Often, these strokes can be so small that you don’t know you are having them. These are known as silent strokes.
Sometimes symptoms of vascular dementia can be confused with the effects of stroke. Both stroke and vascular dementia can cause problems with memory, thinking and mood. Strokes happen suddenly while the symptoms of vascular dementia often get worse over time. The difference is that vascular dementia gets worse over time. If youre unsure, go to see your GP.
Early Symptoms Of Dementia
Dementia is a collection of symptoms that can occur due to a variety of possible diseases. Dementia symptoms include impairments in thought, communication, and memory.
If you or your loved one is experiencing memory problems, dont immediately conclude that its dementia. A person needs to have at least two types of impairment that significantly interfere with everyday life to receive a dementia diagnosis.
In addition to difficulty remembering, the person may also experience impairments in:
Getting Help To Manage Finances And Legal Matters
There may be a time in the future when your symptoms mean youre no longer able to make decisions for yourself. Its important to plan for this while youre still able to, so you can ensure that your future is how you want it to be.
- A power of attorney is a legal document that allows you to choose someone to make decisions for you, when youre no longer able to make them yourself.
- An advance decision or advance statement sometimes called a living will, allows you to decline specific life-sustaining treatments you might be offered in the future if you become very ill.
- A will allows you to decide what happens to your money and possessions when you die. If you already have a will, you should make sure that its up-to-date. If you dont already have a will, then you should think about writing one. You can write a will yourself, but its sensible to have it checked by a solicitor to make sure it will be understood the way you want it to be.
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What Happens In Vascular Dementia
Vascular dementia can cause different symptoms depending on where the blood vessels are damaged in the brain. For example, a person who had a stroke may have sudden problems with memory, balance, or speech. However, a person can have several strokes that may be unnoticeably small, but the damage can add up over time.
Many people with vascular dementia have trouble with memory. Others may have difficulty with organization and solving complex problems, slowed thinking, or being easily distracted. People with vascular dementia may also have changes in mood or behavior, such as irritability, loss of interest, or depression.
Sometimes, people with vascular dementia have trouble with balance and movement. This might include weakness on one side of the body, and the symptoms may get worse over time.
Challenges In Pain Management
The primary challenge in managing pain in patients with dementia stems from the inability of the person to describe what they’re feeling. Based on just behaviors and reactions alone, it can difficult to tell the difference between a source of physical pain, such as pain related to a condition, hunger, or needing to use the bathroom, versus an emotional pain, such as loneliness or boredom.
Another challenge for pain management in this population stems from caregiver inability to properly assess or treat the pain, which could lead to a misdiagnosis. A person could be diagnosed as being anxious or depressed and prescribed psychotropic medicationswhich ultimately cannot help if the suffering is not due to an underlying mental health condition.
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How Hospice Can Help With End
In addition to helping you in recognizing the signs of dying in the elderly with dementia, bringing in hospice care will help with the physical and emotional demands of caregiving. Nurses will be able to adjust medication and care plans as the individuals needs change. Aides can help with bathing, grooming, and other personal care. Social workers can help organize resources for the patient and family. Chaplains and bereavement specials can help the family with any emotional or spiritual needs. Additionally, family members can contact hospice at any time, and do not need to wait until it is recommended by the patient’s physician.
To learn more about the criteria for hospice eligibility or to schedule a consultation, please contact Crossroads using the blue Help Center bar on this page for more information on how we can help provide support to individuals with dementia and their families.
Causes Of Vascular Dementia
Vascular dementia is caused by reduced blood flow to the brain, which damages and eventually kills brain cells.
This can happen as a result of:
- narrowing and blockage of the small blood vessels inside the brain
- a single stroke, where the blood supply to part of the brain is suddenly cut off
- lots of “mini strokes” that cause tiny but widespread damage to the brain
Tackling these might reduce your risk of vascular dementia in later life, although it’s not yet clear exactly how much your risk of dementia can be reduced.
What Can I Expect If I Have Been Diagnosed With Vascular Dementia
Vascular dementia may get worse over time. The changes can happen in sudden steps or gradually. Each person has their own unique journey. Generally, people with vascular dementia have a shorter life expectancy due to increased risk for additional stroke or heart attack. Treatments may help slow the progress of the disease. You and your healthcare provider will work together to develop a treatment plan best suited for managing your symptoms and stage of disease.
Stage : Moderately Severe Cognitive Decline
Stage 5 is when your loved one is likely to need help with routine tasks, like dressing or bathing. They may require a home caregiver or to move to a memory care community. Other symptoms include:
- Memory loss of personal details and current events
- Reduced mental acuity and problem-solving ability
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Is Vascular Dementia Hereditary
Vascular dementia isnt hereditary, but the disorders that cause vascular dementia can be.
There are two rare forms of vascular dementia that are caused by mutations in certain genes. Both mainly affect the small blood vessels in the white matter of your brain. They are:
- CADASIL: Cerebral autosomal dominant arteriopathy with subcortical infarcts and leukoencephalopathy.
- CARASIL: Cerebral autosomal recessive arteriopathy with subcortical infarcts and leukoencephalopathy.
CADASIL requires only one parent to have the condition for your child to inherit it CARASIL needs both parents to be carriers of the condition for your child to inherit it and show symptoms.
Vascular Dementia Signs And Symptoms
Vascular dementia affects different people in different ways and the speed of the progression also varies from person to person. Some symptoms may be similar to those of other types of dementia and usually reflect increasing difficulty to perform everyday activities like eating, dressing, or shopping.
Behavioral and physical symptoms can come on dramatically or very gradually, although it appears that a prolonged period of TIAsthe mini-strokes discussed aboveleads to a gradual decline in memory, whereas a bigger stroke can produce profound symptoms immediately. Regardless of the rate of appearance, vascular dementia typically progresses in a stepwise fashion, where lapses in memory and reasoning abilities are followed by periods of stability, only to give way to further decline.
|Common Signs and Symptoms of Vascular Dementia|
|Mental and Emotional Signs and Symptoms|
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Dizziness Could Be A Sign Of Dementia Risk
WEDNESDAY, July 25, 2018 — Are you a middle-aged person who tends to feel a little woozy when you stand up?
If so, new research suggests you might need to worry more than most about developing dementia later in life.
The study focused on a condition called orthostatic hypotension — where blood pressure drops sharply when a person stands up quickly. That can trigger sudden symptoms like dizziness, lightheadedness and blurry vision.
The condition is common in elderly people — affecting about 30 percent of those aged 70 and older, based on a recent study. It is much less prevalent in younger adults, but when it happens there is cause for concern.
Researchers found that middle-aged people with the blood pressure condition were 54 percent more likely to develop dementia over the next 25 years, versus those without the condition.
The reasons why are not entirely clear, according to senior researcher Dr. Rebecca Gottesman. She’s a professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
But, Gottesman said, research has shown that health conditions affecting the blood vessels — including high blood pressure and diabetes — are also linked to a higher risk of dementia. It’s thought that impaired blood flow to the brain might be why.
So in theory, Gottesman explained, repeated episodes of orthostatic hypotension could contribute to dementia risk by temporarily lowering the brain’s blood supply.
How Are They Diagnosed
Recurring headaches and severe headaches should be diagnosed by your doctor. Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms.
You may want to track your headaches and note the level of pain, duration, possible triggers, and other symptoms to help your doctor diagnose the condition.
Your doctor will likely be able to diagnose the headaches based on a physical exam and your tracked information.
You should see a doctor immediately if your headaches are:
- accompanied by a stiff neck
- related to a fever
- linked to pain in your ears or eyes
- recurrent, especially in children
Treatment for migraines, cluster headaches, and secondary headaches vary in nature.
Both migraines and cluster headaches may be reduced by avoiding triggers, but additional treatment may be necessary.
Migraines may be managed at home by lying down in a dark, quiet place and using a cool compress. You may also need medications to reduce migraines. These include over-the-counter and prescription options.
Some medications prevent migraines from occurring, and others target pain during an active migraine.
Cluster headaches may also require medication. And there are more invasive treatment options available for cluster headaches, including nerve stimulation and surgery.
Secondary headaches will likely be treated with the appropriate interventions for the underlying condition thats causing the headache.
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Stage : Mild Dementia
At this stage, individuals may start to become socially withdrawn and show changes in personality and mood. Denial of symptoms as a defense mechanism is commonly seen in stage 4. Behaviors to look for include:
- Difficulty remembering things about one’s personal history
- Difficulty recognizing faces and people
In stage 4 dementia, individuals have no trouble recognizing familiar faces or traveling to familiar locations. However, patients in this stage will often avoid challenging situations in order to hide symptoms or prevent stress or anxiety.
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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Dying From Dementia With Late
The death of your loved one can be a hard concept to wrap your head around and accept. But knowing what to expect can help you when your loved one has late-stage dementia. It might help to understand what’s coming in the future so you can prepare emotionally and practically.
This article explains how dementia progresses and what happens during late-stage dementia.
Are Any Medications Specifically Approved To Treat Vascular Dementia
No medications are specifically approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat vascular dementia. However, many drugs can be prescribed to manage your risk factors for vascular dementia, such as drugs to treat high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure, as well as to manage diabetes and its complications. Your healthcare provider may prescribe medications used to treat Alzheimers disease if they think youll benefit based on your specific symptoms.
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