Stage : Moderately Severe Dementia
When the patient begins to forget the names of their children, spouse, or primary caregivers, they are most likely entering stage 6 of dementia and will need full time care. In the sixth stage, patients are generally unaware of their surroundings, cannot recall recent events, and have skewed memories of their personal past. Caregivers and loved ones should watch for:
- Delusional behavior
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
Can You Die From Dementia And How Does It Kill You
Many people worry about developing dementia one day. However, experts say there are things you can do to by more than 30 percent. In this article, we’ll cover some of the easy lifestyle changes you can make to improve your odds of staying healthy.
If you have dementia, you may be wondering what it might mean for your long-term health. Know that it’s not the type of disorder that can shorten your life expectancy, but it may make you more susceptible to contracting certain illnesses. We’ll talk about that in more detail later on, and we’ll share some suggestions to ease your fears and worries.
What Will Cause Death?
For many, dementia is unfathomable. It’s scary to think about losing memories and the ability to function normally. If you have been diagnosed with dementia, know someone who has, or are just curious about the subject, you may wonder how a person with dementia dies.
It’s possible that you could die from complications of dementia, but you’re unlikely to die from the disease itself. For example, dementia could damage your brain over time to the point that you lose the ability to breathe and therefore die. However, for many patients, this is not the case.
Even though there are around 50 million people worldwide who have dementia, you’re not destined to get it. There are billions of people who don’t have it and who will never get it.
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What Are The Most Common Types Of Dementia
- Alzheimers disease. This is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for 60 to 80 percent of cases. It is caused by specific changes in the brain. The trademark symptom is trouble remembering recent events, such as a conversation that occurred minutes or hours ago, while difficulty remembering more distant memories occurs later in the disease. Other concerns like difficulty with walking or talking or personality changes also come later. Family history is the most important risk factor. Having a first-degree relative with Alzheimers disease increases the risk of developing it by 10 to 30 percent.
- Vascular dementia. About 10 percent of dementia cases are linked to strokes or other issues with blood flow to the brain. Diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol are also risk factors. Symptoms vary depending on the area and size of the brain impacted. The disease progresses in a step-wise fashion, meaning symptoms will suddenly get worse as the individual gets more strokes or mini-strokes.
- Lewy body dementia. In addition to more typical symptoms like memory loss, people with this form of dementia may have movement or balance problems like stiffness or trembling. Many people also experience changes in alertness including daytime sleepiness, confusion or staring spells. They may also have trouble sleeping at night or may experience visual hallucinations .
Myth: Theres No Point Getting A Diagnosis As It Cant Be Treated
Although there is currently no cure, that does not mean Alzheimers cannot be treated.
The drug treatments that we have at the moment dont stop the changes in the brain, they just treat the symptoms, says Dr Beanland. Its a bit like the way paracetamol will help toothache, but doesnt actually treat the root cause. So the drugs can help improve memory and concentration, but after a period of time around 12 months they stop giving the same benefit.
He points out that in the States, the US Food and Drug Administration approved a drug intended to treat the underlying disease in June 2021. Its the first drug of this type known as disease-modifying agents to be approved, but there are a few in the pipeline, he says. I dont know if it will get approval from NICE as the approvals process that weighs up the costs, risks and benefits is different here, but there are some other interesting and promising treatments currently in trials, so it is definitely a case of watch this space.
Ultimately the hope is that a blood test could be developed that will identify Alzheimers before any symptoms become apparent and then it would be possible to monitor people and start treating them with disease-modifying drugs sooner rather than later.
Using this approach, it might be possible to delay dementia by 10 to 20 years, says Dr Beanland. Weve made great progress, but theres still a lot more work to do.
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What Are The Main Types Of Dementia
Dementia isn’t a disease in itself, it’s a term used to describe symptoms caused by other diseases that affect the brain. Knowing the type of dementia means treatment can be more specific to an individual’s needs.
The most common types of dementia are:
Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia that targets the part of the brain that controls memory, language and thought. Alzheimer’s and dementia often get confused with one another, which can cause upset and confusion.
Vascular dementia is the second most common type of dementia, after Alzheimer’s disease. This type of dementia is caused when the brain becomes damaged due to lack of blood supply, for instance following a stroke.
Other types of dementia
There are many other, rarer, types of dementia such as dementia with Lewy bodies or frontotemporal dementia. Conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease may lead to someone developing dementia.
The many different types and related conditions can be confusing and overwhelming if you have received a dementia diagnosis or know someone with it. Ask your doctor if you have any questions.
Dementia in the UK
- 850,000 people have dementia in the UK.
- 1 in 6 people over 80 have dementia.
- Only 43% of people with dementia have actually been diagnosed.
Why Early Diagnosis Of Dementia Is Important
Dementia is a profoundly life-changing condition and reactions to a diagnosis can range from dismay and deep sadness to anger and despair. But for many people, it can also come as a relief. A diagnosis may well provide long-awaited answers for a failing memory, communication problems and changes in behaviour.
An early diagnosis opens the door to future care and treatment. It helps people to plan ahead while they are still able to make important decisions on their care and support needs and on financial and legal matters. It also helps them and their families to receive practical information, advice and guidance as they face new challenges.
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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.
Do Not Shy Away From Asking For Help
No one may have all the answers especially when it comes to taking care of a person with dementia. Try doing research on how their behavior changes and what needs to be done to help them live their lives without too many complications. Hire help when it becomes too much as it also ensures that you do not become too frustrated or drained. When you have multiple family members who can help, ask everyone to pitch in and look after the patient so that you can get some personal space to breathe and re-energize when it is your time to look after the patient. When you feel like you can no longer look after your loved one at your own home, it may be time to consider assisted living. In such case, look into dementia care homes that can provide specially trained professionals.
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Myth: Using Aluminium Pans Will Give You Alzheimers
This is something that seems to come up again and again and it seems to go back to research from the 1960s, says Dr Beanland.
It was found that rabbits injected with high doses of aluminium developed some of the protein deposits commonly associated with Alzheimers in their brains. This led to speculation that aluminium from cans, cookware and other sources could be causing dementia.
However, these results were based on extremely high doses of aluminium that are much higher than the levels that can enter the body through food or potentially through contact with aluminium cookware.
Ultimately, in the past 50-plus years there has been a lot more research into the relationship between aluminium and Alzheimers disease, but to date no study or group of studies has been able to confirm that aluminium is involved in the development of Alzheimers disease. So dont chuck out your aluminium pans just yet.
Is Dementia A Mental Illness
Dementia is a mental health disorder as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. In 2013, the American Psychiatric Association changed the name to Major Neurocognitive Disorder, which is a mouthful. The change was made in order to provide a clearer description of the problem. Whats most important to know is that dementias can involve changes to emotions, behaviors, perceptions, and movements in addition to memory and thinking.
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Risk Factors For Dementia
Researchers have identified several risk factors that affect the likelihood of developing one or more kinds of dementia. Some of these factors are modifiable, while others are not.
Age. The risk of Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, and several other dementias goes up significantly with advancing age.
Genetics/family history. Researchers have discovered a number of genes that increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Although people with a family history of Alzheimer’s disease are generally considered to be at a heightened risk of developing the disease themselves, many people who have relatives with Alzheimer’s disease never develop the disease, and many without a family history of the disease do get it.
In most cases, it is impossible to predict a specific person’s risk of the disorder based on family history alone. Some families with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker syndrome, or fatal familial insomnia have mutations in the prion protein gene, although these disorders can also occur in people without the gene mutation. Individuals with these mutations are at significantly higher risk of developing these forms of dementia.
Abnormal genes are also clearly implicated as risk factors in Huntington’s disease, FTDP-17, and several other kinds of dementia.
Many people with Down’s syndrome show neurological and behavioral signs of Alzheimer’s disease by the time they reach middle age.
Do Not Engage In Arguments
One of the worst things a person can do to an individual who has dementia is to start an argument or even force them to do something that makes them upset or angry. When the discussion or argument is too heated, it may be better to walk away to create an environment where everyone can remain calm. Experts agree that one of the ways that can yield results when it comes to dementia behavior problems is to get rid of the word no when dealing with patients. Avoid forcibly restraining a dementia sufferer at all costs.
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Difficulty Completing Normal Tasks
A subtle shift in the ability to complete normal tasks may indicate that someone has early dementia. This usually starts with difficulty doing more complex tasks like balancing a checkbook or playing games that have a lot of rules.
Along with the struggle to complete familiar tasks, they may struggle to learn how to do new things or follow new routines.
What Is Dementia And What Causes It
Dementia is a syndrome that causes a person to develop difficulty and problems with their memory or their ability to think. Unlike the normal changes that happen in a persons memory and thinking over time, dementia affects someones ability to function in their daily life activities and their normal routine .There are different causes of dementia. These causes are typically underlying neurological conditions . One common cause of dementia is Alzheimers disease. Other causes include diseases that impact brain blood vessels. For example, strokes may cause what is commonly termed Vascular Dementia. Some causes include Lewy Body Disease and Parkinsons disease.
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Do Keep Eye Contact When Speaking
Communicating with a dementia patient requires a lot of patience, especially during later stages of dementia. It is vital to ensure that you talk in a place that has good lighting, a place that is quiet and without too many distractions. Do not try and stand over the person you are talking to, but rather try to be at their level and keep eye contact at all times. Take care to make sure that body language is relaxed and open. Prepare to spend quality time with the person so that they do not feel rushed or like they are a bother.
How Is Dementia Evaluated
Dementia is first evaluated by a doctor who reviews the patient’s history and performs a physical exam and cognitive testing. Further testing is chosen according to clues from the history and physical. This testing might include blood and urine tests, chest X-ray, brain scanning , electroencephalogram , and spinal fluid analysis by lumbar puncture procedure.
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How To Diagnose Alzheimers Vs Dementia
Alzheimers is a progressive and fatal brain disorder. Dementia is not a specific disease, but an umbrella term that defines a syndrome and used to refer to a specific group of symptoms related to a decline in mental ability. Alzheimers is one of the most common causes of dementia. Both Alzheimers and dementia are diagnosed using a variety of different assessments and tests, including a physical exam, lab tests, cognitive and neuropsychological tests, and an analysis of changes in behavior.
Monday 17 September 2018
Dementia is the term given to a group of diseases that affect a persons thinking, behaviour and ability to perform everyday tasks. While its commonly thought of as an older persons disease, dementia can affect people of all ages.
Early symptoms of dementia can be vague and vary between people. While some people pick up on changes in their own thinking or behaviour that might be caused by dementia, sometimes these signs are first noticed by those around them.
If youve noticed a change in someone close to you, the steps below can help you assist them in seeking diagnosis and treatment.
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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.
Though Unproven Hearing Aids May Help Reduce Your Risk Of Developing Dementia
According to experts at Johns Hopkins, 27 million Americans over the age of 50 are currently living with hearing loss, and just one in seven uses a hearing aid. “Hearing aid users wait, on average, 10 years before getting help for hearing loss,” the medical experts note.
Given the heightened risk of dementia among those with hearing loss, many seniors would likely benefit from being more proactive about declines in their hearing health. Lin says that he is currently planning a follow-up study to determine whether hearing aids may reduce the risk of dementia in patients with hearing loss. Though this has yet to be proven, Lin urges that there is “no downside to using hearing aids. They help most people who try them. And in those people, they can make all the difference in the worldallowing people to re-engage with friends and family and to be more involved again,” he says.
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Common Early Symptoms Of Dementia
Different types of dementia can affect people differently, and everyone will experience symptoms in their own way.
However, there are some common early symptoms that may appear some time before a diagnosis of dementia. These include:
- memory loss
- difficulty concentrating
- finding it hard to carry out familiar daily tasks, such as getting confused over the correct change when shopping
- struggling to follow a conversation or find the right word
- being confused about time and place
- mood changes
These symptoms are often mild and may get worse only very gradually. It’s often termed “mild cognitive impairment” as the symptoms are not severe enough to be diagnosed as dementia.
You might not notice these symptoms if you have them, and family and friends may not notice or take them seriously for some time. In some people, these symptoms will remain the same and not worsen. But some people with MCI will go on to develop dementia.
Dementia is not a natural part of ageing. This is why it’s important to talk to a GP sooner rather than later if you’re worried about memory problems or other symptoms.