What Are The Symptoms Of Dementia
Early symptoms of dementia include :
- Forgetting recent events or information
- Repeating comments or questions over a very short period of time
- Misplacing commonly used items or placing them in usual spots
- Not knowing the date or time
- Having difficulty coming up with the right words
- Experiencing a change in mood, behavior or interests
Signs that dementia is getting worse include:
- Ability to remember and make decisions further declines
- Talking and finding the right words becomes more difficult
- Daily complex tasks, such as brushing teeth, making a cup of coffee, working a tv remote, cooking, and paying bills become more challenging
- Rational thinking and behavior and ability to problem solve lessen
- Sleeping pattern change
- Anxiety, frustration, confusion, agitation, suspiciousness, sadness and/or depression increase
- More help with activities of daily living grooming, toileting, bathing, eating is needed
- Hallucinations may develop
The symptoms mentioned above are general symptoms of dementia. Each person diagnosed with dementia has different symptoms, depending on what area of the brain is damaged. Additional symptoms and/or unique symptoms occur with specific types of dementia.
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.
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.
You May Like: Does Diet Coke Cause Alzheimer’s
Importance Of Obtaining A Diagnosis For Dementia
The diagnosis of dementia requires a complete medical and neuropsychological evaluation. The process is first to determine whether the person has a cognitive problem and how severe it is. The next step is to determine the cause in order to accurately recommend treatment and allow patients and caregivers to plan for the future.
A medical evaluation for dementia usually includes the following:
The process of diagnosing dementia has become more accurate in recent years, and specialists are able to analyze the large amount of data collected and determine whether there is a problem, the severity, and, often, the cause of the dementia. Occasionally, there may be a combination of causes, or it may take time to monitor the individual to be sure of a diagnosis. Determining whether the cause is a reversible or irreversible condition guides the treatment and care for the affected person and family.
Can Diet Prevent Or Slow Down Dementia
We hear so much from the media about what we should or should not eat. One day blueberries are the new so-called superfood that will reduce our risk of developing dementia, the next it is the humble plum.
But what information can we rely on to be accurate? Can the food we eat really reduce our risk of developing dementia? If a person has dementia, can their diet or use of supplements influence how they experience dementia or its progression?
Knowing what and what not to eat is so confusing, the messages seem to change daily!
Person with dementia
The brain requires a regular supply of nutrients in our diet to function and remain healthy. There is growing recognition that what we eat affects the way our brains work and our mental health, as well as our physical health.
Traditionally research undertaken to investigate the connection between diet, cognitive function and risk of dementia has primarily focused on the impact of individual nutrients on brain health. Those nutrients commonly researched include: vitamins B6, B12, C, E and folic acid, as well as omega 3 essential fatty acids. The outcome of such research has been inconclusive and thus guidelines to advise on specific nutrient intakes have not been developed. In this feature well explore some of the ongoing research on this topic.
Read Also: What Is The 7th Stage Of Alzheimer’s
What Is Dementia Symptoms Types And Diagnosis
Dementia is the loss of cognitive functioning thinking, remembering, and reasoning to such an extent that it interferes with a person’s daily life and activities. Some people with dementia cannot control their emotions, and their personalities may change. Dementia ranges in severity from the mildest stage, when it is just beginning to affect a person’s functioning, to the most severe stage, when the person must depend completely on others for basic activities of living.
Dementia is more common as people grow older but it is not a normal part of aging. Many people live into their 90s and beyond without any signs of dementia.
There are several different forms of dementia, including Alzheimers disease. A persons symptoms can vary depending on the type.
Genes And Dementia With Lewy Bodies
Dementia with Lewy bodies is caused by a build-up of abnormal proteins in the brain and may have symptoms similar to those seen in Parkinsons disease. Age is currently the biggest known risk factor for dementia with Lewy bodies, although research is underway to find out whether genes may also play a role.
Recommended Reading: What Color Ribbon Is Alzheimer’s
Struggling To Adapt To Change
For someone in the early stages of dementia, the experience can cause fear. Suddenly, they cant remember people they know or follow what others are saying. They cant remember why they went to the store, and they get lost on the way home.
Because of this, they might crave routine and be afraid to try new experiences. Difficulty adapting to change is also a typical symptom of early dementia.
Isnt Dementia Part Of Normal Aging
No, many older adults live their entire lives without developing dementia. Normal aging may include weakening muscles and bones, stiffening of arteries and vessels, and some age-related memory changes that may show as:
- Occasionally misplacing car keys
- Struggling to find a word but remembering it later
- Forgetting the name of an acquaintance
- Forgetting the most recent events
Normally, knowledge and experiences built over years, old memories, and language would stay intact.
Getting Connected To Services After Diagnosis
â said, âOh, this is great, we have a diagnosis, what do we do now? Is there a pill, orâ¦?â And this is when the doctor said: âNo, thereâs no pill, thereâs nothing that we can do at all,â and youâll have to basically âgo home, get your affairs in order because you will die from this.ââ â from Ontario. Mary Beth lives with young onset frontotemporal dementia.
Even after an accurate diagnosis is made, a younger person with dementia is still likely to face obstacles. These obstacles may start with being unable to get more information about dementia or find referral to dementia-focused programs and services in their community.
We know that many people living with dementia go on to live very fulfilling lives for quite some time. Unfortunately, due to lack of knowledge and training, some healthcare providers still seem to offer little hope or support for life after diagnosis.
However, even if their doctor is helpful and can suggest practical next steps, there is another significant obstacle for the person diagnosed with young onset dementia to overcome.
Social And Economic Impact
Dementia has significant social and economic implications in terms of direct medical and social care costs, and the costs of informal care. In 2015, the total global societal cost of dementia was estimated to be US$ 818 billion, equivalent to 1.1% of global gross domestic product . The total cost as a proportion of GDP varied from 0.2% in low- and middle-income countries to 1.4% in high-income countries.
Recommended Reading: What Color Ribbon Is Alzheimer’s
The Signs Of Early Onset Dementia
Diagnosing early onset dementia and Alzheimers can be difficult because it is not normally expected or considered for people under the age of 65. In reality, the Alzheimers Association of America estimates that anywhere from 220,000 to 640,000 Americans are affected by early onset Alzheimers and Dementia, though many go undiagnosed.
Signs that what you are experiencing is in fact dementia and not just menopause are:
As you can see, there are some pretty significant differences between the symptoms of menopause and the warning signs of dementia. Unfortunately, at the early stages, these signs can be quite subtle and misconstrued for other conditions. Thankfully, there are some tests that you can do at home to help determine whether or not your symptoms are a sign of something more severe than menopause or regular aging.
Repetitive Negative Thinking Linked To Dementia Risk
- University College London
- Persistently engaging in negative thinking patterns may raise the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, finds a new UCL-led study published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia.
Persistently engaging in negative thinking patterns may raise the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, finds a new UCL-led study.
In the study of people aged over 55, published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia, researchers found ‘repetitive negative thinking’ is linked to subsequent cognitive decline as well as the deposition of harmful brain proteins linked to Alzheimer’s.
The researchers say RNT should now be further investigated as a potential risk factor for dementia, and psychological tools, such as mindfulness or meditation, should be studied to see if these could reduce dementia risk.
Lead author Dr Natalie Marchant said: “Depression and anxiety in mid-life and old age are already known to be risk factors for dementia. Here, we found that certain thinking patterns implicated in depression and anxiety could be an underlying reason why people with those disorders are more likely to develop dementia.
“Taken alongside other studies, which link depression and anxiety with dementia risk, we expect that chronic negative thinking patterns over a long period of time could increase the risk of dementia. We do not think the evidence suggests that short-term setbacks would increase one’s risk of dementia.
Don’t Miss: Senility Vs Alzheimer’s
What Changes Can I Expect
- The first signs of young-onset dementia can be similar to those of late-onset Alzheimer’s disease, although the sequence in which signs appear varies from person to person. Typical signs include:
- Personality changes, such as abruptness and insensitivity
- Frequent lapses of memory, particularly involving recent memories
- Forgetting appointments or the names of colleagues at work
- Unsettling moments of disorientation in previously familiar places
- Being unable to find the way home
- Becoming confused about familiar tasks such as handling money or placing a call
- Difficulty finding the right words
- Difficulty with voluntary movements or physical coordination
- Struggling to learn new things and adapting to changes at home or at work
- Losing interest in activities that were enjoyed previously
- Withdrawing from social contact
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
Also Check: Alzheimers Ribbon Color
Judy Prentices Story: Dementia Symptoms Mistaken For Menopause
At the age of 51, Judy Prentice found herself yet again walking out of a change room while shopping with her husband wearing her dress back to front. Over the last couple of years, the town hall clerk and mother of two found herself doing a lot of absent-minded little things: writing numbers incorrectly, misplacing things and scraping the cars on posts even though there was plenty of parking space.
At first, she chalked it up to the absent-mindedness that often comes along with the transition into menopause, and didnt think much more of it, even her doctor didnt think it was anything to be concerned about.
Judy had to retire, and her husband has had to take over most of the house duties. Despite him leaving detailed instruction for things like how to use the oven and what chores can be done that day, Judy struggles, afraid to make herself anything more than a sandwich and getting halfway through a task before forgetting what she is doing.
Getting An Accurate Diagnosis
â with young onset is that dementia is not something that they think about initially. If youâre a woman, the first thing they think about is menopause and depression and anxiety and panic and sleep disorders and all those kinds of things.â â Faye, from Windsor Junction, Nova Scotia. Faye lives with young onset Alzheimer’s disease.
Diagnosing dementia can be a long and complicated process. For younger people, itâs even more complicated and frustrating. Healthcare providers are often reluctant to diagnose dementia in someone so young, and itâs common for a person who has young onset dementia to be misdiagnosed with another condition, such as depression.
As a a result, the person living with young onset dementia may not get the appropriate knowledge, treatment and support to fight the disease.
You May Like: What Color Ribbon Is Alzheimer’s
What Role Do Our Genes Play In Dementia
As dementia is so common, many of us will have a relative living with the condition but this does not mean we will develop it too.
Dementia is caused by diseases that affect the brain, such as Alzheimers disease. The likelihood of developing dementia will usually depend on a complex mix of factors like our age, medical history and lifestyle, as well as our genes. Most cases of dementia are not directly caused by genes we inherit from our parents.
What Happens In Dementia
People with dementia may have different symptoms, depending on the type and stage of their particular dementia. A persons symptoms depend on which part of the brain is affected by the disease process, and they may change over time as the diseases progress to involve different areas of the brain. Different types of dementia tend to target particular parts of the brain. For example, the part of the brain that is important for the formation of new memories is usually affected early on in AD, which is why short-term memory loss is often one of the first symptoms of AD. Other common symptoms in dementia include difficulties with communication, planning and organization, navigation, personality changes, and psychiatric symptoms such as depression, anxiety, delusions and hallucinations.
How Does Alcohol Contribute To Early
The needs and challenges of older adults in assisted living, independent living and memory care settings can be numerous and hard to navigate for caregivers. Dr. Sandra Petersen, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, GNP-BC, PMHNP-BE, FAANP, holds certifications in family practice, geriatric medicine and psychiatric-mental health and has been in active practice since 1993, addressing the questions of seniors and their caregivers to ensure older adults live fuller, happier lives.
Question: My father has struggled with alcoholism for most of his adult life and is having difficulty with short-term memory. How does alcohol contribute to early onset dementia, and how should it be handled differently?
Answer: Alcohol use increases the risk of dementia, a key symptom of which is memory loss. Research studying alcohol and memory loss confirms that alcohol interferes with the functioning of the hippocampus, the memory center of the brain, in a number of ways. When the body metabolizes alcohol, the resulting products interfere with cellular processes and interrupt communication between brain cells and the rest of the cells in the body. Alcohol-related dementia, for that reason, is considered a type of alcohol-related brain damage.
Typically, the person with alcohol-related dementia has difficulty with:
Here are some interventions that may help the person with alcohol-related brain damage:
Communicating About Dementia With Health Care Providers
Good communication with the primary care provider affects the well-being of the person with dementia as well as the well-being of the caregiver. Communicating your concerns clearly and describing the changes you may have observed will help guide the provider to investigate further. In some cases, you may find yourself âeducatingâ medical staff about your loved oneâs symptoms.
It is important that your concerns are taken seriously, and you are treated with respect and dignity. If you are not receiving the attention you need, you should communicate your concerns to the provider and request a referral to a resource in the community that specializes in the evaluation of people experiencing cognitive changes. The goal is to establish a partnership to both maintain the quality of health and to solve problems.
Recommended Reading: Can Cause Sores Rashes Dementia Or Blindness