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Which Is Worse To Have Dementia Or Alzheimer’s

At What Point Do Dementia Patients Need 24 Hour Care

What is Alzheimer’s disease?

When living at home is no longer an option There may come a time when the person living with Alzheimers disease or dementia will need more care than can be provided at home. During the middle stages of Alzheimers, it becomes necessary to provide 24-hour supervision to keep the person with dementia safe.

The Effect Of Alzheimers Medication

Different scenarios play out when a person with AD takes Alzheimers medicine. For some, the medication offers relief to some symptoms an individual is facing.

A percentage of individuals will not get any results after taking the medicine.

Some people can become worse after they start taking the medication.

This goes to show that it is not possible to say yes or no when answering the query can Alzheimers medication make you worse.

David Perlmutter a professional neurologist is of the point of view that medication should be a last resort when taking care of an individual with AD.

He states that most drugs prescribed to treat AD are associated with more aggressive cognitive function .

David urges physicians to change their care approach.

He reports that he has dealt with the progressive illness for years having lost his dad to the disease and has not yet identified any medication that helps.

What To Do If Your Older Adult Is Taking Anticholinergic Medications

NEVER start, stop, or adjust the dosage for any medications without talking with your older adults doctor.

The first step is to discuss any medication concerns with the doctor as soon as possible. Ask them to explain the risks versus the benefits and to make a recommendation.

Because many seniors have multiple health conditions, they may be taking more than one type of anticholinergic medication.

One anticholinergic drug might not be harmful, but the side effects and doses can add up across different medications.;

Thats why its so important for a doctor to review allthe medications that your older adult takes.

And if different drugs are being prescribed by different doctors, ask their primary physician to review the full medication list, including over-the-counter drugs and supplements.

This could also be a good opportunity for the doctor to safely discontinue drugs that are no longer needed.

Read Also: What Is The Difference Between Dementia And Senility

How Does Alzheimer’s Disease Affect The Brain

Scientists continue to unravel the complex brain changes involved in Alzheimers disease. Changes in the brain may begin a decade or more before symptoms appear. During this very early stage of Alzheimers, toxic changes are taking place in the brain, including abnormal buildups of proteins that form amyloid plaques and tau tangles. Previously healthy neurons stop functioning, lose connections with other neurons, and die. Many other complex brain changes are thought to play a role in Alzheimers as well.

The damage initially appears to take place in the hippocampus and the entorhinal cortex, which are parts of the brain that are essential in forming memories. As more neurons die, additional parts of the brain are affected and begin to shrink. By the final stage of Alzheimers, damage is widespread and brain tissue has shrunk significantly.

Signs And Symptoms Of Alzheimer’s Disease

Dementia vs Alzheimers

Memory problems are typically one of the first signs of cognitive impairment related to Alzheimers. Some people with memory problems have a condition called mild cognitive impairment . With MCI, people have more memory problems than normal for their age, but their symptoms do not interfere with their everyday lives. Movement difficulties and problems with the sense of smell have also been linked to MCI. Older people with MCI are at greater risk for developing Alzheimers, but not all of them do so. Some may even revert to normal cognition.

The first symptoms of Alzheimers vary from person to person. For many, decline in nonmemory aspects of cognition, such as word-finding, vision/spatial issues, and impaired reasoning or judgment may signal the very early stages of the disease. Researchers are studying biomarkers to detect early changes in the brains of people with MCI and in cognitively normal people who may be at greater risk for Alzheimers. More research is needed before these techniques can be used broadly and routinely to diagnose Alzheimers in a health care providers office.

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What Are The Side

Doctors including geriatricians consider these medications to be well-tolerated. This means that most people dont experience more than mild side-effects, and serious adverse events are rare.

For cholinesterase inhibitors:

  • The most common side-effects;are gastrointestinal and include nausea, diarrhea, and sometimes vomiting. These affect an estimated 20% of people.
  • People tend to adjust to gastrointestinal side-effects with time. It helps to start with a small dose and gradually increase. Rivastigmine is also available in a patch formulation, which tends to cause less stomach upset.
  • In the oral formulations, donepezil tends to cause fewer side-effects than rivastigmine and galantamine.
  • Some people also experience dizziness, a slowed heart rate, headaches, or sleep changes.

For memantine:

  • Dizziness is probably the most common side-effect.
  • Some people seem to experience worsened confusion or hallucinations.
  • Memantine generally seems to cause fewer side-effects than cholinesterase inhibitors do.

How Is Dementia Treated

Treatment of dementia depends on its cause. For example, dementia that has developed due to vitamin deficiency can be treated with vitamin supplements and hence is reversible. Other causes of dementia such as depression, thyroid problems can also be treated.;

For progressive dementias, including Alzheimer’s disease, no treatment can halt its progression, and research is still going on to find out the same. But, some medications may temporarily help relieve its symptoms such as memory loss and confusion. These are:

Also Check: How To Move A Parent With Dementia To Assisted Living

What Causes Alzheimers Disease

In recent years, scientists have made tremendous progress in better understanding Alzheimers and the momentum continues to grow. Still, scientists dont yet fully understand what causes Alzheimers disease in most people. In people with early-onset Alzheimers, a genetic mutation may be the cause. Late-onset Alzheimers arises from a complex series of brain changes that may occur over decades. The causes probably include a combination of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors. The importance of any one of these factors in increasing or decreasing the risk of developing Alzheimers may differ from person to person.

The Effects Of Alzheimers On The Brain

What is dementia? Alzheimer’s Research UK

Damage to the brain begins years before symptoms appear. Abnormal protein deposits form plaques and tangles in the brain of someone with Alzheimers disease. Connections between cells are lost, and they begin to die. In advanced cases, the brain shows significant shrinkage.

Its impossible to diagnose Alzheimers with complete accuracy while a person is alive. The diagnosis can only be confirmed when the brain is examined under a microscope during an autopsy. However, specialists are able to make the correct diagnosis up to 90 percent of the time.

The symptoms of Alzheimers and dementia can overlap, but there can be some differences.

Both conditions can cause:

  • behavioral changes
  • difficulty speaking, swallowing, or walking in advanced stages of the disease

Some types of dementia will share some of these symptoms, but they include or exclude other symptoms that can help make a differential diagnosis. Lewy body dementia , for example, has many of the same later symptoms as Alzheimers. However, people with LBD but are more likely to experience initial symptoms such as visual hallucinations, difficulties with balance, and sleep disturbances.

People with dementia due to Parkinsons or Huntingtons disease are more likely to experience involuntary movement in the early stages of the disease.

Treatment for dementia will depend on the exact cause and type of dementia, but many treatments for dementia and Alzheimers will overlap.

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Medications To Maintain Mental Function In Alzheimer’s Disease

Several medications are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat symptoms of Alzheimers. Donepezil, rivastigmine, and galantamine are used to treat the symptoms of mild to moderate Alzheimers. Donepezil, memantine, the rivastigmine patch, and a combination medication of memantine and donepezil are used to treat moderate to severe Alzheimers symptoms. All of these drugs work by regulating neurotransmitters, the chemicals that transmit messages between neurons. They may help reduce symptoms and help with certain behavioral problems. However, these drugs dont change the underlying disease process. They are effective for some but not all people and may help only for a limited time.

Why Some Foods Induce Memory Loss

The brain needs its own brand of fuel. It requires healthy fats, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and adequate vitamins and minerals. Consuming too little of these foods and too many complex carbohydrates, processed foods and sugar stimulates the production of toxins in the body. Those toxins can lead to inflammation, the build-up of plaques in the brain and, as a result, impaired cognitive function.

These effects apply to people of all ages, not just seniors.

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Alzheimer’s Disease: Symptoms & Treatment

Alzheimers is a progressive brain disease that is caused due to complex brain changes following cells to waste away, damage, and die. It slowly affects the brain causing impairment in cognitive abilities and memory. Alzheimers disease is progressive in nature and worsens over time.

The cause of this is unknown. In Alzheimers disease, there is a formation of abnormal structures in the brain, which blocks communication between the brain cells leading to the death of brain cells. It is not possible to diagnose someone with this disease with complete accuracy, but the patient is diagnosed as probable Alzheimers disease.

The symptoms of dementia and Alzheimers may overlap, but there are some differences. Similar symptoms include reduced ability to think, impairment in communication, and memory.

Symptoms of Alzheimers mostly include –

  • Difficulty in remembering people and conversations
  • Forgetfulness
  • Vision changes related to cataracts;
  • Getting confused about the day of the week but figuring it out later
  • Making errors while managing finances and other tasks
  • Trouble finding the right word while having conversations
  • Misplacing things from time to time
  • Feeling uninterested in the family or social obligations
  • Becoming irritable when a routine is disrupted
  • Difficulty in doing tasks such as cooking, bathing or grooming, and impaired language
  • Faqs About Dementia And Alzheimers Disease

    Dementia: The Basics
    • Are dementia and Alzheimer’s disease the same?

    As outlined throughout this post, dementia and Alzheimers disease are two different things. Dementia is a group of symptoms that affect the mental abilities of an individual. Its a general term used to describe the decline in ones mental ability to a point that it interferes in their daily life. Alzheimers disease, on the other hand, is a progressive disease. Its a type of dementia that causes impairment in memory, language, and thoughts.

    • Are dementia and Alzheimer’s disease hereditary?

    People who have Alzheimers disease running in their family are more likely to have it; they are at a higher risk. The same goes for dementia. However, only in rare cases, theres a strong link between dementia and genes. There are many other factors that determine whether a person can have dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

    • Is dementia and Alzheimer’s disease a mental illness?

    Dementia and Alzheimers disease do affect mental health. However, they arent particularly a mental illness but rather a brain disorder or a progressive neurodegenerative condition.

    • How is dementia and Alzheimer’s disease diagnosed?

    There are no definite tests to diagnose dementia and Alzheimers disease. Doctors consider various factors, including medical history, laboratory tests, change in behaviour, and more to determine if someone has dementia or Alzheimers disease.

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    Alzheimers Disease And Vascular Dementia

    This is the most common type of mixed dementia. The person affected has two different diseases in their brain;that contribute to their dementia symptoms.

    Understanding Alzheimers disease

    Alzheimers disease is caused by a build-up of faulty proteins in and around brain cells particularly cells that help to form memories. Earlier stages of Alzheimers disease are strongly associated with memory problems, language difficulties, and becoming confused more easily.

    The vascular part of mixed dementia is caused by problems with the supply of blood throughout the brain. Sometimes this can be caused by having a stroke or a series of mini-strokes. In other cases it can be due to a more gradual deterioration of small blood vessels over many years. Vascular disease prevents brain cells from getting enough oxygen and nutrients.

    These are needed to function properly. The symptoms of vascular dementia depend on what part of the brain is affected. Generally, the condition tends to result in much slower processing of thoughts and information, difficulties with planning or problem-solving, and trouble concentrating for more than a short period.

    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.

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    Warning Signs And Symptoms

    The symptoms of dementia range in severity, and they also vary depending on the area of the brain that the condition affects. The most

    • walking around for no apparent reason
    • inappropriate behaviors, such as social and sexual disinhibition

    Symptoms can take time to appear, and significant damage may be present before a person visits a doctor. This may make treatment more challenging.

    How Is Alzheimers Disease Treated

    What is dementia?

    Alzheimers is complex, and it is therefore unlikely that any one drug or other intervention will successfully treat it in all people living with the disease.

    Scientists are exploring many avenues to delay or prevent the disease as well as to treat its symptoms. In ongoing clinical trials, scientists are developing and testing several possible interventions. Under study are drug therapies aimed at a variety of disease interventions, as well as nondrug approaches such as physical activity, diet, cognitive training, and combinations of these. Just as we have many treatments for heart disease and cancer, we will likely need many options for treating Alzheimers. Precision medicine getting the right treatment to the right person at the right time will likely play a major role.

    Current approaches to treating Alzheimers focus on helping people maintain mental function, treating the underlying disease process, and managing behavioral symptoms.

    Read Also: Difference Between Senility And Dementia

    What Should I Take Away From This Research

    The link between alcohol and dementia in non-drinkers however is not fully understood and individuals who do not currently drink alcohol should not start as a method of protection against the development of dementia.

    From the evidence collected to date, it is not possible to determine what effect drinking within the NHS recommended alcohol guidelines has on a person’s risk of dementia.

    Guidelines recommend that alcohol consumption be reduced as much as possible, particularly in mid-life, to minimize the risk of developing other age-related conditions such as frailty. Current evidence indicates that adopting a healthy lifestyle throughout your life is the best way to reduce risk of dementia and other long-term health problems. This includes drinking in moderation but also other factors such as not smoking, taking plenty of physical exercise and eating a healthy, balanced diet.

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    What Are The Symptoms Of Early

    For most people with early-onset Alzheimer disease, the symptoms closely mirror those of other forms of Alzheimer disease.

    Early symptoms:

    • Withdrawal from work and social situations

    • Changes in mood and personality

    Later symptoms:

    • Severe mood swings and behavior changes

    • Deepening confusion about time, place, and life events

    • Suspicions about friends, family, or caregivers

    • Trouble;speaking, swallowing, or walking

    • Severe memory loss

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    Managing Alzheimer’s Disease Behavior

    Common behavioral symptoms of Alzheimers include sleeplessness, wandering, agitation, anxiety, and aggression. Scientists are learning why these symptoms occur and are studying new treatments drug and nondrug to manage them. Research has shown that treating behavioral symptoms can make people with Alzheimers more comfortable and makes things easier for caregivers.

    What We Know About Dementia

    The Long Goodbye

    The National Institute on Aging says that dementia affects approximately 3.4 million Americans, or 13.9 percent, of the U.S. population ages 71 and older and is usually caused by brain damage associated with Alzheimers disease, vascular dementia or Parkinsons disease. And in Canada, the number of people living with dementia is expected to rise 66% by the time we reach 2031.

    It is important to differentiate the various types of dementia; for about 70% of patients, a diagnosis of dementia will be accompanied by a diagnosis of Alzheimers disease. Although these terms are often used interchangeably, Alzheimers and dementia are not one in the same. Dementia is a loss of brain function that refers to a group of illnesses.

    Although dementia may be a symptom of Alzheimers, it may have other underlying causes, such as Picks disease, hypothyroidism or head trauma. While Alzheimers is the leading cause of dementia, vascular dementia, which is often caused by stroke, accounts for about 17% of all dementia cases.

    While people will experience dementia differently, most people with dementia share some of the same symptoms that may come and go.

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