Dementia – Not all Alzheimer’s Disease

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Dementia – Not All Alzheimer’s Disease

So you or your loved one has been diagnosed with dementia what do you need to know?

We will try to answer some questions about a dementia diagnosis and what it does and doesn’t mean.

What is the meaning of dementia?

The definition of dementia from the National Institute on Aging is:

Dementia is the loss of cognitive functioning—thinking, remembering, and reasoning—and behavioral abilities to such an extent that it interferes with a person’s daily life and activities.

Before we go any further let’s lay out what dementia is not. Many people get frightened if they can’t recall a person’s name or they forget where they put something. Even though dementia generally involves memory loss, memory loss has different causes. Having memory loss alone doesn’t mean you have dementia. If you are concerned about memory loss the first step should be going to your primary care physician. There are several causes of memory loss or dementia type symptoms that can be treated and reversed.

They include:

Infections and immune disorders.Nutritional deficiencies.Subdural hematomas.Brain tumors.Normal-Pressure Hydrocephalus

The common misperception is that anytime the diagnosis of dementia is used it means that the person has Alzheimer’s Disease. While Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia it is by far not the only cause of dementia. There are actually five types of progressive non-reversible dementia as follows:

Alzheimer’s Dementia – Memory problems are typically one of the first signs of Alzheimer’s, though initial symptoms may vary from person to person. A decline in other aspects of thinking, such as finding the right words, vision/spatial issues, and impaired reasoning or judgment, may also signal the very early stages of Alzheimer’s diseaseVascular Dementia – The most common symptoms of vascular dementia include difficulties with problem-solving, slowed thinking, focus and organization. These tend to be more noticeable than memory loss.Lewy Body Dementia – Some common signs and symptoms of Lewy Body Dementia include acting out one’s dreams in sleep, seeing things that aren’t there (visual hallucinations), and problems with focus and attention. Other signs may include uncoordinated or slow movement, tremors, and rigidityFrontotemporal Dementia – Common symptoms  of frontotemporal dementia affect behavior, personality, thinking, judgment, language and movement.Mixed Dementia – Just as the name implies the symptoms shown in mixed dementia will depend on what types of dementia the person has. Unfortunately this cannot always be determined in life.

In addition to these five there are four other diseases that symptoms that are dementia type:

Huntington’s diseaseTraumatic brain injury (TBI)Creutzfeldt-Jakob diseaseParkinson’s disease

Common Symptoms of Dementia

While these are common symptoms of dementia it must be remembered that there are other issues that can cause some, if not all, of these symptoms.

Also of note is the fact that no matter the cause of the symptoms the earlier they are evaluated and diagnosed the more successful treatment can be.

While this post is just a minute amount of the information about the various dementia diagnoses I hope that it has given you new light on this subject. If there is more information you would like to see just subscribe and comment below.

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