6 Early Warning Signs of Dementia 

6 early warning signs of dementia

Let’s talk about the 6 early warning signs of dementia.

Feeling tired, stressed, lethargic?

You would have all the symptoms of dementia, but do you really have dementia?

Tiredness and stress, may simply be due to late nights, low blood sugar, heavy work load, or any number of things. There are a number of signs that are not real dementia.

The worst thing you could do is give your spouse or partner the wrong diagnosis.

Another trap is the belief you have dementia, but not actually have it. You may have a well-meaning spouse who self-diagnoses you with dementia. He/she then gets into the habit of reminding you when you are forgetful and corrects you when you make a mistake. You then start to think and feel that you actually have early dementia.

It doesn’t mean you have dementia if these symptoms happen occasionally.

early warning signs of dementia

What is dementia?

A mental decline. When certain parts of your brain are shrinking, specifically a structure called the hippocampus.

6 Early Warning Signs of Dementia

1.Poor organization

People with early dementia may have problems with familiar everyday organization tasks. They may get confused with the order of things or with making plans.

2. Personality changes

Having unexpected mood swings where a person switches between emotions for no apparent reason may indicate an early sign of dementia. For no real reason, they may seem different from his/her usual self. They may become irritable, depressed, anxious, agitated, or apathetic.

3.Constipation

Our gut is like a second brain. There is a connection between our gut and our brain. The microbiome (bacteria) in our gut makes neurotransmitters. They also make more serotonin than our brain makes serotonin. Serotonin is a natural mood stabiliser that regulates wellbeing and happiness.

We have more nerve fibers in our digestive system than we do in our spinal column.

Many cognitive problems can stem from our gut. People who have Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease have much higher instance of constipation than someone who doesn’t have these diseases.

However, it is important to note that if you have constipation, it doesn’t mean you have dementia. It is just an early sign.

4.Sensory Dysfunction.

unable to focus

This could include issues with your smell, taste, hearing, eyesight and even your appetite. These could be early signs of cognitive decline. As sensory decline becomes more apparent, then the ability to focus, concentrate and overall memory is really what shows up to be a problem.

5.Language Problems

Struggling to find words for certain things, tending to repeat saying the same things over and over again, or mixing up words are all early indicators of dementia.

For example, a person may be able to talk and make sentences, but is incoherent. What they are saying does not make sense. Words come out randomly and all over the place.  This can be extremely frustrating for the person trying to communicate. Language problems are a result of a shrinking hippocampus.

6.Problems Navigating

Dementia Patient Getting Confused and Lost

Problems navigating are apparent when you are trying to locate a place in a new area. You get confused and can’t work out where you are.

In our brain we have a GPS which allows us to locate where we are in space. When this area of the brain goes down, we lose this GPS. So, our internal map becomes non-functional, resulting in not being able to find out where you are.

Final Comments

Now that you are aware of what the early warning signs of dementia are, the next step is to know how to prevent the onset of dementia. We have published an article with 7 easy things you can do to prevent cognitive decline.

Viewing Dr. Eric Berg DC channel guided much of the content for this article. Dr. Berg specializes in Intermittent Fasting and Healthy Ketosis.

 

Ambiguous Loss in Dementia

Ambiguous Loss in Dementia

When caring for a person with dementia, it is possible to experience ambiguous loss in dementia.

Ambiguous loss can be described as a type of loss an individual feels when a person with dementia is physically there, but is not as emotionally or mentally present as before.

Ambiguous Loss Pioneered by Pauline Boss, Ph.D. explains that this type of loss happens when a loved one is not psychologically present.

This is where a person is cognitively or emotionally gone.

Dementia is a progressive, neurodegenerative, and fatal disease that destroys brain cells. For people who care and love for those with the illness, the ambiguous loss is a constant reminder of how challenging the illness can be.

This kind of loss is not like other types of losses.

Ambiguous Loss, Grief and Dementia

Ambiguous loss in dementia affects everyone

Ambiguous loss is often unclear and has not resolution, closure, or predictable ending. For instance, with death, loved ones know that the person is gone and they can grieve the loss.

With the ambiguous loss, however, individuals are usually at crossroads because there is no certainty of death and it is also not possible to tell whether they will go back to their “normal” selves.

Ambiguous Loss in Dementia Affects Everyone

Ambiguous loss does not only affect caregivers but people with dementia as well. Individuals with the progressive illness are likely to experience feelings of grief and loss over their diagnosis and the changes they go through as the disease progresses through various stages.

Some carers will not recognize ambiguous grief or know how to react when the abilities of the individual with dementia change. This type of grief can confuse relationships and prevent people from moving on.

Recognizing these feelings and understanding the concept of this type of loss can help ease the effects. It is possible to grieve the losses through guidance and support allowing carers to stay connected to the person with dementia while at the same time building resilience and strength.

Understanding Ambiguous Loss

Understanding ambiguous loss

Carers need to get an in-depth understanding of this unique type of loss. It helps caregivers come up with effective techniques to cope with ambiguous loss in dementia and live successfully with all the uncertainties that surround the progressive illness.

Carers have to learn new ways of relating with the person with the illness while becoming more comfortable with the ambiguity. This is especially because it is not possible to control the effects and progression of dementia. At the same time, caregivers have to move on with their lives while looking after the individual with the illness.

Effects of Ambiguous Loss in Dementia

Effects of ambiguous loss in dementia

Ambiguous loss can be a huge stressor for people looking after their loved ones with dementia. It can lead to several negative effects such as:

  • Anxiety and stress
  • Ongoing strain and tension
  • Role confusion
  • Depression
  • Family discord that may result in dysfunctional relationships
  • Caregiver isolation

Managing Ambiguous Loss Positively

Managing ambiguous loss positively

Caregivers, family members, and friends can take several steps to positively live with ambiguous loss in dementia and some of them include:

Reflection

Reflecting on the losses that occur both in the person with dementia and the one looking after the affected individual. Acknowledge this grief, express it, and share it with other persons who will be supportive and understanding. Knowing that a person is not alone when dealing with this type of loss can help offer some relief.

Engage in paradoxical thinking

Paradoxical or dual thinking allows carers to accept the presence and absence that ambiguity presents. It is where a person uses “both/and” thinking instead of “either/or” when dealing with two contradictory ideas that are true at the same time.

This helps people reframe perceptions that they cannot change. “My grandmother has dementia and needs help and I need opportunities to enjoy life” is an example of a paradoxical way of thinking.

Strengthening relationships

Strengthening relationships

Strengthen existing relationships with family and friends is important. At the same time, carers should be open to establishing new relationships that can support and enhance life amid grief and loss.

Where possible, carers should continue with family traditions and celebrations (e.g., holidays and birthdays, etc) making changes where necessary.

Caregivers should also learn to create new rituals that will aid with effective daily living.

Carers should not be afraid of going out to ask for emotional support or hands-on assistance. They should also be ready to share their experiences with others in a bid to help those who may be in a similar position.

Self-care

Eating well, staying physically active, and taking practical steps towards relieving stress are options people have when it comes to taking care of personal needs. Scheduling breaks from care can also help boost morale and health to enable better decision-making and caregiving.

Identify creative outlets

Look for creative and interesting ways to express loss and grief like painting, writing, or other visual forms of art.

Get professional help

Other than reaching out to caregivers, relatives, and friends for support, professional assistance may also come in handy. Options available include well-organized support groups, licensed councillors, and professional organizations like the Alzheimer’s Society.

Celebrate the happy and sad

While grieving what is lost celebrate what has been gained. It is important to always embrace what remains through the various stages of the illness. For instance, while a person may not be able to take long walks or go to the gym, they can still go to the movies.

Ignore what cannot be controlled

It is not possible to control memory loss of a person with dementia but carers can control their reactions.

Closing Remarks

Caregivers looking after people with dementia may struggle with ambiguous loss in dementia. This does not have to be something that wears the carer out. Understanding what this type of loss is and learning how to successfully manage it is instrumental in taking good care of persons living with dementia.

Dementia and Financial Problems

dementia and financial problems

Persons living with dementia and their caregivers or loved ones will at one point have to deal with dementia and financial problems. This is because as the illness progresses, affected individuals normally struggle to manage their finances.

At the onset of the illness, affected individuals may complete simple tasks such as paying bills without any problem. They may experience difficulties completing tasks like balancing check books. Later on, they can lose their ability to handle money matters.

Seniors with dementia may either need additional support or someone reliable and trustworthy should take over the management of finances. There are several areas where a person with dementia may struggle with finances and these may include:

difficulties managing money

Difficulties Managing Money

Persons with dementia will most likely have continuing financial responsibilities such as credit cards, mortgages, personal loans, or other forms of credit. Some may even have kids who depend on them financially.

Sadly, living with dementia may result in less income, which is something that can create pressure when it comes to keeping up with financial responsibilities.

It is recommended that people who have dementia seek financial advice as soon as possible to know how best to manage their funds. It is usually important to make decisions in advance so that things are handled the way the affected person would want them to be handled.

Signs of Dementia and Money Problems

Be on the lookout for signs of money problems. For example a person with dementia may have difficulty counting change, calculating a tip, paying for a purchase, balancing a checkbook, or understanding a bank statement. They may be afraid or agitated when talking about money. You may also notice:

  • Unpaid and unopened bills
  • Unusual purchases on a credit card
  • Strange new merchandise
  • Money amiss from the person’s bank account

signs of financial fraud or abuse of people with dementia

Having a Separate Bank Account With Limits

Setting up standing orders for regular bills like rent/ mortgage, electricity, and gas is a good way to make sure a person does not forget to make payments.

When it comes to dementia and bank accounts, it is usually best for persons with dementia to have a separate account that will cater for care expenses. It is also advisable to have limits set on the bank account to manage withdrawals.

A trustworthy person should be put in charge of noting the money that comes in and out of the account so that the individual with dementia does not become a victim of fraud.

bank account limits for dementia patients

Explore Available Benefits

It is also important to explore benefits available for persons with dementia to help ease the financial burden.

Persons who are over the age of 65 may benefit from Attendance Allowance, Pension Credit, Housing Benefit, and Council Tax Reduction among others.

Looking at insurance options can also be another great way to help manage money well. Additionally, affected individuals can also look into free and low-cost community services they can take advantage of.

Problems Remembering PINs

One of the points that come up when discussing dementia and managing money is the inability to remember PINs (Personal Identification Numbers). If the person with the progressive illness can still effectively take care of their finances, it would be best for them to use chip and signature cards.

This way, the affected person will not need to remember any numbers as they will only provide a signature when they need to access their money. It is also possible to set up direct debits that can be used for bills so that the person with dementia does not have to worry about making payments.

problems remembering PINs

Giving Money Away Aimlessly

It is also important to talk about dementia and giving money away. Many caregivers agree that some people with dementia become over-generous with their money. Sadly, in most cases, they are victims of scammers.

Scams

Unscrupulous individuals may contact the person with dementia requesting donations or offering fake “special deals”.

If necessary, consider changing their number so that scammers do not have access to the sick individuals.

Registering the persons on a Do Not Call registry is also necessary to protect seniors from unwarranted calls.

Frugal with Money

Persons with dementia may start giving away money or spending it on unnecessary things. This is a common issue. For instance, a person may purchase 10 similar outfits or household items they will never use. This can especially be noticeable if a person was previously frugal and their spending habits suddenly change.

For some individuals, the topic of dementia and money obsession becomes apparent. A person with dementia may show strong signs of becoming obsessed with money. They may even accuse caregivers of stealing their cash when this is not the case.

dementia and financial problems

Fake Money

If a person with dementia wants to constantly see their money, and become agitated when they cannot, then carers can purchase fake money and place it in their wallets or somewhere where they can see the cash with ease. This helps to keep them calm and happy. It will reassure them that people are not steeling from them.

In the above scenarios, it is advisable to talk to the affected person about the recent changes in their lives concerning dementia and financial problems.

If this does not sit well with the affected individual, consider asking professionals like an attorney or clergy to speak to them.

fake money for dementia patients

Limiting Access

Limiting access to check books and credit cards can also help limit a person’s access to money so that they do not give it away carelessly.

It is also advisable to appoint a durable power of attorney who will help properly manage finances.

Take note if there is any form of elder financial abuse. This is where other people take advantage of seniors by misusing their money or property. Such cases warrant reporting to the police as well as local Adult Protective Services (APS) organizations.

Signs of Financial Fraud or Abuse

  • Signatures on checks and other important documents do not match the signature of the person with the illness.
  • An individual’s house is under sale or has been sold without them giving permission.
  • The person’s will has been changed without their knowledge.
  • The individual is missing valuable items such as jewellery from their home.
  • The affected person has signed legal papers like power of attorney, will, or joint house deed without knowing what the papers are all about.

Closing Thoughts

After a dementia diagnosis, it is common for affected persons and their loved ones to have to deal with dementia and financial problems. Individuals with the progressive illness need to be given enough support from reliable professionals as well as their relatives or friends to ensure they appropriately manage their finances throughout the illness.

Reference

NIH.gov

NHS.uk

Alzheimers.org.uk

15 Early Signs Of Dementia (Common) 2021

early signs of dementia

Our extensive research and study allowed us to bring you a list of the most common early signs of dementia.

As soon as you observe regular deteriorations in the condition of a person, you should not really wait for too long.

Instead, act as soon as possible and let the person that shows early signs of dementia see a doctor.

(In some cases, it might be just age-related change.)

Still, if a person is developing dementia, you will be glad that it is really early and appropriate treatment CAN apply to slower the condition.

(Dementia does not happen as part of natural aging.)

In this article, we will look at different changes you should pay attention to and what are some of the early signs and symptoms of dementia.

Common Early Signs Of Dementia

To make your lives easier, we compiled what is considered the most common symptoms of dementia especially when in the super early stage.

1. Temporary memory loss

temporary memory loss
Dementia is the term used to refer to a broad spectrum of symptoms that allude to the weakening of the brain affecting its ability to function properly.

Often the symptoms are quite severe and they affect someone’s daily life. It results from damaged brain cells affecting their normal function to communicate and facilitate different activities of the body.

Temporary memory loss which often affects someone short-term is known to be one of the early signs of dementia. It starts with someone who can often recall events that happened a long time ago suddenly not being able to remember what they had for lunch.

As it affects someone’s cognitive abilities, a person with dementia tends to forget any recently learned information. Even things like dates, events or they cannot help but ask about the same thing repeatedly.

Most find that they have an increasing need to depend on memory aids.

2. Difficulty communicating

difficulty communicating
A person with the condition may have a hard time trying to find the right words to piece together a sentence when communicating. It’s because they often can’t remember the names of items, people or places.

They may not be able to hold a MEANINGFUL conversation to the end since most times they tend to forget simple words or substitute the use of words incorrectly making sentences hard to comprehend.

They may also pause mid-sentence trying to figure out the right vocabulary to use.

What’s more, they also find that they are unable to complete a sentence at all. The result is a lot of repetition making them sound like they are babbling incoherently.

It may also be hard for them to understand those around them and this may become disheartening. To help them, you can simplify your sentences or speak a bit slower or perhaps repeatedly in case they still don’t understand.

3. Increased confusion

increased confusion
Confusion is also one of the early indications of dementia. As the brain cells begin to deteriorate, confusion may occur affecting the person with dementia’s perception of time and place.

As a result, they may not know their whereabouts, how they arrived at certain places and they even forget the way home or easily get lost.

Dementia also causes someone to LOSE track of dates, the passage of time and seasons. If you leave someone with dementia alone for a few minutes to them it may feel like a really long time.

It’s worth noting that at older ages it’s NORMAL to confuse time and dates, however, all factors considered this information often aligns.

However, someone with the disorder keeps suffering from forgetfulness regardless of their age.

4. Challenges performing everyday tasks

challenges performing everyday tasks
Difficulty in performing familiar tasks is also one of the early signs of dementia. As a result of the changes brought about by the condition, abstract thinking becomes quite hard.

Moreover, the person with dementia often shows an unusual struggle performing mental tasks.

People with this disease may at many times find it hard to handle regular everyday tasks that they had previously carried out with ease.

For example, organizing events, planning chores or make simple financial transactions like paying bills become more and more challenging due to the significant decline in brain cognition.

Something as simple as brewing a cup of coffee may prove difficult to someone with dementia because it may be troublesome to follow the right steps.

5. Repetitiveness

repetitiveness
Due to memory loss, people with dementia often end up repeating themselves or lose their chain of thought when holding conversations.

The frequent repetition of activities, questions or statements is a significant sign of reduced cognition.

Sometimes, weariness or anxiety sparks this repetitive behavior. A person with dementia may not remember handling a certain task or previously holding any conversations.

They may repeat the same question several times even after they’ve been answered over and over again.

This happens when the brain’s cerebral cortex which oversees a wide range of functions such as memory and language is damaged or ceases to perform the way it should.

When it comes to repetitiveness, it is also IMPORTANT to educate children about dementia, so they act appropriately.

6. Rapid mood swings

rapid mood swings
Mood swings are also a part of the early signs of dementia and they lead someone to suddenly respond or react irrationally.

It also elicits feelings of fear, anxiety, depression or irritability especially in situations where remembering things becomes quite problematic.

They may also be easily vexed with their colleagues, with friends, at home or in surroundings where they are out of their comfort zones.

This may be quite challenging for caregivers because the person with dementia may behave differently from their usual selves in ways that are hard to explain.

On the other hand, a person with dementia may also be less emotional than they previously were. Plus, their behavior can change SWIFTLY, resulting in rapid mood swings.

7. Poor judgment

poor judgement
Poor judgment is another hallmark of dementia that at times precedes memory loss. A person with dementia is continually unable to make apt decisions.

They may be unable to make the right call in terms of evaluating the different aspects that should be well-thought-out when making an important decision.

If your kin exhibits a pattern of unmistakably wrong decisions or actions such as driving yet they are unable to determine how fast they should go on a highway, chances are they’re suffering from dementia or a similar disorder.

It may be helpful as you cope to consider dementia as a possible reason for their behaviors that seem beyond their control.

8. Withdrawal

withdrawal
Due to the loss of multiple abilities as sparked by dementia the person afflicted soon becomes withdrawn from friends and family.

They also start to display a general lack of interest in activities that they previously found exciting.

A person with dementia may begin to exclude themselves from social activities, hobbies, or even sports that they once loved.

When they are aware of their diminished capacity to handle daily tasks, they may develop poor self-esteem and end up feeling embarrassed or even ashamed.

It leads most to retreat into isolation.

Withdrawal as a symptom of dementia often hits those who are working the hardest. It affects their productivity leading to a decline in their overall performance.

It throws them into a state of sadness and depression.

9. Problems with coordination

problems with coordination
If recognition and coordination complications begin to take effect and affect someone’s everyday life, it could be an early sign of dementia.

A person with the disorder may be clumsy, unhandy, uncoordinated and heavy-handed.

They are not performing tasks with the same ease as they used to. And this means simple things like walking, not to mention running and cycling.

They may also find it difficult to recognize familiar objects like a pot of coffee, cutlery, a cooker, kettle, toothbrush or toothpaste.

Symptoms of a loss of coordination and motor abilities include shaking, struggling to use a hairbrush or shaver and difficulty tying or untying shoelaces.

If, all of a sudden, a person starts to act awkwardly and it goes on for longer than usual, do not leave it behind thinking it will get better.

10. Inability to adapt to change

inability to adapt to change
Difficulty adapting to change is one of the typical early signs of dementia. The inability to recall people’s names or follow what others are talking about can cause nervousness and fear of new changes.

It makes someone with dementia almost obsessive about sticking to their usual routine. On the other hand, they are shying away from trying out new experiences.

Dementia can also alter the way how a person responds to different environments. They may be frustrated and irritated since they cannot follow what’s happening in unfamiliar places.

Disruptive noise, conversations, large crowds, and movements may be overwhelming for them.

Moreover, they find it even more difficult to comprehend information in such surroundings.

11. Neglecting hygiene

neglecting hygiene
Although dementia effects vary from one person to another, it gradually takes a toll on the afflicted individual.

It prevents them from taking care of their daily responsibilities as their cognitive abilities decline. This eventually leads to poor personal grooming and hygiene. Even those who were previously obsessed with their looks and cleanliness are not spared.

As the illness progresses, someone with dementia often starts forgetting to brush their teeth, change their clothes, shower regularly or even use the toilet.

They may not remember the importance of doing all those things.

Depression from the condition could also cause someone to neglect their personal hygiene. At this point, professional assistance is necessary to help them comfortably cope with the activities of daily life.

12. Misplacing items

misplacing items
Many tend to associate misplacing things with the natural aging process. However, this could be one of the early signs of dementia.

Regularly finding supposedly missing items in unusual spots such as locating the remote control in a shoe rack or missing car keys inside the refrigerator are strong indications of the manifestation of dementia.

A person with the condition may easily forget where they kept items such as books or a wristwatch.

They might end up accusing those around them of stealing or hiding their possessions.

They will also emphatically deny it due to their weak memory function and cognitive reasoning. If these underlying concerns are checked out and treated on time, the effects CAN be cured.

13. Lack of abstract thinking

lack of abstract thinking
While we already mentioned trouble with completing everyday tasks and activities earlier, lack of abstract thinking is another early sign of dementia.

There are loads of simple questions you can ask them or even use while observing a person if you notice any changes.

You might not see it the first time, but if a difference in behavior and action happens regularly, a close watch is necessary.

They might have trouble with the simplest mathematical tasks or providing a summary of the article they just read.

Even when reading the instruction for a new gadget, once they are complete, they are still not really sure how to use it.

They might repeat the reading but the end result stays the same – they are unaware of how the gadget operates. Lack of abstract thinking is especially noticeable with how well they manage their finances.

14. Inappropriate behavior

inappropriate behavior
One of the early signs of dementia is inappropriate behavior. This becomes especially evident if a person was behaving in a certain way for the majority of their time, but then they begin to misbehave for no real reason.

If it happens once or twice, even three times, it might not be too big of a deal.

However, if it becomes their repetitive practice, it is highly advisable to see the doctor as soon as possible. Some of the misbehaving acts could be aggression, both physical and mental, arguing and bickering.

One of them is also inappropriate sexual behavior, but that is something we will talk about more in-depth in a future article.

15. Mixing up time and place

miximg up time and place
Since we already chatted about this earlier, it is worth adding it in its own paragraph. While everyone sometimes forgets about what day it is, even where they are going, it is not healthy if this starts happening regularly.

If that begins to occur TOO frequently, it could be one of the early signs of dementia.

Do observe the person as much as possible. Take them to the doctor as soon as possible if this “new forgetfulness” does not go away. Acting early enough and getting treatment before the condition progresses can alleviate it tremendously.

Also, if you happen to be the person who is sensing something “weird” happening to you, again, see the doctor or practitioner as soon as possible.

13 Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Symptoms 2022

creutzfeldt jakob disease symptoms

Today, we will look at some of the most common Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease symptoms and signs of which you should be aware.

Let’s face it, went it comes to CJD, it is important to treat the condition as early as possible.

If it is your first time hearing of the disease, read along.

First and foremost, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease or short CJD is a destructive brain disorder that leads to dementia and even death.

However, CJD is not that common and affects approximately one person in every one million per year. A person with the disease can die within a year.

First, in the early stages of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a person begins lacking memory, their vision gets blurry and even starts behaving out of place.

But these are just some of the symptoms of CJD. Moreover, when the condition progresses, a person can fall into a coma, get blind, depressed and experiences difficulty swallowing.

In short, CJD appears when prion protein gets damaged and deformed. When healthy, this protein does not cause any inconvenience to the body.

But everything changes drastically when prion does not perform as it should.

The main Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease symptoms

1. Behavioral changes

behavioral changes
Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease (CJD) is a deadly neurological disease that progressively destroys brain cells by creating small holes in the brain.

It is known to occur when prion protein that communicates message among different brain cells are damaged.

Once prion proteins are affected, they fold into an abnormal shape and in turn, they don’t function how they normally would.

When it affects the nervous system, someone experiences a series of signs and symptoms that require instant attention and care.

Some of Creutzfeldt-Jakob’s disease symptoms are psychological-based. The person affected by the illness displays a rollercoaster of behavior and emotions due to mental impairment and it gets worse with time.

2. Memory Impairment

memory impairment
When the damaging brain cells appear, the cognitive actions of individuals suffering from Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease deteriorate rapidly.

The affected person develops dementia where their memory becomes problematic and this affects their thinking skills as well.

Since the brain is incapacitated and unable to perform fully, the affected person is susceptible to confusion, disorientation and poor planning because they cannot think critically.

The person is unable to recall any recent events or exhibit general knowledge of simple things related to their surroundings.

It throws them into a state of disintegration and restlessness. With time, it may turn into distress or even depression.

3. Coordination Difficulties (Ataxia)

coordination difficulties ataxia
Difficulties with physical coordination is also another common Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease symptom.

As the illness progresses, the person with the illness develops neuromuscular defects leading to coordination dysfunction, voluntary muscle loss, and lacks of rhythm.

It happens because of the weakening of muscles and muscle mass loss, especially around the arms and legs. As a result, balance and coordination prove challenging affecting the ability to control different body parts.

Overall, it affects how someone speaks and they suddenly develop challenges walking comfortably. The assistance of a caregiver is necessary to lend them a hand to help them move around.

At the later stages, the person with the disease may suffer from the total loss of their physical and intellectual capabilities and they eventually slip into an unconscious state.

4. Slurred speech

slurred speech
Rogue prion protein damages the brain cells, making their communication ineffective. The speech of the affected person becomes incomprehensible and impaired.

They find that they are unable to communicate clearly to those around them or their caregivers. Their ability to express themselves becomes stunted or totally halted.

The reason is that a muscle tone known as hypotonia diminishes and also the tongue muscle weakness. It can even lead to facial paralysis.

When in such a state, the person with the disease may retreat into a state of isolation and despair as a result of the inevitable changes that their body is undergoing.

5. Impaired vision

impaired vision
One of the other Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease symptoms is vision impairment or total blindness. The visual signs are marked by complex visual disturbances, cortical blindness, supranuclear palsies, hallucinations, and diplopia.

When the infectious prion proteins are deposited on the cornea’s lymphoid tissue, which controls the immune response in the eye’s frontal section, the proteins damage the cortical region.

The damage results in poor vision or even hearing or seeing things that don’t really exist.

If the person with the disease develops blurry vision, it is a result of cortical damage and it may trigger discomfort making it crucial to visit an eye specialist for lasting solutions.

6. Increasing Confusion

increasing confusion
Due to memory loss and disturbed cognitive processes, a person suffering from CJD is likely to experience rapid confusion and feel overwhelmed by their current state.

They often acknowledge to themselves that they are unable to live their lives fully as before.

As another common Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease symptom, confusion leaves the affected person frustrated due to visual disturbances that make them unable to recognize simple things like their surroundings or how to get back home.

It causes them to wander around aimlessly and also feel unsafe in unfamiliar surroundings.

People with the disease often lose track of time and seasons so they require full-time care and guidance to handle their daily tasks.

7. Depression and Rapid Mood Swings

depression and rapid mood swings
As a result of the Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease taking a toll on someone battling with the illness, their mood tends to oscillate rapidly.

One moment they are happy and excited and the next minute they are agitated and irritated by their surroundings or situations that they previously enjoyed. The unexpected change sparks frustrations making them lapse into depression and despair.

They also become easily irritable and develop poor personal grooming and a loss of appetite leading to weight loss.

When out of their comfort zones, people with CJD tend to easily become upset. They may also exhibit inappropriate emotional responses like laughing when they receive or relay bad news or crying for no reason.

This may also leave their caregivers frustrated because the person becomes difficult to handle sometimes.

8. Withdrawal

withdrawal
People suffering from CJD tend to isolate themselves and withdraw from family and friends. To them, the usual activities or hobbies that they previously enjoyed no longer excite them.

It often stems from their inability to respond to social cues or the decline of their motor skills which makes them unable to perform or participate in any task.

It makes them feel embarrassed and this results in low self-esteem which makes them prefer to retreat to seclusion.

Also, being unproductive causes psychological distress to the persons with Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease so they choose to be by themselves.

The changes experienced during the course of the illness bring about an overall personality and behavioral change and it is wise to approach the person with the disease with utmost care.

9. Swallowing Difficulties

swallowing difficulties
The diminished performance of different body parts arises when the damaged brain cells stop functioning as they should also affect the muscles around the mouth.

It may make swallowing problematic and this may lead to malnutrition.

For instance, if the swallow reflex or the coordination of the throat muscles are affected, the affected person finds it hard to chew or move food in the mouth while at the pharyngeal stage.

At this stage, the tongue pushes the food back to the mouth triggering the swallow reflex as the windpipe closes briefly.

It poses an even greater risk of choking which could prove fatal. For sufficient nourishment, the caregivers should consider perennial feeding and consult with a physician.

10. Abnormal gait/walking

abnormal gaitwalking
Abnormal walking or gait is one of the other Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease symptoms that are common. It comes about due to the communication breakdown between the muscles and the brain.

As the nervous system is damaged, the body is unable to control intricate synchronized movements affecting normal walking.

Since normal walking requires the collective help of systems that oversee coordination, strength, and sensation, someone with CJD is often unable to sustain normal movements.

Also, the body of the person with the disease is unable to maintain a rigid posture; they experience unsteadiness and difficulty in balancing physical configurations as a normal person would.

11. Issues With Bladder and Bowel Control

issues with bladder and bowel control
When the communication between the brain cells that facilitate bladder and bowel function weakens, it leads to issues with bladder or bowel control.

As a result, someone with CJD may experience instances of uncontrolled urine or stool passage. When the brain cells are unable to communicate on when to contract the sphincter or rectal muscles, urinary or fecal incontinence is inevitable.

It often starts as leakage when passing gas and as the illness progresses the situation worsens. In such situations, the caregivers turn to products like diapers or tiny plugs to handle the situation.

However, if cases worsen or progress medical intervention is necessary.

12. Difficulty Sleeping

difficulty sleeping
While you might not have any of the signs mentioned here, have you taken a look at your sleeping behavior?

Chances are, you are experiencing insomnia and you are not even aware of the consequences it brings.

Indeed difficulty sleeping is one of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease symptoms which you should pay close attention to.

In other words, if you find that sleeping is troubling you and is not as quality as it used to be, you better talk to your doctor for any possible additional examination.

Let’s face it, without a good solid 7-8 hours worth of sleep, the long-term effects on our body can be catastrophic.

13. Numbness

numbness
When it comes to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease symptoms, one of them is numbness that can occur in some parts of the body.

Whether it’s fingers on hands or feet or even the whole arm, it can happen that a patient loses a sense of feel.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease symptoms conclusion

As a caregiver or even a family member, you should always pay close attention to all kinds of changes in the body, both physical and mental.

Those small shifts can help take action early enough to prescribe the right treatment and alleviate the condition.

In the majority of cases, we act almost too late, so make sure that’s not you. Let these symptoms help you discovering Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease as soon as possible.

7 End-Stage Dementia Signs in Elderly

end-stage dementia signs

We noticed multiple different end-stage dementia signs over the course of 10 years of our experience with this deadly condition.

This essentially means that the person with the disease and caregivers should start preparing for the affected person’s demise.

It is important to note that the illness affects people differently. Thus, the severity or timings of the end-stage WARNING signs may vary from one person to the next.

After diagnosis, most people will live between 4 to 20 years.

Before their final days on earth, a person who has dementia may showcase several symptoms.

Below we will discuss seven of the most common signs that occur during the last stage of dementia.

Most Common End-Stage Dementia Signs

1. Trouble Communicating

trouble communicating
You will notice that many people with dementia at the onset have a little bit of trouble communicating with others. This becomes WORSE as the years go by.

During the severe/last stage of dementia, the ill person will have significant communication issues. Some only use expressions or words sparingly to express themselves.

Most people do not verbally communicate at the very end. During the later stages of dementia, affected individuals may not be able to understand when other people talk to them.

In the event of no speech, persons with dementia may use facial expressions, body language, or show agitation to communicate their feelings and needs.

2. Health Problems

health problems
A wide array of health problems belong to the category of end-stage dementia signs.

This is where a person with dementia may become frail and prone to illnesses like infections such as pneumonia, pain or discomfort.

UTI’s (Urinary Tract Infections) are particularly common in the end stages. These can speed up the progression of the disease or cause more confusion in the people who have dementia.

Some persons may experience more side effects with the medications they are taking. Health problems may also include problems with vision, hearing, and mobility.

If treatable, any health conditions must be QUICKLY diagnosed and taken care of.

In addition to medication, caregivers should also try non-drug approaches like a massage and other alternative therapies to help offer relief to the persons with the illness.

3. Severe Memory Loss

severe memory loss
When a person with dementia gets to the final stages of the illness, high chances are that they will have SIGNIFICANT memory problems.

They may lose the ability to remember even the most recent memories.

For instance, a person may not recall what they have just eaten or who they were speaking to an hour ago. A high percentage of persons with the illness believe that they are living in earlier times, for example when they were still teens.

This implies that they may start to behave or using words that may not make sense to people around them.

The affected person may also lose their ability to recognize themselves or other individuals close to them, like children, friends, colleagues, and neighbors, etc.

4. Incontinence and Toilet Issues

incontinence and toilet issues
Another example of end-stage dementia signs is toilet problems and incontinence. As the illness progresses, there is a possibility that the person will EXPERIENCE some accidents while trying to use the washroom.

It can be anything from the occasional urine or fecal leaks or a total loss of control when the person needs to use the toilet.

Many factors can cause this, such as:

  • Forgetting where the facilities are or forgetting to visit the toilet in time
  • Constipation
  • UTI
  • Not recognizing the need to use the toilet
  • Prostate gland issues, etc.

To avoid inconvenience, there are many incontinence products that patients with dementia can use.

5. Problems with Mobility

problems with mobility
People with dementia may also experience mobility issues as they go through the last stage of the disease.

Most people will lose their ability to stand, walk or get up from a bed or chair gradually.

At this point, the affected individuals may start to experience more falls.

While not all people with dementia will have mobility problems, the issues may be brought about by dementia, balance problems, medical conditions like stroke, drugs, and the environment, amongst others.

People with mobility problems are likely to DEVELOP other issues, like bedsores because they can sit or sleep in one position for a long time without moving.

When mobility decreases, the person with dementia is also at risk of blood clots and other infections.

6. Problems with Eating and Drinking

problems with eating and drinking
Changes in eating and drinking patterns are also considered to be part of end-stage dementia signs.

Most people will lose their appetite, which makes them eat less. As a result, most people with dementia will lose weight in an unhealthy manner.

Losing weight may have an effect on a person’s IMMUNE system, making it harder for the body to fight off other diseases.

Many people will have a problem with eating and drinking because they develop mouth sores or have problems swallowing.

Swallowing issues arise when a person’s reflexes and muscles cease to function correctly.

7. Loss of Independence

loss of independence
When talking about end-stage dementia signs, it is only right to mention that a person with the illness may lose their independence. This means that they cannot do simple daily tasks on their own.

They have to rely on caregivers to assist with tasks like taking a bath, dressing, walking, eating, brushing teeth and so forth. This usually means that a person cannot live on their own.

A person must get all the care they need so that they do not suffer too much before they exit the earth. If it is NOT POSSIBLE to offer the support that a person needs at home, it is best if they move to a facility that will take care of their needs.

In the end, even though dementia is fatal, most will die of medical complications that are related to dementia.

For example, a person’s death may be a result of aspiration pneumonia or a blood clot as a result of being bedbound and immobile.

Why Do Patients With Dementia Walk So Much?

why do patients with dementia walk so much

We received many messages asking us why do patients with dementia walk so much. Thus we found it necessary to create this in-depth overview.

When looking after a person with dementia, you may notice that persons with the illness may start walking too much.

While walking may not necessarily be a bad thing for a person with the progressive disease, it may at times seem to get out of hand.

Keep in mind that persons with dementia may not have control of their desire to walk about. There are a VARIETY of reasons affected persons may walk too much and some of them we include below.

Why someone walks about?

why someone with dementia walks about

Memory Loss

Dementia affects how the brain works and this may cause a person to experience short-term memory loss.

This means that a person can start walking with a certain goal in mind, but then forget where they were going or even why.

As a result, they can continue walking long distances WITHOUT a destination in mind.

Walking too much does not always happen outside a person’s home. It can also happen in the compound or in the house.

For instance, the affected individual may set off to look for something they think is lost or stolen. They may want to walk for a long period as they search for that particular item.

Confusion about Time

Being confused about time is another reason people with dementia may resort to walking so much.

Some people with dementia may wake up in the middle of the night, get dressed and prepare to start the day thinking that it is daybreak.

Some individuals WILL START walking too much at night because they have difficulties sleeping.

Feeling Lost or Looking for a Person

feeling lost or looking for a person
It is possible that a person with the progressive illness will start walking too much when they are feeling lost or disoriented.

They may; therefore, want to start walking in a bid to identify something familiar. Furthermore, an individual might even start looking for a LONG-LOST friend or relative.

They may not know where to locate the person they are looking for; thus, end up walking about in hope of finding their loved one.

Restlessness, Anxiety, and Agitation

Various dementia symptoms can cause a person with the progressive illness to start walking around. The most common ones include anxiety, restlessness, and agitation.

These can be caused by the changes that happen in the brain.

Some of the symptoms can also be SIDE EFFECTS of medication that a person is taking.

A percentage of people with dementia also suffer from restless leg syndrome. This is a medical condition that gives individuals an irresistible and overwhelming urge to move their legs to stop unpleasant sensations.

The condition makes people want to get up and start walking which mostly happens at night. Feeling anxious can also make a person stand up and walk away because they WORRY about something that is probably out of their control.

Boredom

boredom
Boredom can also make people with dementia start walking. It usually happens when an individual can no longer do fun things they used to do.

This ends up robbing a person of their sense of purpose and SELF-WORTH to some extent. Walking too much may be a way of finding something fulfilling to do.

A person may also start walking about because they have too much unused energy. This is common for persons who engage in limited physical and mental activities.

Reliving Pain

In some cases, persons with dementia walk so much because they are trying to ease their pain or discomfort.

Many individuals resort to walking as a way of trying to escape from their pain. A person may also be responding to an uncomfortable environment that may be either too COLD or too HOT.

Some individuals with dementia may additionally find it challenging to stay in a place that has too much noise; hence, may start walking away in search of a quiet place.

Continuing an Interest or Habit

Why Do Patients With Dementia Walk So Much
Most people with dementia will try as much as possible to relieve old routines after getting a diagnosis.

An example of this is walking.

The affected person may want to be out and about at the same time of the day. For instance, if the individual used to WALK their dog in the evening, they may want to get out of the house at that time.

A person may also want to remain independent especially when they reach a stage where they need assistance with various daily living activities.

Stepping away from their caregivers can give a person a sense of independence.

Closing Remarks

There are several reasons people with dementia will walk so much.

It is important for caregivers to identify what triggers the behavior and come up with EFFECTIVE WAYS to deal with it in a way that will not harm/hurt the person with the illness.

At times, it may be best to let the individual take a walk as long as they are in a safe environment.

This might mean that the individual with the illness may have to be accompanied by a friend or relative.

Sleep Apnea And Dementia- Increased Risk

sleep apnea and dementia

We recently found a study conducted by Monash University that found a connection between sleep apnea and dementia.

Thus, we wanted to look further into it.

To present you with a BETTER understanding of how the two conditions can affect each other.

Does Sleep Apnea Contribute To Dementia?

Led by the Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health’s Dr. Melinda Jackson, the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease published the study about the correlation between sleep apnea and dementia.

The findings showed that severe OSA causes an increase in beta-amyloid, which is a protein that accumulates on the walls of the brain’s arteries.

In turn, it INCREASES the risk of dementia.

34 individuals, who had recently been diagnosed with OSA, participated in the study.

12 of them were asymptomatic, meaning that they didn’t display ANY SIGNS that they were suffering from a sleep disorder.

The study used PET brain scans and measurements of mood, sleep, and demographics to explore the associations the brain’s amyloid had on an individual’s health.

The group with OSA recorded higher amyloid burdens and poorer sleep patterns.

Dr. Jackson explained that the discovery would help further research into treatment options for OSA aimed at reducing the risk of dementia.

Yet another study published in 2011 in The Journal of the American Medical Association showed that the link between sleep apnea and dementia is even greater in older women.

298 women, who were an average of 82 years old, had tests done to assess their cognitive function.

The overnight sleep tests monitored aspects like their heart rate, brain activity, respiration, and blood oxygen levels.

The women went through further cognitive tests five years later, and out of the lot, 105 were established to have sleep apnea.

Out of the group with the disorder, 45% suffered from dementia or mild cognitive impairments.

The LACK of steady oxygen flow to the brain stemming from sleep apnea was determined as the precursor to dementia.

Treating Sleep Apnea and Dementia

treating sleep apnea
It is possible to avoid having sleep apnea and dementia problems, by treating the sleep disorder in the first place.

Treatment is prescribed to address the underlying health problems that cause the condition in different individuals.

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is a therapy commonly used to treat sleep apnea.

It involves wearing a mask and keeping the airway open during sleep by gently delivering a constant stream of pressurized air.

It is not a viable choice for everyone because some people find it DIFFICULT to use the mask, and therefore, they explore alternative options.

Surgery to remove enlarged tonsils, or shrink or remove excess tissue is another viable option.

Lifestyle changes are highly recommended before exploring any other options.

This includes ADOPTING a heart-healthy diet, sleeping on your side, maintaining healthy sleep habits, managing weight, limiting alcohol consumption, and quitting smoking.

Final Thoughts on Sleep Apnea and Dementia

Several studies have proven that there is a potential link between sleep apnea and dementia.

A combination of mechanisms brought about by the disorder can lead to dementia and other cognitive impairments.

However, it is possible to halt the process of developing dementia as a result of OSA by treating sleep apnea as soon as it is diagnosed.

Bonus: What Is Sleep Apnea?

what is sleep apnea
Most people who suffer from the condition have a form that is called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which manifests when a physical blockage obstructs the upper airway.

In fact, estimates have it that about 1 billion people globally suffer from OSA.

Central sleep apnea (CSA) is equally as common, and it signals an underlying issue with the nervous system.

Some people experience mixed sleep apnea which is a combination of OSA and CSA.

A person momentarily stops breathing, for about 10 seconds or more, when the signal instructing the process is held up or if their airway closes.

When the breathing restores, they might take a deep breath, snort, or get roused from their sleep feeling like choking, gasping, or being smothered.

If untreated, sleep apnea can become a gateway to other complications including depression or even heart disease.

It also increases the risk of accidents because a person who suffers from the disorder often feels drowsy during the day leaving them prone to making risky mistakes while working or driving.

What Causes Sleep Apnea?

what causes sleep apnea
Several factors contribute to the risk factor of developing sleep apnea in adults including:

  • Obesity
  • Hereditary traits including a round head, thick neck, and narrow throat
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Allergies
  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Use of sedatives

Diagnosis of Sleep Apnea

how is sleep apnea diagnosed
An individual who has sleep apnea rarely knows it or can self-diagnose, and often it takes another person to notice the symptoms.

The signs include:

  • Momentary lapses in breathing followed by noisy breath
  • Loud snoring
  • Gasping for air

Some of the symptoms that the person who has the disorder might notice themselves include:

  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia or restless sleep
  • Waking up with a sore throat or dry mouth
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Waking up from sleep severally to go to the bathroom

However, the only way to conclusively diagnose the condition is through a physical examination.

A physician will access an individual’s complete medical history to figure out whether they have struggled with symptoms like snoring or daytime sleepiness for a considerable period.

The doctor also EXAMINES the person’s neck and head looking for the presence of any physical factors associated with the condition.

The process often involves filling a questionnaire to establish a person’s sleep patterns, the quality of sleep they get, and if they struggle with daytime drowsiness.

Tests like polysomnograms, EEG, Pulse Oximetry, EKG, and Arterial Blood Gas (ABG) may also be used to diagnose sleep apnea.

Sugar And Dementia (Makes It Worse?)

sugar and dementia

We reviewed numerous studies that suggest a possible link between sugar and dementia.

This is after researchers confirmed that consuming TOO much sugar in any form puts a person at a higher risk of getting dementia.

One longitudinal study exposed the fact that persons with high levels of blood sugar experience faster cognitive decline rates than the ones with normal blood sugar levels.

Another study by Melissa Schilling reveals that elevated insulin plays a huge role in the development of dementia.

Seeing that too much sugar is one of the RISK factors of dementia, which still has no cure, to date, it is important to keenly study the relationship between the two to find out how both factors reconcile.

Below you will uncover some of the ways that consuming too much sugar can increase the risk of developing dementia EVEN at a young age.

Poor Insulin Control

poor insulin control
When your body always has to deal with insulin resistance, it means that you will be at a higher risk of developing dementia.

Note that when you eat different types of food, including sugar, starches, and carbohydrates, the body breaks them down into glucose.

When the digestion process takes place, the small intestines and the stomach absorb all the glucose and then sends it into your bloodstream.

Insulin, which is a hormone that the pancreas produces, transports the sugar/glucose in the bloodstream to the cells in your muscles and other organs.

Your body will produce MORE insulin when the levels of blood sugar are too high. This implies that insulin will, essentially, try to give the cells more sugar.

When this happens, the cells are bound to try and protect themselves from insulin’s powerful effect, thus creating insulin resistance.

The pancreas then responds to this resistance by giving the body even more insulin. This creates a vicious cycle where insulin resistance results in higher blood sugar levels.

Where there is an insulin spike, too much glucose will find its way to the brain through the bloodstream. This will eventually DESTROY the cells in the brain, a move that can lead to the development of dementia.

An Overdose of Glucose in Brain Cells

an overdose of glucose in brain cells
The brain needs glucose as a source of energy.

However, when there is too much sugar in the brain, the cells in this organ can easily absorb the glucose.

It is worth noting that brain cells, unlike other cells in the body, do not require insulin to absorb glucose. This means that the cells in the brain will DIRECTLY absorb the glucose from the bloodstream because sugar usually crosses the barrier in the brain fast.

When too much sugar is flowing in the brain, it will NOT PRODUCE useful mental energy. This is because the brain can only convert sugar into energy with the help of insulin.

After a long period of consuming simple carbohydrates and sugar, the brain will have an overflow of sugar that is not beneficial in any way.

In fact, when talking about sugar and dementia, it is safe to say that a high insulin load will prevent the brain from using glucose as a source of energy because it will have excess levels.

When the brain cells do not get the energy they need from glucose, they eventually die off one of the events that lead to the onset of dementia.

The sad fact is that brain cells get too much sugar but CANNOT make good use of it.

Too Much Sugar Clogs the Brain and Causes Inflammation

too much sugar clogs the brain and causes inflammation
Another front that shows evidence of the link between sugar and dementia is the fact that obese individuals have a doubled risk of developing dementia.

Most people will become overweight because of a poor diet that mostly consists of too much sugar.

As a result, this causes clumps in the brain that affect how it functions. To better understand this concept, it is essential to know that obese persons typically have TOO MANY amyloid proteins in the brain.

These proteins are toxic to the brain because they stick together and start forming clumps. These clumps are usually present in the brains of people who have different forms of dementia.

In the medical world, there is still a huge debate as to whether the clumps that amyloid proteins form are responsible for dementia even though they are generally present in persons who already have dementia.

Experts also believe that HIGH sugar amounts in the body can cause inflammation.

Inflammation has been LINKED to dementia, diabetes, heart diseases, and cancer. Inflammation inside the body is akin to a swollen red, infection on the skin that is full of puss.

When there is inflammation in the brain or other parts of the body, the body has to get into a position where it is always fighting infections.

When this happens, it will lead to cognition breaking down because the brain, as well as the blood vessels, are irritated and swollen.

Eating Sugar Leads to Addiction

eating sugar leads to addiction
Experts have established that excess sugar in the brain can impair both cognitive skills as well as self-control. Many people experience cravings after consuming a little sugar.

Sugar is known to have a drug-like effect on the brain’s reward center. Scientists propose that sweet, salty, and fatty foods can produce addiction effects in the brain.

This results in overeating, loss of self-control, and CONSEQUENTLY weight gain.

This drive, on the other hand, can lead to excess amounts of sugar in the brain, which is a dementia risk factor.

Too much sugar in the brain is harmful as it can result in deficits in attention, memory, and slow cognitive function.

Too much Sugar Leads to Strokes

too-much sugar leads to strokes
Another possible variable when discussing sugar and dementia is the fact that too much glucose in the blood vessels can lead to stroke.

This is because a spike in blood sugar can cause the vessels to become weak. Meaning, they will not function as they should leading to strokes, which can make a person get various dementia forms.

In such a case, the brain cells will die because they lack oxygen.

How to Reduce Adverse Effects of Sugar and Dementia

how to reduce adverse effects of sugar and dementia
It is almost IMPOSSIBLE to cut off sugar in your diet, seeing that most fruits are loaded with sugar. This, however, does not mean that you should not try and limit the amount of sugar that goes into your system.

There are several steps you can take to prevent getting dementia because of too much sugar like:

Balancing blood sugar

balancing blood sugar
This has everything to do with the things that you put into your mouth.

Avoid those high-fat and sugar diets because they will only lead you into trouble. Take off the unhealthy stuff that includes alcohol, refined carbs, caffeine, dairy, processed foods, etc.

Instead, your diet should constitute healthy alternatives like leafy green vegetables, nuts, good fats, and grass-fed meats, among many others.

These foods are not only great for your waistline, but they will also make the brain very happy.

If you are NOT TOO sure about the foods to be eating, it is best to work with a dietician who will give you proper guidance.

Remember that sugars present in soft drinks and sweets can lead to a spike in blood sugar levels. The ones from complex carbs are absorbed in a slower rate.

Exercising

exercising
Another way to tame blood sugar is to get physically active. This helps to reduce blood sugar levels and weight if need be.

If you have not been working out for long, try and schedule at least 150 minutes of exercise every week.

You DO NOT have to go into a gym or start working with an expensive professional trainer.

Brisk walking for a few minutes every day can do the trick. Take short but frequent breaks as you walk. This can be as short as forty seconds or one minute.

This can help to lower blood sugar effectively.

Some experts also advise taking a walk after meals. Exercising can also mean taking the stairs more than using the lift, parking a little further from your destination, and moving around if you sit around for hours.

When you are more active, your muscles will increase their glucose intake, which will prevent instances of insulin resistance.

Get enough rest and avoid stress

get enough rest and avoid stress
Giving the body enough rest is crucial if you want to protect the health of your brain. This includes getting quality sleep and listening to your body when it needs to rest.

Additionally, it is also important to avoid stress triggers because they are not good for your health.

Do things that you love and enjoy and talk to a trustworthy person if you feel like things are getting out of hand to keep stress at bay.

Sugar and Dementia Conclusion

It is now evident that there is a connection between sugar and dementia.

Experts agree that faster cognitive decline happens when there are high sugar levels in the blood, whether the sugar levels make a person diabetic or not.

It is one of the reasons why you should control sugar consumption while ADOPTING a healthy lifestyle to reduce the risk of dementia and other diseases.

Depression And Alzheimer’s Disease (Common?)

depression and alzheimers disease

We reviewed and studied the possible connection between depression and Alzheimer’s disease with out team of experts.

Almost HALF of the population with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) will experience depression symptoms at some point.

Depression is a condition that causes people to feel irritable, sad, or hopeless most of the time. This can occur during any stage of the disease and most of the time, it makes symptoms of AD more severe.

For instance, depression can make an ill person experience more confusion, anxiety, and forgetfulness.

Experts agree that depression plays a significant role in disease progression, disability, and caregiver burden.

Some people will showcase depressive signs during the early stage, while others will have these in the middle or later stages of Alzheimer’s.

In some cases, depression may COME AND GO while in others, it stays for long periods.

Below we look at more in-depth details of depression and Alzheimer’s, including possible causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options.

Causes of Depression in Persons with Alzheimer’s

causes of depression and Alzheimer's disease
It is not easy to pinpoint the exact cause of depression in a person who has AD.

However, there are a few factors that might lead to depression like:

  • After hearing the diagnosis, a person may fall into depression during the early stages of the illness.
  • Losing independence as the illness progresses can also be the cause of depression.
  • Side effects of certain medications can also result in depressive symptoms.
  • Social isolation and fatigue might also cause depression.
  • Feeling stressed or worried about issues like the future, relationships, and money.
  • Physical illness.
  • Having a genetic predisposition to depression.

Symptoms of Depression in People with Alzheimer’s Disease

symptoms of depression in people with alzheimers disease
Depression affects individuals in different degrees and ways. Medics usually talk of severe, moderate, and mild dementia.

Diagnosing depression in a person who has AD can be challenging.

This is because the symptoms of depression and Alzheimer’s tend to overlap.

Examples of common signs for both include:

  • Social withdrawal
  • Apathy
  • Loss of interest in hobbies and other activities a person previously enjoyed
  • Impaired thinking
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Feelings of low self-esteem
  • Pains and aches that seem to have no physical cause

Worth noting is that cognitive impairment that people with Alzheimer’s experience typically makes it CHALLENGING for them to articulate guilt, sadness, hopelessness, and other feelings that come with depression.

Other signs that are common with depression include:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Loss of appetite and weight
  • Lack of energy
  • Not wanting to be around others
  • Crying all the time
  • Feeling worthless
  • Being irritable and agitated most of the time
  • Having thoughts of suicide or death repeatedly

Diagnosing Depression in Individuals with AD

diagnosing depression in individuals with AD
Experts have not yet come up with a single questionnaire or test that medics can use to diagnose depression in persons who have Alzheimer’s disease.

Medical professionals must conduct a thorough evaluation, particularly because there are medical conditions and side effects of medicines that can produce comparable symptoms.

It is essential to diagnose depression in persons with AD because it can respond positively to treatment.

Evaluation for depression usually includes:

1. Mental and physical examinations
2. Review of a person’s medical history
3. Interviews with relatives who know the individual well

It may be helpful to consult a geriatric psychiatrist to handle the evaluation because of the complexities that are involved in the entire process.

The professionals specialize in identifying and also treating depression in older adults.

Treatment Options

treatment options
When it comes to treating depression and Alzheimer’s, the timing of the condition will determine the most appropriate treatment option.

There are two main approaches for treating depression, and these are using medications, therapies, and non-drug approaches.

Use of Medications

use of medications
A doctor may prescribe antidepressants to treat severe or persistent depression in persons with AD.

These can include drugs like SSRIs (serotonin reuptake inhibitors) and others that can help to ease sadness and lift moods.

Some people with Alzheimer’s may also be put on mood-stabilizing medicine or specific antipsychotic drugs to help treat depression.

A person must be cautious when taking these medications because some may not be helpful for somebody with Alzheimer’s.

This is particularly in cases of mild depression.

Another reason is that chemicals in the brain that cause depression are usually different for persons with Alzheimer’s.

Additionally, the cause of distress for some people may be something that medicine can’t fix, such as social withdrawal.

Depression mediation might also cause problems like dizziness, falls, and confusion amongst other side effects. It is usually advisable to try other treatment options before taking the medicine route.

Because every person with AD is unique, they might need to try different drugs under a doctor’s instructions to identify the ones that will work and present fewer side effects.

At times, one person may need to consult several doctors before determining what works for them.

Therapies

therapies
A person with depression and Alzheimer’s can try different therapies to try and get rid of depression. This mostly works for individuals with moderate depression.

Examples of helpful therapies include:

Psychotherapy

This is where an individual works closely with a professional psychiatrist or psychologist to come up with an effective solution to the depression problem.

These are professionals who specialize in treating mental health.

Talking therapy

These are therapies that encourage suffering people to talk about how they feel.

Professionals base this on the model of how the human mind works. Psychotherapists, counselors, and other experts can conduct the sessions so that that participant can get the desired results.

Studies show that after several sessions of talking therapy, depression reduces in persons who have Alzheimer’s.

Various forms of talking therapies exist, including CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), interpersonal therapy, and counseling as well.

Some medics may also recommend transcranial magnetic stimulation or electroconvulsive therapy as part of treatment. These are brain stimulation techniques that can help a person with AD.

A GP can also suggest other therapies that they feel will be helpful to the individual with AD.

These therapies typically need to be modified to suit a person’s level of memory, understanding, and communication.

It is usually best to work with therapists who have experience working with persons who have dementia.

Non-Drug Approach

non drug approach
There are several options that people with Alzheimer’s and depression can try if not on medication to treat depression such as:

1. Exercise

Getting physically active can also help reduce depression symptoms significantly. This also helps a person to stay fit which ultimately improves their health.

Make sure that the individual only takes part in ENJOYABLE physical activities depending on their ability so that working out does not stress them out.

If a person has more energy in the morning, program exercise activities at this time.

2. Counseling and support groups

Professional counseling and being part of helpful support groups can also help to take care of depression in people with AD.

This is usually helpful for mild depression that lifts by itself after some time.

3. Being around other people

It is important for people with Alzheimer’s and depression not to spend all their time alone because they will sink further into depression.

Participating in enjoyable group activities with loved ones or even other people in similar conditions can decrease depression symptoms.

4. Routines

A reassuring routine can reduce the negative effects of depression.

It helps to schedule predictable routines that take advantage of a person’s best time of the day to undertake activities they may find challenging like taking a bath.

5. Interaction

One-on-one interactions with other people may also help. This includes hand-holding, conversations, and gentle massage when appropriate.

6. Living environment modifications

Modifications to the affected person’s living environment are also advisable. This is where changes like reducing loud noises and bright lights can help create more comfortable and soothing living spaces.

Some people may not be comfortable in areas that have too many people.

7. Familiar places and activities

Coming up with a list of places, activities, and people that the ill individual enjoys and scheduling them more frequently can also help treat dementia.

8. Positive vibes

Caregivers and other people around the person with depression need to emit positive vibes at all times. Remember to celebrate small occasions and successes as this helps everyone to feel better; thus, fight depression.

Spark happiness in them.

Nurture the affected person with inspirational or soothing activities or their favorite foods.

Caregivers also need to reassure the person, letting them know that they appreciate, love, and respect them as a valuable member of the family or society.

Depressed persons also need to know that they will not be abandoned. Furthermore, people should also have realistic expectations when dealing with individuals with the illness.

Expecting too much can upset all parties.

Caregivers need to look after themselves, too

Caregivers of persons with depression and Alzheimer’s should also remember to take care of themselves.

Looking after persons with AD is usually not easy.

If caregivers do not indulge in self-care, they risk experiencing too many frustrations and other negative feelings to a point where they will not be in the right frame of mind to care for the individual.

Taking adequate breaks and seeking help when feeling overwhelmed are some of the steps caregivers can take so that they do not become worn out.

Depression and Alzheimer’s Closing Remarks

It is common for people with Alzheimer’s to experience depression often. This is not something to ignore and wish away.

Proper diagnosis needs to be carried out so that the treatment of depression and Alzheimer’s can start as soon as possible.

Early treatment often leads to a better quality of life for persons with AD, and it also makes life more enjoyable and easier for caregivers and other people around the person with Alzheimer’s.

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