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.

Rapidly Progressive Dementia (Treatment & Diagnosis)

rapidly progressive dementia

Over the course of our studies, we discovered different types of dementia, including rapidly progressive dementia (RPD).

This is a form of dementia where deterioration from onset happens at a SPEEDY rate when you compare it to other dementias.

Experts, most of the time, predict two years as the time frame for the development of the illness. However, in most cases, RPD usually develops sub-acutely in a few weeks or months.

Various factors can lead to the development of RPD like:

The progression of RPD is different from one person to another because it mostly depends on the cause.

Persons with the disease usually develop problems with communication, movements, thinking, and personality.

Let’s find out more RPD explicitly touching on the diagnosis process and available treatment options.

Rapidly Progressive Dementia Diagnosis

diagnosis
RPD is rare and challenging to diagnose. Nonetheless, accurate and early diagnosis is essential because a majority of the causes of the illness are treatable.

If you suspect that a person has the illness, it is advisable to see a doctor who specializes in these medical conditions.

The professional then makes a proper diagnosis.

The practitioner might ask some questions concerning the medical history of the person suspected to have the illness, the progression of symptoms, recent possible exposures i.e. from toxins, infections, chemicals, or travel as well as any similar diseases present in biological relatives.

Thorough documentation of all medications, both prescribed and non-prescribed, is also imperative.

The medics also perform CAREFUL physical examinations. These help spot any physical issues as well as evaluate the current mental function level.

These examinations determine whether there are other neurologic features present and whether there are any organs in the body that are affected by the illness.

To confirm whether a person has rapidly progressive dementia or not, doctors normally combine different types of diagnosis methods to come up with conclusive results. These include:

Rapidly Progressive Dementia Tests

Laboratory Tests

laboratory tests
Ancillary testing is crucial mainly because many RPDs have similar clinical features.

Doctors may request various laboratory tests that may include:

  • Blood tests
  • Urine tests
  • Brain imaging like electroencephalogram which measures electrical activity in the brain from the scalp, MRI or CT.
  • Cerebrospinal fluid tests which involves looking at the clear fluid that surrounds the spinal cord and the brain.

The results that the doctor will gather from the tests can HELP to determine the cause of the disease.

Lumbar Punctures

lumbar punctures
A lumbar puncture or CSF can also be performed on a person to determine if they have rapidly progressive dementia.

It is usually beneficial for persons who have neoplastic, infectious, or autoimmune disorders.

EEG

Some doctors also find that it is necessary to conduct EEG in a bid to rule out seizures as one of the causes of RPD.

Brain Biopsy

In a few cases, a brain biopsy is necessary.

RPD Treatment Options

treatment options
Regarding rapidly progressive dementia, it is important to mention that treatment for most cases of RPD is palliative.

The illness is perpetually fatal, and experts give it a median survival rate of 6-11 months even though some people can live for three years upwards.

On the other hand, some types of RPD are reversible if doctors can efficiently treat the cause of the disease.

For instance, if the illness is a result of hormonal imbalance or cancer, treatment CAN TARGET these specific conditions in a bid to help treat RPD.

Some treatment options that may help curb treatable RPD include:

Paraneoplastic and Autoimmune Encephalopathies

paraneoplastic and autoimmune encephalopathies
If medical practitioners suspect autoimmune encephalopathy, they will recommend a trial of immunotherapy for the ill person, which will help to treat RPD in responsive persons.

Immunotherapy, however, does not work when the person with dementia has infections that will become worse after immunosuppression.

Physicians also avoid steroids when lymphoma is differential because it can DELAY EFFICIENT treatment. Worth noting is that steroid trials work as diagnostic tests as well as treatment options.

This implies that doctors need to administer a high dosage for a clear clinical response.

The doctor will determine the number of steroids to give out because currently, there is no documentation on the minimum steroid dose that is sufficient to treat dementias that are immune-mediated.

Persons who cannot tolerate steroids will often go through PLEX (plasma exchange) or a course of IVIg.

Toxic Metabolic

toxic metabolic
To treat toxic-metabolic etiologies, doctors will first find out the specific disorder that they need to tackle.

Thiamine deficiency is one of the disorders that has proven to be more affordable and easier to treat empirically rather than going in to rest the thiamine levels.

Specialists use A COMBINATION of glucose and thiamine to treat a person who has Wernicke encephalopathy to help with treatment.

Taking Care of Infectious RPD

rapidly progressive dementia
When it comes to treating infectious rapidly progressive dementia, infectious disease specialists should first detect the type of infection that the person had before recommending the appropriate treatment.

For example, antivirals are normally suggested to individuals who have viral encephalitis. Medics also screen persons with RPD to look for infections like Lyme disease, syphilis, and HIV.

When diagnosed EARLY enough, such infections are treatable.

This is one of the reasons why it is essential to consult the specialists soon enough so that they have adequate time to identify and treat the infection before it is too late.

Maintenance Therapy

maintenance therapy
Studies indicate that persons who have positive responses to immunotherapy trials often require long-term treatment because relapse rates are usually high.

Individuals with RPD must, therefore, also go through maintenance therapy to maintain remission. Most people will go through suitable osteoporosis and screening for latent tuberculosis as part of this process.

Clinicians will, however, advise on the best approach for maintenance therapy depending on an individual’s progress regarding treatment.

Antiviral Medications

antiviral medications
These are medications that come in handy, especially in cases where prion diseases cause RPD.

The medicines, when administered in the right way, help to significantly improve clinical status where persons with the illness record a relapse of symptoms.

Depending on the individual, a doctor can also prescribe anticonvulsants to help deal with seizures.

Doctors may also prescribe other forms of medications that will offer relief to the persons with RPD, depending on why they got the illness in the first place.

In instances where the individual does not have the option to take medicine, the TREATMENT approach mainly FOCUSES on improving the quality of life and making sure that a person is as comfortable as possible.

Some of the options available when it comes to this include:

In-Home Care

in-home care
Because many people who have rapidly progressive dementia do not have many years to live, it is advisable to think of collaborating with an in-home care agency.

These are companies that have the experience and the expertise needed to care for a person who has medical conditions like RPD.

It works well for families that want their loved ones to stay at home while receiving expert care round the clock.

Staying in a familiar environment is beneficial as it helps to offer persons with RPD peace of mind and security.

This also allows NON-PROFESSIONAL caregivers (friends and relatives) to go on about their business so that they can spend time with their unwell relatives when they are free without feeling too overwhelmed.

In-home care professionals may offer services like assistance with dressing, walking, grooming, bathing, as well as medication reminders, appointment transportation, light housekeeping, meal preparations, errands, and shopping, amongst others.

Take time before working with any in-home agency to ensure you settle on the RIGHT FIT for the affected individual.

Above all, ensure that the person who will be spending time with the person with RPD has proper qualifications and preferably has experience working with persons who have this type of dementia.

When in-home care does not give the results a family is looking for, it is probably best to look for an appropriate care facility that will be in tune with the needs of the ill individual until they take their last breath.

Working with Routines

working with routines
It may also help to develop routines that the person will follow. Many individuals with RPD find comfort in routines. This is because, when crafted well, they help to reduce anxiety and confusion.

Routines can include waking up, sleeping, exercising, and eating at specific times.

For instance, an individual can wake up at six am have breakfast at seven am shower an hour later, rest, eat lunch at one, participate in an activity at three, go for an evening walk or exercise at five and retire to bed at eight pm.

Remember that when coming up with routines, it helps to consider the needs of the suffering person so that their day is full of activities they enjoy and love.

The routine should also not be cast in stone. It should be adjusted along the way to ensure the person with dementia has productive and comforting days.

Conclusion

Rapidly developing dementia, unlike other forms of dementia, usually develops at a fast rate.

While some cases of RPD are treatable after early diagnosis, others are irreversible, depending on the cause. If a loved one ever gets RPD, it is best to consult a doctor as soon as possible.

It is important to know the next steps to take to ensure a person receives the right treatment. Not to mention, lives comfortably until the illness runs its course.

Alcohol Dementia (Symptoms & Treatments)

alcohol dementia

We are observing the negative effects and health problems of alcohol daily, including alcohol dementia.

This is a health condition that leads to SEVERE cognitive issues as well as improper neurological functioning.

Alcohol-Related Dementia

It is one of the detrimental effects of alcohol on the human body that not many people are aware of.

The illness can affect any person at any age more so the ones who are into consuming LARGE quantities of alcohol over a short period.

It is unlike other dementia types that normally affect the elderly.

This kind of intoxication deprives the body of important nutrients causing brain damage as well as harmful effects to major organs in the body. Including pancreas, liver, kidneys, and many more.

Note that alcohol has a direct negative effect on brain cells.

This results in a lack of insight, poor judgment, and difficulties making proper decisions. To some extent, alcohol-induced dementia is similar to Alzheimer’s disease.

They both affect COGNITIVE and MEMORY abilities.

Symptoms of Alcohol Dementia

symptoms of alcohol dementia
Alcohol-related dementia is influenced by two important factors:

Korsakoff syndrome

This is a condition that translates through frequent episodes of confusion, depression, memory issues, and inability to speak among others.

Dementia and alcohol are related in this case because excessive alcohol consumption prevents normal neurological functioning.

This leads to the development of dementia in people who abuse alcohol.

Wernicke’s encephalopathy

This occurs when an individual does not have a vitamin known as thiamine in their body.

Over-the-top drinking and vomiting normally cause this.

Drinking too much alcohol regularly results in thiamine deficiency.

Experts reckon that alcoholics typically develop Wernicke’s encephalopathy first, which then causes Korsakoff syndrome.

Ultimately, the SEVERE MEMORY ISSUES that are associated with Korsakoff syndrome will result in dementia that is caused by alcoholism.

Check out some of the most common symptoms that people who have dementia caused by alcoholism showcase.

Confusion

confusion
This is one of the most common symptoms of this kind of dementia. People with the illness appear not to be in a position to think clearly.

Many feel disoriented and have a tough time making decisions or focusing.

Confusion normally makes a person experience sudden emotional changes like being agitated out of the blues.

An individual may also have incoherent speech and lack awareness of time or location.

Repetition

A high percentage of individuals who have this illness will find themselves telling the same story over and over again without even realizing it.

In line with this, some will also ask the same question repeatedly because THEY HAVE NO recollection of the queries that have just been asked or answered.

When having a conversation with such individuals, do not be shocked if they keep repeating the same information over ten times.

Impulsivity problems

A person who has alcohol dementia may start to be reckless with their finances.

This is where an individual may get into a habit of making rash financial decisions purchasing items they do not need.

They may also become too generous with their money giving it out aimlessly.

Such people usually have a DIFFICULT time CONTROLLING EMOTIONS. One minute they may be the happiest beings on earth and the next they start crying.

Inability to perform motor tasks

You may notice that a person who has alcohol-related dementia has challenges performing both simple and complex motor tasks.

These can include walking, running, getting dressed, or getting up and down a flight of stairs.

Heavy alcohol abusers also experience damage to nerves in their legs and arms.

These people normally have issues with sensation, and they might also demonstrate unsteadiness on their feet.

An array of psychiatric problems

an array of psychiatric problems
Dementia that relates to alcohol is also known to produce various psychiatric issues. These can include disconnect from reality (psychosis), anxiety, depression, and changes in personality.

Some may also develop apathy which can be MISTAKEN for depression.

Impaired ability to learn new things

It can become very difficult for a person who has this type of dementia to start learning new things. This is because damage to the brain affects its comprehending and processing ability.

Other symptoms may include but are not limited to frequent headaches, anger episodes, slurred speech, mood swings, decreased spontaneity and initiative, and memory gaps.

Oddly, persons who have alcohol-related dementia may seem to be in total control of their faculties drawing correct deductions, playing games that require mental skills like cards or chess, and making witty remarks, etc.

Before concluding that a person has alcohol-related dementia, you must seek the services of a professional or doctor.

Because of the symptoms that the illness has, it becomes difficult to tell right away that dementia has been caused by alcohol abuse.

Doctors, however, can conduct several proper tests to come up with the right diagnosis.

The professionals will also be in a position to advise on how to combat the illness in the right way, depending on the individual.

Treatment for Alcohol Dementia

treatment for alcohol dementia
It is advisable to start treating alcohol-related dementia as fast as possible.

If we detect this dementia early enough, it means that the damage to the nerves and brain will not be excessive.

While the treatment process can be quite stressful for candidates with alcohol-induced dementia, it is necessary, if a person wants to PREVENT further health problems or death.

Studies show that women have more success reversing the effects of alcohol-related dementia than men.

Both genders, nonetheless, require support from their friends and family while undergoing treatment.

There are several treatment options that a person who has this dementia type can explore such as:

Quitting Alcohol

To cure this type of dementia, a person simply needs to quit drinking alcohol. When a person stops taking alcohol, it prevents further damage to nerves and brain function.

People with the illness can also show improvement by improving diet and exercising.

Alcoholism Treatment

alcoholism treatment
Quitting consumption of alcohol may not be the easiest thing to do. Doctors may put the person with dementia on alcoholism treatment when the situation is dire.

This typically consists of multiple IV infusions and therapies that attempt to replenish the vital nutrients the body has lost.

Most people will have to stay in a clinic or hospital for a certain period so that they can be monitored closely during the treatment.

Some who have the willing power may, however, go through alcoholism treatment successfully at home.

Others may even need a rehabilitation center to stay “clean.” This is because, during the treatment, a person MUST NOT touch even a single drop of alcohol.

It is usually a difficult moment because an alcoholic at this point has been used to the toxic substance to an extent that their bodies crave it and most feel like they cannot survive without a drink.

In such cases, alcoholism support groups can be helpful.

Thiamine Therapy

Thiamine therapy also helps with the treatment of dementia from the abuse of alcohol. This provides the body with the much-needed B1 or thiamine vitamin.

This vitamin is crucial in the body because it helps the brain cells convert sugar into energy.

When there is thiamine deficiency, it means that the brain cells will not have enough energy to function well.

The treatment comes highly recommended because it enhances the neurological functioning of people with alcohol-related dementia.

Additionally, it can also PREVENT this type of dementia FROM PROGRESSING to more dangerous stages.

Counseling

counselling
It is important to incorporate counseling as part of treating dementia caused by alcoholism. This is where the affected person gets a chance to talk to professional therapists.

It can help identify the root cause of the problem to eliminate it. After dealing with what causes a person to OVERINDULGE in alcohol, the chances of relapsing become slimmer.

Persons who have alcohol dementia may also benefit from services that memory clinics offer.

It is, therefore, wise to seek referrals from your doctor to point you in the direction of a good clinic.

You can also consider addiction programs that have been successful in helping people abstain from alcohol for the rest of their lives.

If the person who has dementia is living in a retirement community, remember to communicate this to the caregivers early enough. This is because not all communities may be aware of the health condition.

Some may not even have the proper resources to extend beneficial care.

If you find yourself in such a situation, continue searching until you can identify the community that will be the right fit.

Alcohol Dementia Final Remarks

To clarify things, alcohol dementia mostly affects people who drink EXCESSIVELY.

It is very rare for a person who gets tipsy once a week by having a few wine or beer glasses to develop the illness.

Individuals who are at risk are the ones who frequently intoxicate themselves with alcohol and suffer from hangover symptoms almost every day.

These are the people who are always feeling dizzy and vomit all the time.

Not treating the disease early enough can make it an incurable health condition.

Nonetheless, administering proper treatment on time gives alcoholics a chance to lead a happy, alcohol-free life.

BvFTD (What Is Behavioral Variant Frontotemporal Dementia?)

bvftd

Through years of study and research, we finally bring you a complete overview of Behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD).

One of the MOST COMMON forms of frontotemporal degeneration.

This is a variant that develops when there is progressive cell loss in the anterior and frontal areas of the brain.

It usually results in alterations in behavior, personality, and complex thinking.

This type of dementia is said to be the 2nd leading cause of cognitive disorder brought about by neurodegeneration in persons who are 65 years and below.

Causes of Behavioral Variant Frontotemporal Dementia

causes of behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia
The main cause of the illness is yet to be established.

Scientists acknowledge that with the disease, there is usually a HUGE build-up of different types of proteins with brain cells.

Experts talk about three kinds of protein i.e. TDP=43, tau, and FUS (fused – in sarcoma).

These types of proteins usually occur normally but the problem comes in when there are EXCESSIVE AMOUNTS in the brain.

Large amounts of protein in the brain cells make the cells lose their ability to function well and they finally die off.

When this happens, the affected parts of the brain will shrink.

As aforementioned, it is right to conclude that this type of dementia may occur when there is cell loss in the frontal and anterior part of the brain.

To add to this, it is important to mention that this dementia can also be caused by different pathologies.

These include the irregular deposits of proteins in the brain.

Some studies also suggest that genetics may have a role to play in the development of the illness.

Symptoms of bvFTD

symptoms of bvftd
There are several symptoms that can indicate a person has behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia.

1. Disinhibition

This is one of the hallmark features of the illness.

People with this type of dementia will often show changes in behaviors that are socially acceptable.

It is where you may find a person touching or approaching strangers inappropriately.

Some will lose their decorum or mannerisms where they can end up using vulgar language, being rude, or violate personal space among others.

Others will even start engaging in impulsive buying or selling habits or get into careless actions among many others.

2. Executive dysfunction

You may also tell that a person has this kind of dementia when they START STRUGGLING with executive functions like generation of ideas, planning, mental flexibility, and organizing.

This primarily happens when the brain starts to lose some essential cells in its frontal lobes.

3. Loss of empathy

It is common for dementia patients to appear detached, cold, or display an abnormal disregard for distress or pain.

Some will also start to show a diminished response to other people’s feelings and needs.

4. Dietary changes

Change in eating habits is another example of symptoms that a person may have when dealing with this dementia variant.

This may manifest in the form of binge eating which may lead to weight gain or restrained eating that causes one to lose weight.

Some folks may hate some foods they used to love before and others will have food fads where they only want to consume a specific type of food.

Other individuals will start oral exploration where they want to consume INEDITBLE objects.

5. Inertia

Another symptom that comes out for people with this dementia is a general loss of motivation, drive, or interest.

In extreme cases, individuals will require some form of push to continue or initiate daily living activities such as taking a bath or dressing.

Many caregivers will mistake this for depression.

6. Compulsive behaviors

These can range from harmless repetitive behaviors like picking, tapping, and scratching.

Others will be quite complex such as collecting, ordering, and cleaning.

At extremes, impulsivity can end up being self-destructive.

For instance, a person may think that it is proper to jump out of a moving car on the highway. Some individuals also end up indulging in inappropriate sexual behaviors.

7. Impaired judgment

Although this may come in later, you may find that a person who has this type of dementia is not capable of making the right decisions.

This means that they can easily become victims of scams in person or online.

Sadly, people with the illness rarely notice the changes they go through.

Similar to other types of FTD, symptoms usually start mildly and become more disabling and pronounced over 8-10 years.

The end-stage of this illness typically includes intense functional impairment. It is also possible that a person will experience memory or motor difficulty if not both.

It is advisable to SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION when you notice any of the symptoms above to get a timely diagnosis.

Diagnosing BvFTD

diagnosing behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia
To date, experts still do not have an easy time diagnosing this kind of dementia.

Given the gradual personality and behavioral changes that a person goes through, diagnosing this syndrome is not a walk in the park.

People will the illness will often go through SEVERAL mental and physical health referrals before the doctor can satisfactorily recognize the disease as a neurodegenerative disorder.

You may notice that a majority of the symptoms discussed above are synonyms with those of other dementia types. Something that increases the chances of MISDIAGNOSIS.

For early detection, there must be in-depth expert assessments of a person’s:

  • Medical history
  • Cognitive functions
  • Clinical observations
  • Caregiver reports on psychological and behavioral symptoms and the changes they bring.

Doctors and psychologists work hand in hand to assess a person’s current situation before concluding whether they have the disease or not.

An individual might have to undergo a couple of medical tests.

These may include brain scans which can show if there is a loss of brain cells in the FTD.

The professionals may also recommend blood tests, MRI, CT and other tests to confirm the clinical diagnosis.

This helps to rule out any other diseases because there is no single test that can diagnose this kind of dementia.

Treating bvFTD

treating bvftd
There is still no cure for this type of dementia. Doctors may, however, prescribe some medications that can help to manage the symptoms.

Some of these drugs may include SSRIs.

These are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors that can help a person manage symptoms like irritability, agitation, and lack of motivation.

Medical practitioners will also treat other illnesses that a person may have like high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol.

Other than medications, there are other ways persons with the illness can get relief.

This includes physical exercise, getting enough sleep, therapies, and consuming a balanced diet.

This helps to ENHANCE health while IMPROVING general fitness and daily mood.

Antipsychotics may also be prescribed to take care of severe disinhibition as well as physical and verbal outbursts.

Remember that a person with bvFTD should never start taking any type of medication without consulting their doctor first.

This is because they may end up choosing the wrong type of drugs that may end up causing them harm.

Note: Because a certain type of medication works with one person, you may not automatically get the same results.

Different people usually have different experiences with frontotemporal dementia.

Examples of medications to AVOID include the ones that have powerful anticholinergic side effects.

These may include narcotics, antihistamines, muscle relaxants, central nervous system stimulates, and barbiturates among others.

An individual may also opt to join a clinical trial to see if the practitioners can make him or her feel better.

Research continues when it comes to the treatment of this illness and there may be a breakthrough in the future.

Coping with Behavioral Variant Frontotemporal Dementia

coping with behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia
The lack of an FDA approved cure means that a person with bvFTD must learn to cope with the illness to live a LONG and FILFILLING LIFE.

This includes getting help from friends, relatives, and professionals whenever they are in need.

However, many people SHY AWAY from asking for, especially when it comes to simple tasks.

It is also important to access the living environment of the person with dementia to ensure it is safe and comfortable.

A suitable retirement facility should be considered if living at home is no longer ideal.

It is also advisable for persons with the illness to get into legal planning when the dementia is still in its early stages.

Here, he or she can articulate their wishes and needs.

At some point it may be advisable to have a LIVING WILL which will spell out any medical treatments that a person may like to keep them alive as well as other decisions like organ donation and pain management.

Power of Attorney may also be necessary so that there can be a trustworthy person who can act in place of the ill individual in regards to financial and medical matters.

BvFTD Closing Thoughts

With bvFTD, it is essential to note that the length of the disease, as well as the symptoms, can dramatically vary from one person to the next.

Research shows that people who have this kind of dementia usually have a lower life expectancy when compared to the ones who have Alzheimer’s disease.

The disease usually CHANGES with time. A person can live with the illness for years.

Death may not be necessarily caused by the illness directly.

In most cases, it is because of other complications like dehydration, pneumonia, extensive pressure ulcers, UTI, fractures, falls, or vascular events.

Mixed Dementia – What Is It, Symptoms & Treatment

mixed dementia

We studied and conducted a complete overview of self-explanatory mixed dementia.

People who have dementia may experience changes that represent TWO OR MORE types of dementia occurring simultaneously in the brain.

This disorder is quite complex.

There are several combinations possible which can be a mixture of one, two or even more of the types of dementia below:

The most common cases are usually a combination between blood vessel abnormalities commonly linked with vascular dementia and protein deposits usually seen in Alzheimer’s disease.

It is believed that about 10% of people with dementia also have the illness.

Scientists, however, reveal that this number could be HIGHER.

The illness may occur in different stages. These are important when it comes to guiding caregivers and physicians on how to best take care of people with this kind of dementia.

Below are seven common stages of mixed dementia.

7 Stages Of Mixed Dementia

1. No impairment

mixed dementia stages
This is where an individual can go about their business and life independently.

During this stage, there are no outward clear signs of the illness. At this stage, it is more or less if someone else suggests testing ourselves for (mixed) dementia or we read it in an article – like this one.

Since dementia starts developing years and years in advance, anyone at the age of around fifty should test themselves.

Sometimes even earlier.

2. Very Mild

very mild
The signs and symptoms at this stage also hardly manifest. Generally, there may appear normal forgetfulness signs that are associated with aging.

For instance, a person may struggle to remember the name of a loved one, but finally, figure it out after some time.

If these events start to repeat, become almost annoying, the individual should visit the doctor.

3. Mild

mild
During this point, the symptoms remain barely noticeable. A person may go on their daily lives without too much interruption.

Some people may, however, showcase symptoms such as repetition, slight memory loss, loss of concentration and difficulties managing finances such as balancing checkbooks.

Again if the person is doing the same mistakes again and again or forgetting the name of the same person, seeing the doctor is almost crucial.

4. Moderate

mixed dementia
It becomes clear at this stage that many people cannot complete routine tasks without some form of assistance.

This can be SIMPLE THINGS such as preparing meals, using the phone, changing television programs and completing laundry.

Some people also start to withdraw socially, experience incontinence and have trouble finding the right phrases or words.

5. Moderately Severe

moderately severe
During these final stages, people with this kind of dementia need help to go about their day to day lives.

Some symptoms may include an increase in memory loss, confusion regarding events, and current location.

Also, the need for a helping hand when picking appropriate clothing and tying shoelaces.

6. Severe

severe
The disease becomes worse at this stage and individuals can no longer perform duties on their own.

They may need a helping hand with a majority of their day-to-day activities including when dressing, going to the toilet, eating, walking, and sleeping.

At this time, a caregiver is almost a necessity.

7. Very Severe

very severe
The final stage is associated with signs like LOSS of muscle control, hard times with language ability, no control over urination, and losing awareness of the surroundings.

With this type of dementia, hence the name, several different symptoms and signs may occur from several other different dementias.

Mixed Dementia Symptoms

symptoms
Worth noting is that a diagnosis of mixed dementia is quite difficult.

Most people with the illness do not know that they have it because the many brain changes it involves are hard to detect.

Instead, persons are usually diagnosed with the kind of dementia that best suits the symptoms they have.

Many are the times when the disease is only seen during an autopsy rather than during life.

Depending on the dementia combination that a person has, the symptoms may vary widely.

Primarily, the symptoms are similar to those of a specific type of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Some people’s symptoms may be a clear indication of the existence of multiple kinds of dementia. These may include:

Learning Difficulties

learning difficulties
Trouble remembering newly acquired information is one of the earliest signs that people with dementia have.

You can teach a person something new today and if asked about it tomorrow, they may not know what you are talking about.

The reason for this is that dementia characteristically affects the section of the brain that is responsible for learning.

As a person grows older and the disease becomes worse, they may report more severe symptoms.

These can include disorientation, changes in behavior/mood, worsening confusion of places, time, and event, and becoming suspicious of friends, family members, or the caregivers who spend quality time with the individual with this type of dementia.

Loss of Memory

loss of memory
Everyone with dementia at one point experiences difficulties with memory. It usually starts off light something that does not bother many.

Trouble sets in when the loss of memory begins to interfere with a person’s ability to perform their normal daily tasks.

Signs of this may include the increasing need to rely on aids such as reminder notes or electronic devices to remember stuff.

Some people will even forget the most important dates of their lives like their birthdays, children’s/ partner’s birthdates, doctor’s appointments, and so on.

Many people with dementia also get into the habit of asking for the same details repeatedly.

Additionally, they may also lose things frequently and leave valuable items in unusual places.

Poor Judgement

poor judgement
People with mixed dementia may have a difficult time making the right call whenever necessary.

For instance, you may find that an individual does not have control over their money.

They may become over generous giving up huge chunks of money to telemarketers and other organizations.

Such people are usually vulnerable and they need a trustworthy person to guide them since they can easily fall into the hands of conmen.

As the disease, progresses, people with the illness may start to pay less attention to their bodies ignoring basic hygiene practices like brushing teeth, taking a shower, and putting on clean clothes, etc. Grooming becomes the last thing on their minds.

Mixed Dementia Treatment

treatment
To date, treatment for mixed dementia remains a challenge for medical practitioners.

However, there is a ray of hope for people with the illness because scientific studies show that it responds well to treatment options like:

Practicing Life-Long Heart-Healthy Lifestyle

practicing- ife-long heart healthy lifestyle
Although this is not a treatment option per say, leading a healthy lifestyle can help delay or prevent the advancement of symptoms as the person with dementia grows older.

When talking about a healthy lifestyle, it means eating right.

This is where you get at least 3 or 4 healthy balanced meals. Avoid processed foods and too much sugar.

People with this type of dementia should also drink loads of plain water, stop smoking, cease drinking alcohol, and take part in exercise even when it is not too strenuous to get the heart beating as it should.

It also involves honoring doctor’s appointments so that a professional can check you out and give any advice necessary.

Different Types of Therapy

different types of therapy
Some people with mixed dementia can benefit from various therapies.

These may include:

This is where the people with the illness take part in specific activities that help to stimulate thinking skills and how they interact with other people.

Most of the time these are usually group-based.

Facilitators often include games and music to make it more enjoyable.

Therapy can also assist with any movement issues to improve the overall quality and function of life.

It is best to have these done by a certified professional to avoid making things worse.

This is because it is not an easy task and caregivers need to be trained well on what to expect.

Drugs

drugs
Worth noting is that there is no medicine yet, for a person with a combination of two or more kinds of dementia.

Doctors may, however, prescribe various medicines in a bid to treat other underlying conditions that can cause damage to an individual’s blood vessels.

These include diseases like heart problems, stroke, diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.

Controlling these risk factors is vital because it may protect the brain from harmful vascular changes.

Some drugs can also help with a variety of symptoms.

This is where a person takes medicine to relieve symptoms such as aggression, agitation, and anxiety.

Before giving the go-ahead to take any medicine, the doctor has to assess the person’s environment and health.

Palliative Care

palliative care
Many people with mixed dementia end up in palliative care especially during the final stages of the disease.

This is the type of care that is accorded to people who have serious illnesses.

This can be done at home or in a health institution. It is quite different from the care that people receive when they are in the process of curing an illness.

The primary goal of this type of care is to enhance a person’s life quality focusing on the whole being i.e. mind, body, and soul.

Caregivers usually help persons under their care to become more independent while managing their daily lives.

They can also offer counseling and support when an individual needs these to help them feel better.

Final Thoughts


Thanks to advancements in the medical field, there are chances that as research continues to grow, mixed dementia will progressively be diagnosed and treated during life.

Experts are also coming up with new clinical trials for individuals to try and introduce new methods that will most likely manage, prevent, treat, or detect this type of dementia.

Pick’s Disease and Connection with Dementia

pick's disease

Are Pick’s disease and dementia/Alzheimer’s disease in any way connected?

Around 50,000 to 60,000 Americans suffer from bvFTD (behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia).

It is one of the causes of dementia that specifically affects the temporal and frontal lobes in the brain.

This can also be referred to as Pick’s disease.

Reports indicate that it was first described in 1892 by Arnold Pick, a Czech psychiatrist and neurologist. The disease got its name from this doctor.

What Causes Pick’s Dementia?

Earlier on, frontotemporal dementia and the disease were terms that were used interchangeably. Today, the illness is understood to be one of the causes of frontotemporal dementia.

The illness develops when there is an abnormal collection of tau proteins in the temporal and frontal brain lobes

These protein clusters are called Pick bodies.

The Pick bodies interfere with the brain’s transport system, which means that nutrients do not get to their destination.

As a result, some brain cells begin to die off, causing irreversible brain damage. This ends up causing behavioral, emotional, and cognitive changes in a person’s functioning.

It is mainly because the frontal lobe of the brain controls essential facets of a person’s everyday life which can include multitasking, inhibition, judgment, and planning, among others.

The temporal lobe, on the other hand, primarily affects language. The same thing happens to individuals who have other types of dementia.

Symptoms of the Pick’s Disease

symptoms of the disease

When a person has Pick’s illness, there are certain symptoms they can showcase, such as:

  • Sudden mood changes
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Depression-like symptoms like disinterest in activities or people they loved before
  • Repetitive behavior
  • Hard time keeping a job
  • Withdrawal from social interactions/poor social skills
  • Inappropriate or compulsive behavior
  • Changes in eating habits where an individual starts to eat greedily or overeats consuming too many sweets or large amounts of alcohol. The person may end up gaining weight.
  • Selfishness
  • Agitation
  • Changes in sexual behavior
  • Childlike behaviors
  • Apathy
  • Irritability, etc.

A person may also experience neurological and language changes like:

  • Reduced reading or writing skills
  • Shrinking vocabulary
  • Difficulties speaking, inability to speak, or trouble understanding what others are saying
  • Repeating or echoing what another person says
  • Stuttering
  • Copying simple shapes with a paper and pencil becomes challenging
  • Rigidity
  • Physical weakness
  • Muscle stiffness

Occasionally, people with the illness will also experience:

  • Problems moving
  • Challenges with incontinence
  • Trouble with coordination

It is important to understand that the symptoms of this illness may vary widely from one individual to the next.

The symptoms of the illness are usually progressive which means that they become worse as times goes by.

The rate of worsening may also vary from one individual to another.

In most cases, memory loss does not happen immediately. This usually comes in in the later stages of the illness.

It is important to seek medical attention as soon as one spots any of the above symptoms. This is because an expert can differentiate between the disease and Alzheimer’s during early onset.

A person can also get Pick’s illness at an earlier age than what is common for Alzheimer’s.

Some people will develop the disease when they are in their 20s although most people will get a diagnosis from ages 45-70.

Studies also show that more men than women get the disease.

When to See a Doctor about The Illness

pick's disease leading to dementia

Changes in mood, personality, and behavior, especially in middle-aged persons, can be a signal of the disease.

It is advisable to consult a health care provider if these changes start to interfere with:

  • How a person looks after themselves
  • An individual’s interest in participating in activities they enjoy
  • A person’s ability to maintain safety and health
  • An individual’s ability to effectively work at their job
  • A person’s ability to sustain relationships
  • How an individual handles daily tasks

One of the reasons it is important to have symptoms thoroughly checked is the fact that a majority of conditions that lead to dementia are reversible.

These include both psychological and medical problems that affect middle-aged persons and seniors as well.

When you see a doctor on time, he or she will be in a position to treat the curable conditions or at least slow them down if they cannot be stopped.

Early diagnosis of the disease also facilitates the start of early treatment.

It is usually the best time because it enhances the chances of symptoms improving.

Furthermore, it also allows the person with the illness to have ample time to plan for their future.

It may include making the necessary arrangements for care when they are no longer in a position to fully take care of themselves or make sound decisions.

Diagnosing Pick’s Disease

diagnosing picks disease
To date, there is no single test that doctors can perform to confirm that an individual has the illness.

The only way to confirm that a person has the disease is by studying the brain directly to identify the swollen neurons and Pick bodies.

The brain needs to be biopsied to make this possible.

This implies that a neurosurgeon takes a small part of the brain for testing. A pathologist will then examine the brain tissue using a microscope.

This typically happens during an autopsy after death.

When a person is alive, doctors study a person’s medical history and use special imaging tests and other tools to perform the diagnosis.

After taking a complete medical history, a qualified medical practitioner may also:

  • Ask the person to complete various writing and speech tests
  • Conduct detailed neurological examination and physical examination
  • Use PET, CT, MRI scans to look at the brain tissue
  • Talk to family members to learn about an individual’s behavior
  • Lab tests: These usually include blood tests so that the experts can rule out blood disorders, infections, hormonal disorders, chemical abnormalities, kidney or liver issues that may cause dementia symptoms

Biopsy is also becoming a popular method for offering a definite diagnosis when an individual is still breathing.

Many families are opting for this route because, in the absence of biopsy, diagnosis is based on symptoms plus ruling out other medical conditions.

Research suggests that about 25% of the people with this illness usually receive a gene from a parent that causes it.

It is still not clear what happens in other cases.

Treating Pick’s Disease

treating pick's disease
Just like the other forms of dementia, there are still no known cures for the illness.

However, doctors usually prescribe some treatments that can help deal with the symptoms of the disease.

For instance, a person may be under antipsychotics and antidepressants to help take care of behavioral and emotional changes.

The treatment aims to maximize the comfort and functioning of the people with the illness as much as possible.

Self-Care for People with Pick’s Disease

self care for people with the disease
A person with Pick’s disease should try their best to remain socially, mentally, and physically active.

Some of the things that an individual can engage in include:

1. Physical exercise

It will help to maximize mind and body functions while maintaining a healthy weight. This does not have to be something strenuous.

Something simple like taking a brisk walk for at least twenty minutes a day might do the trick.

Consuming a balanced diet for all meals and avoiding smoking and drinking too much alcohol might also help.

2. Mental exercises

Individuals are advised to participate in as much mental activity as they can handle.

Experts believe that mental stimulation may slow down the progression of the illness.

Reading, games, puzzles, crafts, and safe hobbies are examples of some excellent choices.

We have an in-depth article written on cognitive and physical exercises for dementia.

3. Social interactions

These are not only enjoyable, but they are also stimulating for a majority of people with the disease.

Many community or senior centers have a long list of scheduled activities perfect for those people with the illness.

Research on the Illness

Many institutes, including NINDS (The National Institute of Neurological Disorders) continue to invest in the research of the disease.

Among the multiple research projects include studying the harmful effects of protein build-up and how this relates to the development of frontotemporal dementia.

Additionally, experts seek to identify the genes that are involved with this medical condition.

This can help to identify effective therapeutic approaches that will facilitate the delivery of normal genes in the hope that this will restore or enhance brain function.

Other research projects may also help people get a better understanding of the disease.

This is in regards to the doctors and caregivers who deal with people with the illness as well as the individuals who have the illness.

Life Expectancy and Prognosis

life expectancy and prognosis
A person can live with Pick’s disease for an average of five-to-nine years.

Some people, however, survive for two decades or more with the illness.

During the early stages of the disease, a person may remain independent and able to do a majority of things on their own.

As time goes by, they may need assistance to complete their day-to-day activities well.

In the advanced stages of the illness, things typically take a different turn where an individual may need to be under 24/7 care.

As with any other dementia type, it is a challenging illness for the persons experiencing it as well as the caregivers.

A report by California University revealed that the symptoms usually progress over eight-to-ten years.

When the symptoms first start appearing, it may take several years before a person goes in for the correct diagnosis.

These are some of the factors that reduce the average span between diagnosis and death to less than ten years.

The origin of the illness remains unknown. Common causes of death may include skin infections, heart failure, urinary tract, and lung diseases.

10 Best Living with Dementia Tips & Advice

living with dementia

There are ways and approaches that make living with dementia a lot less stressful on the person, loved ones and caregivers.

For most people, a positive dementia diagnosis means a life sentence full of nightmares and all the bad experiences imaginable.

These feelings are heightened by the fact that there is still no cure for the illness.

It is, however, important to note that living with dementia does not have to be the worst thing a person can go through.

Guide on Living with Dementia

Below you will explore some of the tips and recommendations that a person with dementia can work with to live a more fulfilling and independent life for the longest possible time.

1. Accept your Situation

living with dementia
After getting to know that you have dementia, it is tempting to keep the news to yourself and pretend that everything is in place.

This is the wrong move.

It is advisable to share the news with people who care about you.

It does not mean that you have to go on the rooftops and shout about your health condition.

Take as much time as you need but when you are ready, do not shy away from sharing this news with people you love whether it is your relatives or friends.

This way, they will be in a position to understand what you are going through, especially when you start going through some changes that the disease causes.

Communicate

As you share the news, it is important to understand that different people will take in the news differently.

Some will be shocked and they may immediately start treating you differently.

It’s important to communicate about dementia.

Many will do this because they do not know what dementia is and have no clue what to do to help.

Try and explain what your diagnosis means and also tell them the ways that they can be of assistance.

For instance, if you cannot drive, your support system can step in to drop and pick you up when you need to go somewhere.

As much as it is hard to accept, you can also find that you might lose touch with some individuals.

Try and take these changes in your relationships positively.

After all, you might end up meeting new people in support groups or while engaging in different activities.

2. Learn about Dementia

learn about dementia
Millions of people around the globe are battling with dementia and new cases are coming up every year.

A person who is living with dementia needs to have in-depth knowledge of the illness to live well with the condition.

Thankfully, there is a wealth of information about dementia, including its stages and helpful treatments.

Your doctor should give you details about the illness and also offer referrals to valuable resources.

Empowering yourself means that you will be more equipped to face the challenges that lay ahead. You will also know how to better handle the symptoms you get.

3. Take Care of Your Whole Being

living with dementia by taking care of your whole being
What this means is that you need to take good care of your physical body, spiritual, psychological, and emotional health.

In regards to physical health, it is important to engage in exercises that you can handle with ease.

You also need to check what you are consuming so that you are always eating a balanced diet. This way, the body will get the nutrients and minerals it needs to boost your immune system.

Take care of your psychical and physical health

Getting enough sleep is non-negotiable.

It is also prudent to take care of your mental health by participating in stimulating activities that you can find in classes or hobbies. Various group activities are also fun.

Your doctor might also propose that you cut down on smoking and drinking alcohol or stop altogether.

When it comes to emotional health, remember to allow yourself to go through a range of emotions, especially when you first get the news.

After accepting the situation, you can go ahead and join a support group. It is best to join one with people who have dementia, whether offline or online.

Also, it is a great coping mechanism because you will not feel like you are alone and members of the group can help each other through their journeys.

It is also crucial to find something that will nourish you spiritually.

Some individuals may gravitate towards spending time in nature, religion, or calming activities like yoga.

Do all it takes to live a happy, stress-free life when dealing with dementia.

4. Plan Ahead

people with early dementia need to plan ahead
Sadly, it may reach a point where a person living with dementia is not able to make proper decisions.

For this reason, it is vital to plan for your future when you are still independent and can make sound decisions.

Long-term plans for dementia

1. Choosing a person you trust to act on your behalf in terms of managing your medical and financial needs.

2. Creating a will so that after breathing your last breath, your possessions, money, and property will go into the persons you pick.

The state gets to decide who will get what if you die without having a valid will.

3. Making a statement in advance about the care that you want to receive during the later stages of the disease as well as where you want to receive the care from.

This is a written statement that will highlight your beliefs, wishes, preferences, and values in terms of future care.

The person that you choose to handle important issues in the future will be your attorney. Failure to pick an attorney means that no one will have the right to make decisions when you are not able to.

This is something that can make things difficult for your family because they may not be able to pay bills or make good decisions about your care.

When it boils down to this, a person may be forced to apply to become your deputy at a Court of Protection. This is a costly process that may end up taking a lot of time.

5. Live in a Dementia-Friendly Environment

live in a dementia friendly environment
An individual who has dementia should live in a comfortable and safe environment.

If you choose to live at home, some modifications that can be done to create a suitable living environment.

Some of the changes that you can make around the home include working with a recognizable and meaningful interior design that incorporates your life story complete with words and pictures.

Making sure the house has good natural lighting is also important when you want to reduce shadows and glare.

Detectors for falls, GPS, alarms, and sensors can help boost security.

A tablet or smartphone can also come in handy because you can use this to organize your life, keep track of what is going on, revisit videos, and photos, and also communicate with your relatives and friends.

6. Stay Active and Busy

people with dementia to stay active and busy
When you are living with dementia, it becomes easy to withdraw socially and wallow in self-pity. You must resist this urge if you want to enjoy a quality life even into the later stages of the illness.

Staying active is also important because it will give you a sense of self-worth and purpose.

Find activities that you love and enjoy them to your heart’s content. Many service providers today are sensitive to the needs of a person who has dementia.

Occupy your body and mind

For instance, some cinemas put on dementia-friendly screenings which means you can go out and enjoy the latest film.

Many leisure centers also run appropriate activities for persons with dementia which means that you have a long list of activities to choose from.

When moving about, it is imperative to carry a card that will let other people know you have dementia.

The card should include details of a person that others can contact if you get lost or are in some sort of emergency.

When you do not have the energy to jump or move around, there are other ways to keep busy. Examples of these include listening to music or doing crosswords.

If you have grandchildren, you can offer to babysit for a few hours. There is also the option to volunteer to avoid the risks of loneliness, isolation, and depression.

7. Follow Routines

People with dementia need to follow routines
Sticking to routines is another way that people who have dementia can live well.

Do the same thing at the same time each week or day. This is bound to reassure you while at the same time stimulating your memory.

Having set schedules can also help you reduce the time you spend thinking about what needs to be done next.

If you always forget about things you need to get done regularly, you can pin your to-do-list on prominent places. This can include things like switching off lights or locking doors.

Some people with the illness also say that it helps to carry a notebook and pen around where you can write down the tasks you need to complete in a day.

You may also find that it is helpful to put important things like keys or glasses in the same place daily so that you do not have a problem locating them.

Additionally, a clock that shows the day of the week and date can come in handy.

8. Set Realistic Goals

set realistic goals for dementia patients
It is not uncommon for a person who has dementia to want to prove to the world that they are overachievers and the disease is not pulling them down.

This may lead a person to become over-ambitious where they want to handle more than they can chew in regards to day-day activities.

When you find that you cannot do all the things you set out to it can be frustrating and you might even fall into depression.

For this reason, it is important to set realistic goals so that you only focus on things you can do and complete without too much struggle.

Seek help when necessary

Remember that it is okay to ask for help from professional caregivers, family, or friends when you are in need.

When you decide to take up any task, give yourself adequate time to complete it first so that you are not always rushing into new tasks creating more confusion.

Most importantly, do not pressure yourself to be successful. Accept that there are things you were once able to do in the past that you can no longer complete at present.

It is better to focus all your attention on the things you can control, rather than spending hours on the ones you cannot control. Even as people are helping, make sure that they are not taking over.

The people around you might end up offering more help than you need which will leave you with nothing to do.

9. Coping At Work

coping at work
During the initial stages of the disease, a person living with dementia may choose to continue working.

If you choose to take this route, it is important to let your boss know about your current health situation if you are employed.

Employers have a legal duty to take necessary steps to ensure you can continue working without too much difficulty.

This can include simplifying routines, changing work schedules, or availing technology like a computerized diary that will remind you of meetings and deadlines.

If you do not want to continue working, first research on matters pertaining to pension and other benefits you are eligible for before leaving the workforce.

This way, you will not be short-changed in any way.

10. Go for Regular Hearing, Eyesight and Dental Checks

go for regular hearing eyesight and dental checks
Having dementia most of the time means that you will also experience sensory loss. This makes it hard for you to make sense of the world.

Because of this, you must regularly schedule oral, hearing, and eyesight checks to live well with dementia.

Ideally, you should consult a professional who has experience supporting persons with the illness.

During these visits, your doctor may recommend the use of hearing aids or glasses.

Do not avoid doctors

You should never ignore dental checks because poor oral hygiene can, at times, affect your eating and drinking abilities.

At home, you should also take care of your dental health by brushing your teeth at least two times a day, flossing, and eating healthy foods that will not lead to cavities and other oral health problems.

If you are using dentures, ensure that they are comfortable. You can always set reminders to guide you on the times to remove and wear them.

Sundowning And Dementia – A Pattern Of Deterioration?

sundowning and dementia

There can be a pattern of deterioration when it comes to sundowning and dementia.

Some people with dementia normally go through challenging times during the late afternoons or early evenings. This is a condition that is known as sundowning.

It is also known as sundown syndrome or late-day confusion.

This is where a person with dementia may experience big changes like irritability, agitation, confusion, and restlessness that can either start or become worse as the day begins to end.

Everything to Know About Sundowning And Dementia

These usually get better by daybreak. At times, this might continue into the night, affecting how a person sleeps and eventually how they function during the day.

In most cases, sundown syndrome happens to persons who have advanced or mid-stage dementia.

Almost 20% of people who have dementia experience the syndrome.

Sundowning itself is not a disease, but it is a group of symptoms that tend to occur at a specific time of the day affecting persons with dementia.

Even though sundown syndrome is real, it is one of the most misunderstood dementia behaviors. Below we get into more details about sundowning and dementia – a pattern of deterioration?

Possible Causes of Sundowning

possible causes of sundowning
It is still not clear what the exact causes of sundowning are. Studies, however, suggest a few theories that explain what some of the possible causes might be.

One of the most prominent is the changes that happen in the brain, which in turn affect an individual’s “biological clock,” making them confused about the wake and sleep cycles.

It is where a person cannot tell when it is daytime or when it is nighttime.

The problem becomes worse when the clock changes, i.e. when the daylight becomes extended or suddenly gets lost. This often leads to irritability and other sundowning behaviors.

Other factors that may cause this condition include:

  • Pain and discomfort
  • Being overly tired
  • Boredom
  • Depression
  • Thirst, hunger, or other unmet needs
  • More shadows and less light in the house
  • Reactions to frustration cues that exhausted caregivers may showcase at the end of a long day
  • Overstimulation by noisy children, a loud TV or when their caregiver is doing chores around their living space.
  • Changes in the environment: Most people with dementia are attuned to their environment to the extent that they can become distressed when slight or big changes occur. For instance, if a person lives in a nursing home, agitation may come about when there is a shift change. At home, it is easy for the persons with dementia to pick up bad moods from their relatives which often leads to a reaction.
  • Disorientation because of not telling the difference between reality and dreams while sleeping
  • Existence of infections like UTI (urinary tract infection), etc.

Signs of Sundown Syndrome

signs of sundown syndrome
When discussing sundowning and dementia, It is important to pinpoint some of the signs to look out for if you suspect that a person with dementia has late-day confusion.

Some of the most common ones are:

  • Yelling
  • Pacing
  • Mood swings
  • Seeing or hearing non-existent things
  • Arguing
  • Wandering
  • Restlessness
  • Confusion
  • A compelling sense that someone is in the wrong place
  • Rummaging through rooms, or drawers, etc.

When a person is going through some of the above behavioral changes, it is not the time to get into an arguing contest with them.

Some of the tips you can work with to help make the situation a little better include:

  • Approaching the person in a calm way
  • Asking if there is anything the person needs
  • Offering gentle reassurance that everything is under control
  • Reminding what time of the day it is in a kind manner

How to Deal With Sundowning

If you notice that the person with dementia you are caring for has sundowning signs, there are a few steps you can take to cope with the situation such as:

Creating distractions

sundowning and dementia
If an individual becomes excessively agitated, try to take control of the situation by calmly listening to their frustrations and concerns.

Do your best to reassure the person that everything will be fine. You can also create distractions from upsetting or stressful events.

Develop a routine

Setting regular times for meals, waking up, bathing and retiring to bed can help with the situation.

It is also important to try and schedule outings, appointments, and visits during morning hours when a person is likely to feel their best.

Identify triggers

identify triggers
Another way you can help a person going through sundowning is to look for patterns.

Note down the things that may be triggering the condition and go ahead to limit or avoid them.

Avoid or limit things that affect sleep

Persons with dementia should not drink alcohol or smoke. Additionally, you can encourage them to consume bigger meals during breakfast and lunch and make evening meals simple and small.

If a person loves caffeine and sweets, let them take these in the earlier part of the day. Long naps in the afternoon should also be discouraged.

Keep them active

keep them active
Another piece of advice when speaking about sundowning and dementia is to keep the persons with dementia active or busy during the day, something that can promote a good night’s sleep.

Daytime inactivity can result in issues with sleep.

Offering familiarity and comfort

offering familiarity and comfort
People who have dementia appreciate being surrounded by comforting persons, thoughts, and things.

These usually help one to cope with some of the challenging issues that crop up as they are dealing with the illness.

Whether the person is living at home or at an assisted facility, ensure that they have all the items they cherish.

Loved ones should also try and visit them often to keep them company and keep them smiling. This also helps to combat stress a move that can lessen sundowning symptoms.

Reduce demands on the person with dementia

reduce demands on the person with dementia
If a person has late-day confusion, try and make their late afternoons and evenings as stress-free as possible.

It should be a time when they just relax. This includes telling the person to do things that you might think are relaxing, such as taking a bath, listening to music or meditating.

It might be helpful because it means that their brain will not be giving in to the pressures of environmental demands.

Change tone

change tone
The way you talk to a person who is going through sundowning episodes must be addressed when tackling the issue on sundowning and dementia.

You must always use “inside” tonal voices talking soothingly and slowly.

Listen carefully to the response of the person you are caring for to see if you can arrest the source of distress.

If you feel like the individual is comfortable, sit close to them and reach out holding their hand and softly stroke his or her arm.

Enhance security in the home

enhance security in the home
This is especially helpful for those people who tend to wander due to sundown syndrome.

You can keep your loved one safe by putting in place measures like using the right type of window and door locks or installing motion detectors and door sensors so that those around can receive alerts when the person with dementia is on the move.

With this in mind, you need to avoid the use of restraints at all costs.

If the individual needs to pace, you can allow them to do so in a safe environment under your supervision instead of pinning them down a move that can make the situation worse.

Follow a chilled evening routine

follow a chilled evening routine
Routines are not a preserve for daytime when you are dealing with a person with dementia. You can also have one in the evening to help ease the transition process.

Here you can include activities like stroking a pet, reading a book if it is possible, listening to soothing music, etc.

If you are watching TV or listening to the radio, set this to a program that is relatively quiet and calming.

People shouting or loud noises can distress individuals who have dementia.

If the above tips do not generate the results you desire, it may be time to seek help from a professional doctor.

He or she will check out the individual with dementia to offer appropriate solutions.

For instance, the medic might have to change medicines that an individual is taking so that he or she only takes drugs that help in relaxation and do not cause more confusion.

Medicine to Treat Sundowning

medicine to treat sundowning
When dealing with sundowning and dementia, it is okay to be curious about whether any drugs that make these symptoms better.

This is because caregivers at times go through extremely overwhelming sessions where any interpersonal strategies they try do not seem to work.

Prescriptions are available, but a person with dementia should only use this as a matter of last resort. You must try everything else first before you go down the drug route.

A situation where it may be necessary to use medication is where there is a high degree of agitation that is running out of control and the caregiver cannot manage this effectively.

Medicine can help reduce distress so that the person who has dementia gets fast relief from their upset.

Examples of drugs that the doctor can prescribe include antipsychotic medicine which in as much as they can be effective, they can also carry certain risks.

This is why it is important to be very cautious when administering any type of drug to a person undergoing sundowning.

Corticobasal Syndrome (CBS) – Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

corticobasal syndrome CBS

A rare progressive neurological disorder, corticobasal syndrome (CBS) is a condition that causes changes in language skills, movement, or both.

What is Corticobasal Syndrome?

It is one of the illnesses that has caught the attention of behavioral neurologists and movement disorder specialists.

Also known as CBD (corticobasal degeneration) it may start with issues such as stiff muscles on one side of the body involving a leg, arm, or both.

Such motor abnormalities include apraxia which is the inability to perform voluntary or purposeful movements and muscle rigidity.

Persons with this condition often complain about having trouble controlling their arms or legs.

Historically, CBD was recognized as a neurological condition that was mostly associated with movement disorders.

However, in recent years, research has revealed that behavioral and cognitive abnormalities occur more often than what was believed.

In some cases, dementia warning signs may precede the development of motor symptoms.

The initial cognitive symptoms may include impairments in executive function, progressive aphasia, and loss of intellectual abilities.

CBS was first described in 1968 by Rebeiz and colleagues. Most people will this condition will start showcasing symptoms around the age of 60 but some will have the warning signs earlier.

What Causes Corticobasal Syndrome

what causes CBS
Scientists are yet to identify the exact cause of CBS.

Experts, however, know that in some individuals with the condition, there is usually a large build-up of tau.

This is a type of protein that usually occurs in the brain, but it is not clear why it at times builds-up in large amounts.

The function of tau within the nerve cells is quite complex and experts do not fully understand it.

It is, however, thought that tau is essential for the normal functioning of brain cells.

The abnormal tau levels in various brain cells result in their deterioration. The specific role that tau plays in the development of corticobasal syndrome is not yet clear.

Tau abnormalities are observed in numerous neurodegenerative brain disorders like Pick’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal dementia with parkinsonism linked to chromosome 17 (FTDP-17), Niemann-Pick disease type C, and progressive supranuclear palsy.

Collectively, these disorders are known as “tauopathies.”

Large build-up of amyloid plaques

Some people with CBS also have a large build-up of amyloid plaques which are similar to those present in individuals who have Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

The excessive accumulation of these proteins in the nerve cells is quite dangerous because it results in brain cells losing their ability to function normally, and they die off eventually.

As a result, the affected sections of the brain will start to shrink.

Researchers believe that several factors contribute to the development of CBD.

These include a combination of multiple environmental, genetic, and factors that relate to aging.

A person develops corticobasal degeneration symptoms due to the progressive deterioration of tissue in various areas of the brain.

The loss of nerve cells happens in specific areas resulting in shrinkage or atrophy in specific brain lobes.

The type and severity of symptoms that a person will get will depend on the section of the brain that has been affected by the condition.

Moreover, the 2 areas of the brain that are mostly affected include basal ganglia and cerebral cortex, but some other areas may also be affected.

The cerebral cortex is mostly involved with higher functions of the brain including learning, memory, voluntary movement, and sensory information coordination.

The basal ganglia can be described as a cluster of nerve cells that is responsible for learning and motor functions.

Symptoms of Corticobasal Syndrome

symptoms of corticobasal syndrome
Trouble with movement is normally the first warning sign of CBS.

It may include poor coordination or trouble accomplishing simple goal-oriented activities like buttoning a shirt, gesturing with hands, or combing hair amongst others.

This symptom may start with one leg, arm, or hand. The limbs might shake and feel stiff.

Persons with this condition may experience movement that is slower than usual, go through changes in the feelings of the limbs or have a hard time making their limbs move.

As time goes by, moving around becomes harder.

In most cases, the symptoms will start on one side of the body and slowly move to the other side.

Other symptoms

Additional symptoms might include a slight tremor when a person is in a particular position or while performing a certain task.

Limb dystonia may also occur sometimes.

Dystonia describes a group of neurological conditions that are characterized by involuntary muscle contractions.

These put certain parts of the body into abnormal and sometimes painful positions and movements.

Affected persons may also experience contractures which is a condition where a joint becomes permanently fixed in an extended or bent position.

This can partially or completely restrict the movement of the joint that has been affected.

Alien limb phenomenon is also common in persons with CBS where a limb will carry out actions or assume certain positions without the awareness of the affected person.

Some individuals will also go through jerky or lightning-like movements.

Communication can become difficult

Language problems may also start to develop as the disease progresses.

Individuals may have challenges naming people and objects, finding the right words to speak, or just getting the words out mostly because of the problems with the muscles that help with speech.

After some time, people with malady may not be in a position to communicate effectively. Reading skills may start to diminish while writing can become harder especially if the movement symptoms have affected the hands.

Some people with CBD may also suffer problems with swallowing, uncoordinated walk, or inability to control eyelid blinking.

Others with CBS may also experience visuospatial difficulties or challenges seeing things and understanding their right place in space.

Persons with these challenges will have a difficult time locating things in space, grasping complex visual arrays like a cupboard, and judging distances while driving.

Individuals with the condition may also have a hard time with number knowledge and calculations.

It is also common for persons with CBS to develop memory problems where they keep repeating questions or misplace objects.

Later in the course of the illness, persons may experience personality changes.

This is where persons may exhibit disinhibition, reduced attention span, irritability, apathy, and obsessive-compulsive behaviors.

Some even get into the habit of saying inappropriate things. Others will experience difficulties when trying to move or open their eyes.

Eventually, persons with CBS might become bed-ridden and they may be susceptible to life-threatening complications like bacterial infections, pneumonia, blood infections, or blockage of one or more main arteries to the lungs primarily because of blood clots.

Keep in mind that the progression, severity, presentation, and symptoms of this disease vary greatly from one person to another.

Diagnosis

diagnosis of cbs
A positive diagnosis for corticobasal degeneration is suspected when characteristic neurologic warning signs occur progressively in the absence of a structural lesion like a tumor or stroke.

It is normally challenging to distinguish corticobasal degeneration from other related neurodegenerative disorders.

Currently, there are no tests for CBS.

A clinical diagnosis is done based on the pattern of symptoms and extensive neurological exam involving multiple specialized tests and these include:

An EEG (electroencephalogram)

This is a test that measures the brain’s electrical activity.

Imaging Techniques

CT (computerized tomography) and MRI ( magnetic resonance imaging) are helpful when it comes to ruling out other medical conditions. They also come in handy when the doctor wants to view brain tissue degeneration within the basal ganglia and cerebral cortex.

DaTscan

This technique measure the amount of dopamine which is a chemical that the brain makes.

Neuropsychological testing

It is where professionals conduct various memory tests with pictures and words. These are exclusive to evaluate the extent of a person’s symptoms and the impact they have on mental abilities.

The tests look into multiple abilities like concentration, numbers, counting, memory, understanding language, and how a person processes vital details such as words and pictures.

Diagnosis is also done to rule out other medical conditions that can cause similar symptoms like Alzheimer’s disease, motor neuron disease, and Parkinson’s disease.

It is important that a consultant with expertise in corticobasal degeneration confirms the diagnosis.

Most of the time, this will be a neurologist who is an expert in conditions that affect the nerves and brain.

In the majority of cases, the confirmation of the diagnosis is only possible once professionals conduct autopsy examinations of the brain.

This shows “ballooned” protein, neurons aggregations, and other characteristic abnormalities that are as a result of an abnormal build-up of tau protein.

Treatment Options

treatment options for cbs cbd
There is still no approved cure for the corticobasal syndrome. Nonetheless, there are several treatments that can benefit persons with the disease, and these include:

Medications

Doctors can prescribe medication that can help manage the symptoms. Examples of these drugs include cholinesterase inhibitors which are helpful if a person with CBS is having memory problems.

The most common medicines that persons take include rivastigmine, donepezil, and galantamine.

For the movement symptoms, an individual may be treated with drugs that are used for persons with Parkinson’s disease.

These include carbidopa or levodopa but the effects of the drugs are subject to research.

Physicians may also recommend drugs to help deal with other issues like incontinence and bladder problems, sleeping problems, anxiety, pain, and bone strength.

It is also important for physicians to treat any existing conditions that affect the brain.

These include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

Eating Right and Working Out

Research indicates that getting physically active helps to improve brain health, general fitness, and mood.

Getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, and limiting alcohol intake also helps to promote good health.

Alternative Therapies

Several therapies can help people with CBS and these include:

Speech and Language Therapy

It can help enhance communication between people with the condition and others. The experts can also help manage swallowing problems.

Physical Therapy

This in addition to stretching exercises can help ease movement challenges by maintaining the range of motion and mobility of rigid stiffened joints as well as preventing the development of contractures.

Occupational Therapy

It may be useful in assessing the safety of an affected individual’s home as well as determining the adaptive medical equipment that may boost a person’s independence. That’s when occupational therapy comes into play. Affected people may need to use devices like a walker or a crane to assist in walking.

Cognitive Stimulation

This comes in handy for persons with CBS but is showcasing dementia symptoms. This type of therapy involves engaging in exercises and activities that aim to enhance language ability, problem-solving skills, and memory.

Palliative Care and Advanced Care Planning

Palliative care is normally offered to relieve pain as well as other distressing symptoms a person may be facing while offering spiritual, social, and psychological support.

This can be beneficial at any stage of CBD alongside other treatments. An individual can receive this type of care at home, in a hospital, or at a hospice.

Advanced care planning is where persons with the corticobasal syndrome will make plans for the future highlighting their wishes in regards to medical care and other important decisions.

Affected individuals share the plans with their family members and health professionals who are taking care of them.

Seeing that this is quite a rare condition, clinical trials may at times not be available for persons seeking them.

CBS Prognosis

CBS prognosis
Corticobasal degeneration is a condition that changes over time and is believed to affect females and males equally.

An individual with the disease can live for years after a positive diagnosis. Symptoms of the conditions tend to worsen over 3-8 years and often cause great disability.

Research suggests that a majority of affected individuals live for about 6-8 years on average although this varies from one person to the next.

Closing Thoughts

Even though currently there are no therapies or treatments that can reverse or slow down the progression of corticobasal syndrome, there is still hope.

Scientists reckon that the biology of CBS may be similar to that of other neurodegenerative diseases.

It is possible that therapies that are useful for these conditions can be helpful to persons with corticobasal degeneration.

Stroke-Related Dementia: What Is It?

stroke-related dementia

When learning about the various types of dementia, it is important to talk about stroke-related dementia.

This is dementia that develops after the brain has been damaged by a stroke.

What is stroke-related dementia?

Strokes happen when there is an interruption of blood flow to the brain causing blood vessels to burst.

Worth noting is that not everyone who experiences a stroke will end up with dementia.

Strokes are normally associated with vascular dementia which is the second most common type of dementia.

In short, dementia is a general term describing problems with memory, planning, judgment, reasoning, and other thought processes.

Symptoms of Stroke-Related Dementia

symptoms of stroke-related dementia
The symptoms of this kind of dementia can appear suddenly, after a few days, weeks, or months in a gradual or stepwise manner.

The symptoms that a person will get depend on the kind of stroke they experienced as well as the section of the brain that has been damaged.

Cognitive decline normally happens within three months of a recognized stroke.

Examples of some warning signs of vascular dementia include:

  • Loss of memory especially with remembering recent events
  • Problems following instruction, inattention, and poor concentration
  • Poor judgment
  • Confusion
  • Getting lost in familiar places
  • Challenges with problem-solving, reasoning, and calculations
  • Depression
  • Mood and behavior changes
  • Crying or laughing inappropriately
  • Psychosis: loss of contact with reality, aggression, hallucinations, agitation, delusions, and inability to appropriately relate with other people and surroundings

The Diagnosis Process

the diagnosis process of stroke-related dementia
It is not easy for medics to diagnose stroke-related dementia.

This is because several medical conditions can cause an individual to experience dementia-like symptoms.

Doctors have to identify the cause of the symptoms to determine whether or not a person has dementia.

It is important because there are some causes of dementia that are reversible with treatment.

The diagnosis process is not an easy one.

Health care providers will gather details from different sources to come up with the proper diagnosis.

They usually start with a medical interview where the doctor will ask questions like:

  • When the symptoms appeared
  • Past and recent medical problems
  • Medications a person is taking or was taking in the past
  • Lifestyles and habits

Physicians also conduct physical examinations to look for physical disabilities as well as signs of underlying conditions like previous strokes, high blood pressure, or heart and blood vessel diseases.

Doctors will also include mental status examinations to check memory, orientation, language, and attention.

Some professional practitioners will as well conduct neuropsychological testing which is a detailed cognitive assessment that helps them pinpoint and document an individual’s cognitive strengths and problems.

A doctor may also recommend laboratory tests such as blood tests to rule out blood disorders, infections, hormonal disorders, chemical abnormalities, and kidney or liver problems.

The lab tests are also important for identifying other health issues like diabetes and various vascular disorders that might underlie dementia.

Imaging studies can also be done to help detect stroke and rule out other conditions that can cause dementia.

Treatment Options for Stroke-Related Dementia

treatment options for stroke related dementia
Sadly, treatments currently available cannot reverse brain damage that is caused by strokes if the injury has lasted for a few hours.

Treatment aims at enhancing vascular health in a bid to prevent the occurrence of new strokes and slow down the progression of cognitive decline and other related symptoms.

Treatment options include surgery, medication, and behavioral interventions.

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