Alzheimer's effects everyone differently, the symptoms vary from person to person; furthermore the progression of the disease is unpredictable which can sometimes pose a challenge to caregivers. Alzheimer's stages may last a long time or a short time depending on the individual; however one constant is that Alzheimer's is a progressive disease, that starts with mild symptoms and continue to advance; to date there is no cure.
Normal Memory loss
Everyone experiences normal memory loss from their 20s on; however when memory problem start to affect daily life, this may be an indication of a deeper issue.
Below are some of the ways to discern normal memory loss from an acute form of dementia:
SIGNS OF ALZHEIMER'S
1) Alzheimer's Symptom: Memory lapses
Everyone forgets things sometimes; and while memory problems are a typical Alzheimer's symptom, the context of this forgetfulness must be taken into account. Those that suffer from Alzheimer's tend to forget the most recent memories first, while still being able to retain memories from the distant past in great detail. In time, even long-term memories will be affected, but by then other Alzheimer's symptoms will have appeared.
2) Word Confusion
Occasionally blanking on a word is normal, but if the frequency increases and the words in question are simple everyday words; this may be indicative of the onset of Alzheimer's.
Fixating on finding a particular word is a common response to the frustration of not being able to remember words; this results in the use of the wrong words in the wrong context as the words being used are similar or familiar to the ones that are appropriate.
3) Personality or Mood Changes
Age and any medical condition make it difficult to link mood shifts to a sign for Alzheimer's. However when these signs appear in combination with other Alzheimer's symptoms, there is reason to suspect the disease may be present.
Sequential reasoning and abstract thinking become increasingly difficult for those afflicted with Alzheimer's.
Confusion may set in during activities with various different steps, however routine and familiar these activities once were to them. An increase in frustration and abandonment of familiar activities may indicate a form of dementia.
Disorientation is a symptom of Alzheimer's in its later stages, but they appear in the early stages as well.
Again this may be a normal behavior, as everyone misplaces thing; however if the behavior escalates then it may indicate a symptom of Alzheimer's.
One of the most concerning signs of Alzheimer's is when the person in question starts to make questionable decisions, as this could have a direct impact on health. Again, many of the aforementioned symptoms may go un-noticed for extended periods of time because they are subtle can be related to other possible causes (other than Alzheimer's); however if you see these symptoms in either yourself or a loved one and they continue to progress, you should consult a physician.
A symptom often confused as a disease, is dementia; indicative of a loss of brain function, either by memory loss, impaired judgment, behavior changes, learning difficulties, and communication problems. Dementia takes place in many forms and can have many causes, some of which are treatable.
A medical evaluation is imperative once someone starts to exhibit memory loss behavioral changes.
Types of Dementia
Most cases of dementia are attributed to Alzheimer's, the older the person, the more likely the cause of the dementia is Alzheimer's.
Medical conditions, diseases and disorders have similar symptoms to Alzheimer's' but can be managed and treated to the point of where the dementia may be reversible.
Cognitive Impairment (MCI)
Refers to lesser memory problems -not classified as dementia, as they do not impact activities of daily living.
Caused abruptly when blood flow to the brain is impacted; usually during a stroke. Multi-infarct dementia occurs when an individual experiences several small strokes when there are many blood clots or ruptured small arties connecting to the centre of the brain. If the individual experiences a large stroke, they may suffer from post stroke dementia. Symptoms may worsen after successive strokes.
Not to be confused with Alzheimer's, while Vascular dementia shares many Alzheimer's symptoms, it still enables the sufferer to have memory recall. Alzheimer's suffers do not have this ability.
If a person has a small stroke where the signs have gone unnoticed; they can experience both infarct dementia and Alzheimer's
Diagnoses and Treatment:
Through an MRI or CT scan it is relatively simply for a physician to determine if the dementia is cerebrovascular. Proactive treatment of those ho are predisposed to strokes may help to reduce the cognitive effects.
Lewy Body Disease
Occurs when normal cognitive function is impeded by protein deposits in the brain, and may produce symptoms similar to Alzheimer's.
Not to be confused with Alzheimer's, people with Lewy Body Disease may experience more frequent extreme changes to their cognitive state.
Diagnoses and Treatment:
Lewy Body Disease can only be confirmed through an autopsy and there is no current drug treatment to reverse or stop the effects.
People who suffer from Parkinsons may also develop dementia to due Lewy Bodies,
Not to be confused with Alzheimer's language is typically unaffected with dementia derived from Parkinson's, further Parkinson's will always precede the onset of cognitive impairment in this case and as such the dementia will be attributed accordingly.
Diagnoses and Treatment:
The diagnoses for Parkinson's will be conducted through a full and detailed medical examination. There is no current medication for the treatment of the dementia; however the symptoms may be managed by the overall therapy for Parkinson's.
Frontal lobe or temporal lobes of the brain diseases can cause damage resulting in dementia for the sufferer.
Not to be confused with Alzheimer's, Frontotemporal Dementia occurs suddenly and is not gradual. Sufferers often demonstrate inappropriate and uninhibited behavior defying social mores.
Diagnosis and treatment:
The diagnosis of Frontotemporal Dementia will be conducted through a full medical examination. There is no current medication for treatment, focus is on symptom management.
Bacterial, Viral Infections and Tumors
Once it enters the brain, bacterial and viral infections can cause dementia.
Diagnoses and Treatment
The diagnosis will be conducted through a full medical examination, and depending on the cause, may be treatable.