Monday, July 14, 2014

Early Signs Of Dementia And Alzheimer's

There are millions of people in the country that are affected by dementia and Alzheimer’s, but many do not understand what the early signs of the disease are.  Because dementia can develop over a long period of time, the early signs are key to diagnosing it and keeping the possibility high that you can prevent the effects of it.  Some also think that dementia is a disease itself, but in fact, dementia is the general term used to describe the decline of your mental ability once it interferes with your daily activities.  Because there are many things that can lead up to the development of dementia, the early warning signs might be hard to pick up.  Alzheimer’s disease is certainly one thing that can cause dementia, plus it is easier to diagnose.  Studies show that those with dementia, about 60 to 80 percent of them are also diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

In general, once your memory or other functions of the brain are affecting your daily activities, it is time to get checked out.  Dementia symptoms can include simple memory loss, communication problems, lack of focus, poor judgment and visual perception.  These are the most common early signs of dementia and Alzheimer’s, but there are others that are not as common.  One important thing to remember is that just because a person is suffering from memory loss, that does not mean they have dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.  If you feel you are suffering from memory loss, you should visit your doctor to try to find out what is causing it.  Treating dementia is important, but because it is often times a result of Alzheimer’s, getting diagnosed as soon as possible is even more important.

The early warning signs for Alzheimer’s include changes in memory that interrupt your daily life.  Because memory loss is the most common early sign, it is very easy to diagnose Alzheimer’s earlier than need be.  Forgetting names of people or appointments that you have scheduled are just two common, simple memory loss problems that people with Alzheimer’s suffer from.  If it is difficult for you to plan an event or solve daily problems you could be in the early stages of Alzheimer’s.  Making errors in your checkbook or having problems keeping track of your monthly bills can be attributed to the loss of the mental ability to do so.  If you start to find it more difficult to complete certain daily tasks that you should be familiar with, that could be a early sign as well.  If you cannot remember how to operate your dishwasher or program the microwave, it might be time to consider getting checked out by a doctor.

Just like memory loss being quite common, being confused is just the same in patients that are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.  If you find yourself standing in a room, but cannot figure out why, you could be in the early stages.  Forgetting the time of day or simply losing track of time and missing an appointment are also things that can trigger a diagnosis.  Some people with Alzheimer’s also have problems understanding images or perspective.  These two issues can cause problems while driving since the judging of distance is usually also affected.  If a person has difficulty speaking  words they know how to use in a sentence, it could be a serious effect of the Alzheimer’s disease.  Should you have waited this long to get to a doctor, that can no longer be put off.  Repeating sentences, taking extra time to find the right word or just stopping because they are not sure how to continue are all early warning signs of Alzheimer’s and dementia.

The early signs might be very simple to see by a doctor, but since it does take some time for the entire disease to unfold, a diagnosis might not come soon enough.  Many of the early signs can also be confused with things that happen as people age and that is why it is important to go through routine checkups more regularly when you get older than 50.  Studies show that Alzheimer’s has been rarely diagnosed in those that are under the age of 50.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Types Of Dementia

Dementia is a common term that refers to a number of neurological disorders leading to a gradual deterioration in the healthy functioning of the brain. It is considered to be an old age disease, where more than half of the people suffering from dementia are above the age of eighty-five. The disease is progressive and grows gradually leaving you with no recognizable signs at the early stages. Usually it’s accompanied by symptoms that are common for all types of dementia; they are: memory loss, finding it hard to concentrate on a particular topic, learning new skills, and problems with communication.

Causes of Dementia:
The progressive damage and death of brain cells is the one and only cause of dementia but the factors that contributes to it may differ for each type of dementia. Some dementia may be because of the medical conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, which progressively attacks the brain cells, where as some may be because of illness to the central nervous system or accidents which led to brain injury.

Types of Dementia:
The dementia can be categorized in to the following types based on the way each affects the brain cells.

1. Mild cognitive impairment
2. Fixed cognitive impairment
3. Alzheimer’s disease:
4. Vascular dementia
5. Dementia with Lewy bodies
6. Fronto-temporal dementia
7. Progressive supranuclear palsy
8. Corticobasal degenerative
9. Rapidly Progressive

Mild cognitive impairment:
The mild cognitive impairment is the type of dementia or a very initial stage of dementia where the memory loss to the person may be of higher level when compared with the persons of same age but is not affecting his or her daily life activities.

 Fixed cognitive impairment:
This is the type of dementia caused by sudden injuries but will not grow with time nor is it irreversible. It’s because of the permanent injury to the brain cells because of accidents or strokes.

Alzheimer’s disease:
This is the most common and widespread dementia, which deteriorates the brain cells and causes the shrinkage of brain, resulting in memory loss, language problems, analytical thinking and getting lost. The part of the brain that is more affected by the Alzheimer is the hippocampus. In its early stages its difficult to identify as people mistook the memory loss as a part of aging.

Vascular dementia:
The main reason for vascular dementia is injury to the blood vessels of brain, which is most often caused by stroke. Alcoholism, smoking and previous blood vessel diseases such as heart attacks or angina, may also become a reason for it. The symptoms of vascular dementia depend on the part of the brain affected by the stroke.

Dementia with Lewy bodies:
Dementia with Lewy bodies is popularly known as the Parkinson’s disease. The characteristic of the disease is a visual hallucination, which grows with the disease and for the diseased the hallucinations are real until they recognize it as a symptom.

Fronto-temporal dementia:
The main symptoms of fronto-temporal dementia are the personality disorders and communication problems. There are three types of dementia; the behavioral dementia is characterized by abnormal changes in behavior, including rigidity and being socially withdrawn. The second type is temporal variant dementia where the people finds difficulty with the words and often get confused with the same. The third type is non-fluent Aphasia, where the diseased have problems with the fluency of speech.

Progressive supranuclear palsy:
With progressive supranuclear palsy the patient may find it difficult to move his or her eyes upwards or downwards. The reason is again the damage to the brain cells and shrinkage of the brain where in this case the mid brain is normally shrunken.

Corticobasal degenerative:
This is the type of dementia characterized with the alien limb. An alien limb is nothing but a person’s limb, which behaves as if its no more a part of the body. The person with corticobasal degenerative finds it difficult to control his alien limb and it acts of its own. The part of the brain that is most affected are the frontal lobe and the parietal lobe. The other symptoms include difficulty with communication mainly because of the stiffness in the mouth muscles and jerky movements of muscles.

 Rapidly Progressive:
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease or rapid progressive is any kind of other dementia’s that progresses rapidly to a crucial stage within weeks or days. The reason behind it may be brain infection, inflammation or drug toxicity.

 If your loved one is starting to show signs of Alzheimers or Demenita, contact us so we can help make the transition to in-home health care simple and stress free.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Brain Activities to Fight Alzheimer's

Dementia and Alzheimer's are very severe diseases that affect the brain, and prevent many activities while doing harm to a person's memories. While there is no way to completely remove the possibility of these diseases, there are activities that you can perform to decrease the risk of getting either dementia or Alzheimer's.

Being mentally active throughout life can be the biggest deterrent to having symptoms of these disorders, but why? Studies have shown that the brain develops plaque over time that will clog certain sections of the brain, thus causing the symptoms that are commonly associated with Alzheimer's. Reading and writing are great ways to maintain a high level of mental acuity, because these activities can use both parts of your brain to accomplish them. Even if you don't believe yourself to be creative, the simple act of putting words on a page can be very beneficial. 

Word and number puzzles such as sudoku or crosswords are a fantastic way to maintain mental health. These and many other games stimulate the memory and problem solving parts of the brain, which are typically the first that show signs of distress when a person has Alzheimer's. Because of this fact, these games have been seen to make the brain healthier, and ultimately stay healthier longer. If you're bold enough, completing a crossword while running on a treadmill is doubly effective, as physical exercise has been well documented to stimulate mental health.

Always try to find time in the day for a little mental exercise, because as you age those parts of the brain will be the first to feel distress. While those who have existing symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer's won't likely see a reversal, these activities can still help them in preventing a worsening of their situation. In home care professionals will make sure that your elders are mentally stimulated and fulfilled; we want them to live healthy and well.