What is Alzheimer's and Dementia.
Dementia is not a specific disease. It is an umbrella descriptive term for a group of symptoms that can be caused by a number of disorders that affect the brain. The most common of which is Alzheimer disease. (Click here to watch video)
Alzheimer's disease symptoms can begin as early as the twenties, and is referred to as Early Onset. Dementia’s are more commonly seen and becoming more prevalent in older age groups. The number of people with the disease doubles every 5 years beyond age 65 and is currently the 5th leading cause of death in California and affecting 40 percent of the world population. Every 68 seconds someone is diagnosed with a dementia related disease.
WHAT CAUSES ALZHEIMER'S (Click here to watch video).
Some of the diseases and or combinations of diseases that can cause symptoms of dementia are Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy body dementia, vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia, Huntington’s disease, and alcoholism. Less common are Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Parkinson's disease, symptomatic hydrocephalus sometimes refereed to as normal pressure hydrocephalus, multiple sclerosis, and syphilis among others.
Lewy body dementia is becoming the second most common form of progressive dementia. Often it is miss diagnosed because it looks like Parkinson's and looks a little bit like Alzheimer's. Currently it can't officially be diagnose until death, on autopsy.
With Lewy body dementia one strikingly different behavior is that the patients often have hallucinations sometimes horrific hallucinations they are considerably more prevalent. They can shift from a normal conversation to an argument with someone who does not exist, or is no longer alive. This however is also not uncommon with other forms of dementia specifically but not limited to later stages.
Other conditions have also been identified that, can cause dementia or dementia-like symptoms so it is important that before any attempt is made to get a diagnosis for a dementia related disease that all the following be properly diagnosed and cleared prior to a diagnosis for a dementia related disease.
These include reactions to medications, metabolic problems, endocrine abnormalities, nutritional deficiencies, infections, poisoning, brain tumors, anoxia, hypoxia, heart and lung problems.
The unfortunate fact is that there are severe limitations of the current health system. There are only 600 doctors in the U.S. with advanced dementia training. So there are not enough trained doctors, care managers, and care providers to serve the millions of patients with dementia related diseases.
As dementia progresses people with dementia have significantly impaired intellectual functioning that interferes with normal activities and relationships. Click here to watch video.
Dementia patients have 3 times the rate of hospitalizations as other older adults.
Dementia has a devastating impact on the ability of an individual to function independently.
People with dementia will lose their ability to solve problems and sometimes to even maintain emotional control. (click here to watch video)
They will experience personality changes and sometimes have behavioral problems, such as agitation, delusions, and hallucinations. (Click here to watch video).
Dementia is a major cause of disability in older people, and places an emotional and financial burden on families and caregivers.
While memory loss is a common symptom of dementia, memory loss by itself does not mean that a person has dementia.
Doctors diagnose dementia only if two or more brain functions, for example if memory and language skills are significantly impaired without loss of consciousness then that would most likely be diagnosed as dementia.
And although some memory loss is common in very elderly individuals, dementia is not a normal part of the ageing process.