Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Age Dementia Symptoms: The Ultiamte Guide

By Irene Mmari

As we age, we naturally have difficulty remembering things or finding the right words to say although this is quite normal but dementia is not normal. As other functions carried out by the brain are affected, many normal occurrences can become confusing for a person suffering with dementia.

As dementia is a progressive disorder, it often goes unrecognized for some time as it is often confuse with the general aging process but it is actually a range of symptoms that are the result of other often completely unrelated conditions. In some cases, the dementia can be treated because the cause is treatable although in some cases where the person may appear to have dementia, a severe depression can be causing the symptoms. Owing to the number of different conditions that can cause symptoms of dementia, it means that there are occasions where it can be treated and sometimes it might not even be dementia but a condition that mimics the symptoms like severe depression.

This can happen when a person has a reaction to drugs or alcoholic drink; even hormones can play a part in the process and highlights the reason why a physician needs to make a thorough examination as these conditions are treatable. According to the National Institute on Aging, there are at least one hundred different types of conditions that may result in short-term dementia, many of which can be treated and about ten percent of all cases of dementia may be treatable.

Dementia in the elderly can take on two different forms; reversible and chronic so when symptoms are reversible, the short-term dementia has been caused by another illness or disease. Elderly people face a tremendous amount of change in their lives, sometimes this change can be abrupt like retirement, loss of a loved one, divorce, or change in location for example. Events like this often distress the person involved and lead to stress or depression, both of which their physician needs to know about.

Other medical conditions can also effect how well you are coping on a daily basis and can even cause a loss of appetite and poor sleep patterns which can result in emotional problems. Of course, medical conditions like hypoglycemia, liver and kidney problems, electrolyte imbalances and hypocalcaemia can all create problems that affect sleep, appetite and cause confusion. The elderly do not always want to tell you about their problems in case they are considered to be complaining for the sake of it but if they are having trouble with their vision or hearing, this can cause symptoms of confusion which may be misinterpreted as signs of dementia.

It is a common complaint amongst the elderly that they no longer enjoy their food which can be due to ill fitting dentures or a loss of taste and as a consequence they do not receive adequate nutrition. There are also physical traumas to consider like head injuries, falls or even a physical attack which can all affect a persons behavior along with other mental illnesses associated with age like Alzheimer's for instance.

When diagnosing dementia, the use of scanning equipment like CAT scans and MRI's are necessary which can also indicate whether the incidence of dementia is a treatable one or not. The main difference when it is a case of irreversible dementia is the need for adjustments to be made where the person lives to avoid situations that are dangerous but continuous training in behavior methods should also be carried out.

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