As seniors age, the risk of certain forms of dementia increases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, considered one of the progressive, irreversible, and deadlier versions of dementia.
So it makes sense that residents of Mount Vernon and elsewhere and their loved ones familiarize themselves with the symptoms so they can be ready if it ever starts to appear, hopefully long before hospice care is needed.
While this in itself isn’t a bad strategy to be prepared, some medical experts at the team at Above and Beyond Home Health Care and Hospice advise caution before self-diagnosing symptoms as automatically being Alzheimer’s disease.
That’s because many of the symptoms can appear in other forms of dementia as well as other medical conditions. It’s a good idea to talk to a medical professional and take a variety of tests for a firmer diagnosis.
Sometimes, some of these conditions can be treated through medication, therapy, or life changes such as improving diet or lifestyle. Or surgical options might be necessary.
In some cases, talking with a provider may reveal that there might be multiple conditions taking place, not just dementia but other conditions. Then he or she might have to help the client and their family put a plan together to manage them, or which to place a priority on.
But first, it’s important to learn about some of the similar symptoms.
This can affect people at any stage of Alzheimer’s disease. People may not be happy with their circumstances and diagnosis, knowing that the disease is going to get worse until their death. They may also not want to think about all the implications of the disease, including memory loss and lack of coordination.
But other medical conditions and unpleasant situations can cause depression as well. It’s something that also increases as people age. They may start to feel alone, tired, and unhappy with where they are in life. Chronic medical conditions also may make them feel unhappy.
Whatever is causing your depression, there are a variety of treatment options available, many of which can reduce some Alzheimer’s symptoms as well, including exercise.
- Thyroid problems. There are many reasons for the thyroid gland to start malfunctioning, and when it does, it can cause imbalances throughout the whole body, including memory problems, balance and mobility problems, temperature problems, and stronger feelings of anxiety and depression. By not regulating hormones in your body, you may feel extra emotional, and have more highs and lows in your daily life. Alzheimer’s patients also experience many of these feelings, including wide ranges of emotions, memory challenges, and more. A provider with greater medical familiarity with the thyroid and its processes can offer some options to improve its regulation, everything from surgery to medication that simulates what it should do. Once the thyroid is balanced, many of the irregular sensations will calm down.
- Vitamin deficiency. The loss of certain minerals, especially iron and B-12, can cause a variety of problems in the body, everything from confusion and weakness to physical effects like tingling. Some medical conditions remove Vitamin B-12 faster from the body, including celiac or Chron’s disease. There are a variety of treatment options, including the simplest solution which is to get more vitamins into your body. This can start with daily supplements. This type of vitamin is also found in cooked meat.
- Head trauma. A head injury could cause physical damage to the entire body, including modifying how one’s brain works. Our brains are considered elastic, which means that other parts of the brain may try to take over or repair these processes even though it may slow other processes down or cause headaches. A provider may be able to suggest certain exercises or products to improve the recovery time, or at least provide some suggestions to ways to deal with some of the loss you may be experiencing. Alzheimer’s disease may cause damage to the brain but through different methods, starting with the decay of certain proteins. The longer the symptoms, the more the damage will have taken place.
- Other forms of dementia. Since there are several forms of dementia, one that closest resembles Alzheimer’s disease is called Lewy body dementia. It is also progressive which is why it is easily confused. Science Daily said some patients may be able to see positive results if treatment begins early, but a misidentification may delay this or be prescribed Alzheimer’s related medications and damage the body. This condition has similar symptoms, include changes in memory, behavior, movement, and personality changes. It also has some symptoms that are similar to Parkinson’s disease.
- Lyme disease. Many people are surprised that the disease spread by ticks has some similarities to Alzheimer’s disease. That’s because most people think of the pain and the soreness from the disease. But it also can cause confusion, brain fog, and nervous system problems. Treating the symptoms of Lyme disease can make them go away.
- Water on the brain. The Alzheimer’s Disease Association says a related symptom to Alzheimer’s disease can come from something called Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus, which is when excess spinal fluid moves into the brain. This can be disabling mentally and physically by causing problems with concentration and alertness.