Many Dementia Signs and Symptoms Are Similar to Other Medical Conditions
When an aging senior exhibits dementia signs such as mental confusion, forgetfulness or memory problems it may be due to another medical condition. It does not mean that dementia is the only diagnosis.
Becoming aware of these medical conditions, will help you to determine the difference between dementia signs and other causes of memory loss.
Infection, usually urinary tract infections (UTIís)
The first thing I think of when an aging senior shows signs of increase moodiness and sudden increase in mental confusion, is they need a urinalysis to rule out a UTI. Infections are treatable and can reverse the confusion and memory problems an aging senior may exhibit.
It is standard practice for a doctor to order a urinalysis when the family member of an aging senior notes that there has been an increase in confusion. Proper treatment of the infection will decrease the irritability and eliminate the mental confusion.
Lack of proper nutrition or malnutrition
It is important when visiting and aging senior to check into their refrigerator on a regular basis. Look for outdated products, spoiled food. Check the cupboards to observe what they may be eating or cooking for themselves.
Proper nutrition is important to the body and brain functioning at its optimal level. A decrease on food intake or consumption of an adequate intake of vitamins and minerals can cause memory loss, confusion, feeling sluggish and disinterested.
Lack of sleep or sleep deprivation
Poor sleep affects how our body and mind functions. A good nights sleep is important to our physical and mental well being.
Individuals exhibiting dementia signs and symptoms will experience a disturbance in their sleep and awake cycles. It is important that a routine be developed to encourage sleep and decrease the problems with the lack of sleep. It is just as important that the caregiver of a person with dementia get adequate sleep as well.
The liver is responsible for filtering the blood and breaking the substances we take into our body in the form of food and medication, into a non toxic form into the blood stream.
When the liver becomes inefficient, it is not able to filter those toxins. Over time, the rise in the toxins in the body will affect all the body organs, including the function of the brain. The resulting mental confusion is irreversible.
Low Blood Sugar or Hypoglycemia
Low blood sugar, also known as hypoglycemia, can cause a person to become irritable. Personality changes and short term mental confusion can occur when a person has not eaten and their blood sugar drops. These symptoms appear as dementia signs and symptoms, but they are not.
Getting a person to drink some juice or eat a peanut butter sandwich to restore the blood sugar levels to normal will resolve the symptoms.
Low Thyroid levels or Underactive thyroid
Low thyroid levels are probably an overlooked condition to the cause of memory loss. The thyroid gland releases several different hormones that regulate our body temperature our metabolism as well as other functions. A person with low thyroid levels, known as hypothyroidism, may exhibit symptoms such as memory problems, depression, hair loss, dry skin, weight gain, constipation and irritability.
These symptoms are reversible when treated with medication.
Medications and medication safety is important to the aging senior. Many medications can cause short term memory loss or confusion. Some medications in the elderly have the opposite effect than the intended result. Most drug induced states of confusion can be reversed by discontinuing the medication or by taking it as directed.
Seizures occur when the electrical conductions or communications in the brain become disorganized and over stimulated. Individuals that suffer from frequent and severe seizures may develop some form of dementia. This becomes increasingly likely in those that stop breathing during the seizure. The lack of oxygen to the brain will result in brain damage that may be irreversible.
It is important to be aware, that those individuals that have been diagnosed with dementia increases the possibility that seizure will occur as the disease progresses.
Substance abuse, long term drug addiction
Abuse of illegal drugs or prescribed medication, like alcohol interfere with normal brain function. Drugs do interfere with the brains function and destroys brain cells. Those individuals that have long term substance abuse problems have a very high chance of developing dementia. This condition is reversible IF the abuse is stopped early before permanent damage occurs.
In summary if you know someone who exhibits dementia signs evaluate the situation and seek the advice of a medical professional.
More information on memory
Symptoms of Dementia
Causes of Memory Loss
Visit Aging Home Health Care home page
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