Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Top 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer's Disease

This is provided by my wife who works at a memory care facility in Scottsdale. Alzheimer's is a horrible disease so the more we know the better. My wife's facility is called Barton House and it's a state-of-the-art facility that does a tremendous job taking care of their patients in a home like setting.  If you know of anyone who needs help with this or is looking for a place to look after their loved one they can be reached at their website. www.thebartonhouse.com
Ten Warning Signs of Alzheimer's Disease
1. Recent memory loss that affects job performance. Everyone forgets things then recalls them later. Alzheimer´s patients forget often, never recall and repeatedly ask the same question, forgetting the earlier answer.
2. Difficulty performing familiar tasks. "People with Alzheimer's disease could prepare a meal, forget to serve it and even forget they made it."
3. Problems with language. A person with Alzheimer's may forget simple words or use inappropriate words, making speech difficult or impossible to comprehend.
4. Disorientation of time and place. People with Alzheimer's may get lost on their own street and forget how they got there or how to get home.
5. Poor or weaker judgement. Even a normal person might get distracted and fail to watch a child. A person with Alzheimer's disease could entirely forget the child under their care and leave the house.
6. Problems with abstract thinking. Anybody can have trouble balancing a checkbook; a person with Alzheimer's could forget completely what the numbers are and what needs to be done with them.
7. Misplacing things. A person with Alzheimer's disease may put things in inappropriate places - an iron in the freezer or a wristwatch in the sugar bowl - and not be able to retrieve them.
8. Changes in mood or behavior. Everyone has occassional moods, but people with Alzheimer's can have rapid mood swings - from calm to tears to anger - within a few minutes.
9. Personality changes. A person with Alzheimer's may change drastically and inappropriately, becoming irritable, suspicious or fearful.
10. Loss of initiative. People with Alzheimer's may become passive and reluctant to get involved in activities.
Vascular Dementia
Vascular dementia is a deterioration of mental capabilities caused by multiple strokes (infarcts) in the brain. The onset of Vascular dementia may be relatively sudden as many strokes can occur before symptoms appear. These strokes may damage areas of the brain responsible for a specific function as well as produce generalized symptoms of dementia. As a result Vascular dementia may appear similar to Alzheimer's disease. Vascular dementia is not reversible or curable, but recognition of an underlying condition (high blood pressure) often leads to a specific treatment that may modify the progression of the disorder. Vascular dementia is usually diagnosed through neurological examination and brain scanning techniques, such as computerized axial tomography (CAT scan) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), in order to identify strokes in the brain.
Parkinson's Disease
Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive disorder of the central nervous system which affects more than one million Americans. Individuals with PD lack the substance dopamine, which is important for the central nervous system's control of muscle activity. Parkinson's disease is often characterized by tremors, stiffness in limbs and joints, speech impediments and difficulty in initiating physical movement. In the course of the disease, some patients develop dementia. Medications such as levodopa which converts itself into dopamine once inside the brain and deprenyl, which prevents degeneration of dopamine-containing neurons, are used to improve diminished or reduced motor symptoms in PD patients but do not correct the mental changes that occur.
Pick's Disease
Pick's disease is a rare brain disorder which, like Alzheimer's disease, is usually difficult to diagnose. Disturbances in personality, behavior and orientation may precede and initially be more severe than memory defects. Like Alzheimer's disease, a definitive diagnosis is usually obtained only at autopsy.
Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus
Normal pressure hydrocephalus is an unusual disorder which involves an obstruction in the normal flow of cerebrospinal fluid. This blockage causes a buildup of cerebrospinal fluid on the brain. Symptoms of normal pressure hydrocephalus include dementia, urinary incontinence and difficulty in walking. Presently, the most useful diagnostic tools are the neuroimaging techniques (ie., MRI). Normal pressure hydrocephalus may be caused by any of several factors including menengitis, encephalitis and head injuries. In addition to treatment of the underlying cause, the condition may be corrected by a surgical procedure (insertion of a shunt) to divert the fluid away from the brain.
Depression is a psychiatric disorder marked by sadness, inactivity, difficulty in thinking and concentration, feelings of hopelessness, and sometimes suicidal tendencies. Many severely depressed patients will have some mental deficits including poor concentration and attention. When dementia and depression are present together, cognitive deterioration may be exaggerated. Depression, whether present alone or in combination with dementia, can be reversed with proper treatment.


1 comment:

  1. Thanks Dan........as you know, my Mom had this........I miss her so much along w/my Dad. I remember as my lst grade teacher as well as my mother...........it was hard to see her deteriorate-In heavewn, her mind is clear and body, pain-free. Thank you God.