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Old 06-17-2012, 07:51 AM
 
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Im trying to determine which my 83 year old Mother has . She is progressing with an inability to remember short term events/things said/name of her Bank/recent details, etc... plus she cannot retain knowledge from reading a book just hours prior , and overall, her Mind is dull and often confused about common sense things .

Thanks.
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Old 06-17-2012, 08:13 AM
 
Location: St. Louis
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If you can, get her in to the doc to have a work-up, but does it really matter whether it's alzheimer's or some other form of dementia? Most of the time the docs can't tell either which kind it is. Now there is another thing called delirium, and that would be important to know the difference b/c it could signal another health problem altogether, like cancer, so getting her in to the doc would be wise. I believe that the main thing that sets off delirium is the fact that they have lucid moments and really confused moments thru the day and with delirium they have hallucinations. A question--has your mother recently, like in the last year, had surgery? I think that many older people don't recover from anesthesia very quickly and it can cause dementia like symptoms. Here's a link to an article that has the symptoms listed as well as behaviors that look like AD but are probably not: Alzheimer's Association - Memory Loss & 10 Signs of Alzheimer?s
I know that as people age the risk for AD goes way up and it has surpassed diabetes as a cause of death.
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Old 06-17-2012, 12:07 PM
 
Location: zone 5
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There are many types of dementia, Alzheimer's being one of them. A doctor can rule out dementia caused by something treatable like overmedication, vitamin deficiency, etc. This still doesn't mean she has Alzheimers rather than another type such as Lewy Body Dementia, but once treatable causes are ruled out, it really makes no difference.
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Old 06-17-2012, 06:17 PM
 
Location: Kansas
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Definitely needs to see a doctor and also check what meds she may be on that might actually be causing some problems. I believe the Alzheimers is a form of dementia if I remember correctly. Also, if not sleeping very well, it is easy to seem really confused. Doctor and someone needs to be with her and discuss this. I would probably call ahead with my concern when making an appointment.
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Old 06-18-2012, 05:47 AM
 
Location: In a state of denial
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Yes, when I was getting any REM sleep I had delirium. It was diagnosed as something else, but then I had a sleep study and they found out that I had NO REM sleep and was chronically sleep deprived.

It's really important to get her to a doctor to find out exactly what is the cause. That way they can possibly fix it.
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Old 06-18-2012, 01:39 PM
 
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Thanks to everyone for th info. David.
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Old 06-18-2012, 02:35 PM
 
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Basically, it is the same thing...but with Alziemher's there is a threshold of severity, and continued inability to function.
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Old 06-18-2012, 02:51 PM
 
Location: Florida
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My husband would go into a parking lot that we had been in a 100 times and he couldn't figure how to get out, like he had never been there. Then he would sit at a light waiting to make a left hand turn and would sit and sit...no traffic...then when a car was right at the intersection he would turn in front of them...boy that was exciting.

He was tested and it was determined that he had dementia, not Alzheimer's, they put him on aracept (sp?), helped him, he could drive again, he did not die from dementia or Alzheimer's, he died from cancer some 5 years later.
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Old 06-18-2012, 03:53 PM
 
Location: Mississippi
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My grandmother had dementia. Her doc said that it was not Alzheimer's, so I guess a good doc can determine the difference.
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Old 06-18-2012, 10:44 PM
 
Location: Cartersville, GA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stepka View Post
Now there is another thing called delirium, and that would be important to know the difference b/c it could signal another health problem altogether, like cancer, so getting her in to the doc would be wise.
By definition, delirium is a temporary, and generally reversible condition. The symptoms can mimic dementia, but they tend to go away when the cause of the delirium (e.g. drug overdose or drug reaction) is no longer present. If the symptoms are present over an extended period of time, dementia is a more likely diagnosis.

There are many things that can cause dementia. Vascular Dementia and Alzheimer's account for the majority of cases. If a physician cannot detect vascular issues in the brain (e.g. a stoke) or some other medical explanation for the dementia, then Alzheimer's is the most probable diagnosis (by process of elimination.) It's generally very difficult to positively diagnose Alzheimer's without examining the brain directly. In the past, this was difficult/impossible to do until after the individual is deceased. Nowadays, there are some imaging techniques that can be employed to assist a physician with diagnosis.

As others in this thread have said, a complete work-up by physicians is important to determine whether or not a medical condition could be causing the symptoms.
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