It appears you have not yet Signed Up with our community. To Sign Up for free, please click here....



Alzheimer's Disease & Dementia Message Board
Post New Thread   Closed Thread
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 02-25-2007, 12:27 AM   #1
Veteran
(female)
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: New York State
Posts: 399
roz5 HB User
How is Dementia Diagnosed?

I am new to this message board - -
My mother and I were discussing my father's behavior as of late. We both suspect dementia. My mother's friend (who is a psychic 'reader'...and 100% accurat in all that she 'sees') told my mother that my father has early onset of dementia. My father is not aware of this yet, and I am wondering how dementia is diagnosed. My family has noticed my dad's "odd behavior" and have begun to wonder. Should we be getting an official diagnosis from his PCP? Are there tests to check for dementia?
My thanks to anyone who can shed some light on this for me.
__________________
Lisa

 
The following user gives a hug of support to roz5:
luyingjie (01-24-2012)
The Following User Says Thank You to roz5 For This Useful Post:
luyingjie (01-24-2012)
Old 02-25-2007, 11:28 AM   #2
Senior Veteran
(female)
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Australia
Posts: 1,518
angel_bear HB Userangel_bear HB Userangel_bear HB Userangel_bear HB Userangel_bear HB Userangel_bear HB Userangel_bear HB Userangel_bear HB Userangel_bear HB User
Re: How is Dementia Diagnosed?

First and foremost, he needs to see a doctor to rule out anything else, such a thyroid deficiency, Vitamin deficiencies and other things. You can't just start making such assumptions without crossing off the 'fixable' things. If the doctor suspects one of the dementia's, he will perform a MINI MENTAL, I have written this out before, but here it is again:

Quote:
.... each person is unique and gives different answers ... this is pretty much the basics:

The 'Mini Mental" exam is a non-threating (or theoretically non-threating) test that can be done by just sitting and chatting ... no poking, no prodding and done right, it can be a pleasant experience. They get 2 points for a correct answer, 1 point for a close answer and 0 points for a wrong answer.

Orientation:

1) What year is it?

2) What month is it?

3) What season is it?

4) Where are we: Country, City, part of city

REGISTRATION

1) Name three objects (usually pencil, paper and table because they are the immediate objects they can see).

2) Repeat the names of the objects

ATTENTION & CALCULATION

1) Count backwards from 100 by 7's. Allow 5 answers.

OR

2) Spell WORLD backwards

RECALL

1) Ask them to name the 3 objects from before.

LANGUAGE

Name a pencil and watch.
Repeat the following: 'No ifs, ands or buts'
Follow a three-stage command: 'Take a paper in your right hand, fold it in half and put it on the floor'
Read and obey the following:
a) Close your eyes
b) Write a sentence.
c) Copy a design (usually a 5 sided figure interlocked with another 5 sided figure)

From there you add up the score, although Language gives different scoring but you can get the idea.

You must also take into consideration their hearing and eyesight and any other disabilities (such as moving to a new town etc), but you must be tough in other ways by not prompting !!
You can try this at home to give yourself an idea ... but don't diagnose !! Take him to a doctor PRONTO !!!

Cheers

Last edited by angel_bear; 02-25-2007 at 11:29 AM.

 
The following user gives a hug of support to angel_bear:
luyingjie (01-24-2012)
The Following User Says Thank You to angel_bear For This Useful Post:
luyingjie (01-24-2012)
Sponsors Lightbulb
   
Old 02-25-2007, 12:52 PM   #3
Senior Veteran
(female)
 
Martha H's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Middlebury, IN
Posts: 4,695
Martha H HB UserMartha H HB UserMartha H HB UserMartha H HB UserMartha H HB UserMartha H HB UserMartha H HB UserMartha H HB UserMartha H HB UserMartha H HB UserMartha H HB User
Re: How is Dementia Diagnosed?

I agree - there are many other conditions that may cause forgetfulness, odd behavior, etc. We should never assume it is Dementia. Many of the others are curable. So please do do what Sally suggested and get him to a doctor. Once you have a real diagnosis you can begin to make plans for his future care.

I hope it is NOT dementia!

Martha

 
The following user gives a hug of support to Martha H:
luyingjie (01-24-2012)
The Following User Says Thank You to Martha H For This Useful Post:
luyingjie (01-24-2012)
Old 02-25-2007, 02:02 PM   #4
Veteran
(female)
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: New York State
Posts: 399
roz5 HB User
Re: How is Dementia Diagnosed?

My father goes to the doctor regularly and does have periodic blood work done. Nothing is ever mentioned about dementia, as I don't believe my mother goes into the appointments with him. He does truly strange things as of late. Additionally, I was recently diagnosed with bipolar. Thankfully, I am now on the correct meds and am doing great. This all came on since having my hysterectomy 18 months ago. When it rains, it surely does pour!
__________________
Lisa

Last edited by roz5; 02-25-2007 at 02:03 PM.

 
The following user gives a hug of support to roz5:
luyingjie (01-24-2012)
The Following User Says Thank You to roz5 For This Useful Post:
luyingjie (01-24-2012)
Old 02-25-2007, 02:38 PM   #5
Member
(female)
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 95
Raffeer HB User
Re: How is Dementia Diagnosed?

Roz-
Dementia is a symptom. It is NOT a disease. Angel Bear's post includes a version of the most commonly used test for the, again, symptom. If he has dementia the next step, is to find out what the dementia is a sympton of.
It could be Alzheimers, it could be several other conditions, some of which are reversible IF they are caught in time!! Alzheimers is not one of them.
It is really essential to get your father to a doctor, preferably a neurologist, to diagnose him correctly.
Keep us posted.
Beatrice

 
The following user gives a hug of support to Raffeer:
luyingjie (01-24-2012)
The Following User Says Thank You to Raffeer For This Useful Post:
luyingjie (01-24-2012)
Old 02-25-2007, 02:41 PM   #6
Veteran
(female)
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: New York State
Posts: 399
roz5 HB User
Re: How is Dementia Diagnosed?

Thank you so much for your responses!
I will do everything I can to convince my mother to take dad to the doctor (my father is a stubborn man!).
I'll keep you all posted.
Thanks again for everything!
Lisa
__________________
Lisa

 
Old 02-25-2007, 04:27 PM   #7
Veteran
(female)
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Adrian, Mi. USA
Posts: 445
petal*pusher HB User
Re: How is Dementia Diagnosed?

Several years ago, when my Mother was first diagnosed, we were told there are over 60 different types of dementia! (I often think I have 3 of them! )

You're getting excellent advice here...getting your Father to a dr. is very important.......p

 
Old 02-26-2007, 02:48 PM   #8
Senior Veteran
(female)
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Australia
Posts: 1,518
angel_bear HB Userangel_bear HB Userangel_bear HB Userangel_bear HB Userangel_bear HB Userangel_bear HB Userangel_bear HB Userangel_bear HB Userangel_bear HB User
Re: How is Dementia Diagnosed?

The Alzheimers Society states that Dementia is:

Quote:
The loss of intellectual functions (such as thinking, remembering, and reasoning) of sufficient severity to interfere with a person’s daily functioning. Dementia is not a disease itself but rather a group of symptoms that may accompany certain diseases or conditions. Symptoms may also include changes in personality, mood, and behavior. Dementia is irreversible when caused by disease or injury but may be reversible when caused by drugs, alcohol, hormone or vitamin imbalances, or depression.
It is far easier, for most, to use the label DEMENTIA that to specify exactly what they think or don't think the disease is.

When diagnosing my ex-charge, the doctors (yes, plural) pointed out the fact that it doesn't matter WHICH disease has caused the Dementia (and that the majority can't be proven until autopsy) but the fact is she HAD Dementia (and its' associated symptoms) and that everything else had already been ruled out by blood tests and scans etc, and that we had to figure out what to do from here.

SOME, but not many REASONS for the Dementia are reversable, but these are usually (and I use the word loosely .. USUALLY) picked up on scans and blood tests. If all those have been done (and repeated if you doubt the original results) then you have to deal with the fact that your loved one has the signs and symptoms of dementia, they won't be getting better and that the specific reason for the dementia won't be found until autopsy.

So .. of dissecting the why, where and how, it's just easier for us lay people to say to other lay people that "Mum has Dementia" instead of "Mum has the symptoms of Dementia"

Cheers
Sally

 
Old 02-26-2007, 04:31 PM   #9
Senior Veteran
(female)
 
Martha H's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Middlebury, IN
Posts: 4,695
Martha H HB UserMartha H HB UserMartha H HB UserMartha H HB UserMartha H HB UserMartha H HB UserMartha H HB UserMartha H HB UserMartha H HB UserMartha H HB UserMartha H HB User
Re: How is Dementia Diagnosed?

You are so right, Sally.

It is a hard row to hoe no matter what label is put on it.

In my experience with Mom, nothing ever helped her at all. Namenda and Aricept caused digestive symptoms (translateion - I had to clean her up 5x a day, she couldn't make it to the toilet!) and no change in her confusion. She just keeps on getting a little worse every month. It's all downhill.

What you as the caregiver can do, and which is really very helpful, is to change your own attitude or point of view. You can stop trying to improve her mental functioning. You can agree with everything she says and not try to explain or make things clear. You lower your expectations, glad when the person is fairly clean and pretty well dressed, and what he is saying is not pure nonsense --- later you are overjoyed if he remembers your name --- later if he is awake --- later if he eats anything at all.

God bless all caregivers.

Martha

 
Old 02-26-2007, 06:59 PM   #10
Member
(female)
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 95
Raffeer HB User
Re: How is Dementia Diagnosed?

Sally-
You wrote –
So .. of dissecting the why, where and how, it's just easier for us lay people to say to other lay people that "Mum has Dementia" instead of "Mum has the symptoms of Dementia"

I think you misunderstood what I wrote. Mum cannot have the symptoms of dementia. It is itself a symptom.

In my husband’s case it is a symptom of Adult Onset Hydrocephalus, also known as Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH). If the physician who first saw him in ’95 had not told me that he had “beginning signs of Alzheimers” and there was really not much to be done but hope it progressed slowly things might be very different for us today.

The four years that passed until we moved and changed to a doctor who was familiar with NPH and immediately sent him for an MRI and a spinal tap were too long. A shunt was installed in his head to drain the excess fluid but by that time the dementia was no longer reversible.

No one should have to repeat the mistake I made in not questioning a quick, off the cuff diagnosis. According to a piece on 60 Minutes 15% of residents in nursing homes diagnosed with Alzheimers are misdiagnosed and have NPH. On the NPH Board I have read our story too many times. It is interesting that the Alzheimer’s Society bit that you include does not even mention NPH as a possible cause for dementia. No wonder no one looks for it.

Fpr the record symptoms of NPH besides the dementia (can be mild) are urinary incontinence or urgency and balance/gait problems.

By the way my comments were not addressed to the veterans here but to those who post as the original poster did with questions about a loved one who appears to have dementia. I spent 11 years (5 of them tough) as a sole caretaker. I don’t want anyone else to go down the road I did because of a lack of knowledge.
Beatrice

 
Old 02-27-2007, 03:05 AM   #11
Senior Veteran
(female)
 
Martha H's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Middlebury, IN
Posts: 4,695
Martha H HB UserMartha H HB UserMartha H HB UserMartha H HB UserMartha H HB UserMartha H HB UserMartha H HB UserMartha H HB UserMartha H HB UserMartha H HB UserMartha H HB User
Re: How is Dementia Diagnosed?

I never even heard of NPH - I had to look it up when you first used it on this Board. Terrible, that your husband could have been cured if they had known what he had. I can understand how angry and unhappy you must be. It's good to warn all the newcomers here - if there is any chance it could be NPH, get it checked!

As Sally said, it is usually called 'Dementia' when all other causes have been ruled out. Our doctors never use that word as a symptom but as a description of the person's condition.

Good luck to you in your future dealings with doctors, hospitals and nursing homes - I can see why your faith in them would not be very high.

Martha

Last edited by Martha H; 02-27-2007 at 03:17 AM.

 
Old 02-27-2007, 06:00 AM   #12
Veteran
(female)
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 404
janeslk HB User
Re: How is Dementia Diagnosed?

I have a friend who is a nurse for a brain surgeon. She says she has seen several cases of people diagnosed for dementia, who actually had NHP. After the shunt is inserted and fluid drained she says many of them recovered totally from the dementia symptoms.

A television ad ran several months ago with former baseball pitcher Bob Feller who discovered he had NHP and recovered after the fluid was drained. I would think any good doctor would check this out first when dealing with a patient with dementia symptoms.

Jane

 
Old 02-27-2007, 07:24 AM   #13
Member
(female)
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 95
Raffeer HB User
Re: How is Dementia Diagnosed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by janeslk View Post
A television ad ran several months ago with former baseball pitcher Bob Feller who discovered he had NHP and recovered after the fluid was drained. I would think any good doctor would check this out first when dealing with a patient with dementia symptoms.

Jane
Jane - Unfortunately not all doctors are good. For the layman it is impossible to tell the good ones from the others.
We lay people tend to judge proficiency by personality. The chap who misdiagnosed my husband was warm, understanding and took the time to listen to us. The chap who caught the diagnosis is distant, abrupt and always seems rushed.
Had I even known of the existence of NPH I would have pushed but all I had ever head of was Alzheimers.
Beatrice

 
Old 02-27-2007, 10:24 AM   #14
Veteran
(female)
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 404
janeslk HB User
Re: How is Dementia Diagnosed?

Oh, don't get me started on some doctors. Our family doctor prescribed Lipitor for my husband and he almost became handicapped by the damage to his muscles. She still doesn't think it was the Lipitor although the pain stopped after he stopped taking it. Yes, she was a caring-type doctor, too, and she almost killed him.

I was noting that apparently the misdiagnosis of dementia was the subject of a television ad so the information was out there on the public airwaves for any doctor worth his salt to look at. We asked my FIL's doctor to check for it on the basis of the commercial, but his dementia was caused by small strokes.

Jane

 
Old 02-28-2007, 04:57 PM   #15
Senior Veteran
(female)
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: USA
Posts: 3,450
LuvMyLilDoggie HB UserLuvMyLilDoggie HB UserLuvMyLilDoggie HB UserLuvMyLilDoggie HB User
Re: How is Dementia Diagnosed?

Roz, your dad DEFINETELY needs a diagnosis ASAP. If it is dementia, the quicker it's diagnosed, the better chances of getting him on a med that may help slow the progression.

If your dad is having memory problems, chances are that if he goes to the doctor, he will not remember everything the doctor says. NOT GOOD. He MUST have your mother in the examining room with him to help him and the doctor with explainations, meds, etc. Chances are that even if he notices something wrong with his memory, pride will prevent him from telling the doctor. So my suggestion is to have your mother keep a journal of the oddities she notices, the meds he takes, whether or not he's taken his meds, mood swings, behavior changes, personality changes, etc. Have her give the journal to the doctor (preferably without your dad knowing so as not to damage his pride). This information will help his doctor a lot.

Angelbear mentioned thyroid disorders. I have hypothyroidism caused by an autoimmune disease. My dad has AD. Before I got my diagnosis, I was experiencing memory loss, mood swings, depression, aggression, anger, lethargy and the list goes on and on. I was sleeping up to 14 hours a day and still being tired and not caring about much of anything. My dad was not as bad as I was until he got into the later stages of AD.

I went from doctor to doctor trying to find out what was wrong with me. Long story short...I spent two years of my life in this state so I kind of understand in a way what my dad went through. Had I known then what I know now, I would have insisted on that simple inexpensive blood test that confirmed my hypothyroidism. As simple and inexpensive as it is, many doctors don't test for it. They'd rather give you pills to treat the symptoms.

Now that I've been diagnosed, I'm much better than I was. I take one pill a day. My prescription costs me $4 a month at WalMart.

What I'm trying to say is there are MANY things that can cause symptoms like dementia. There are some things that can be reversed if caught early enough. That's why it's so important that your dad gets a diagnosis. You don't want to find out too late that your dad has something that could have been treated and he could have been back to his old self IF he had been diagnosed sooner.

Good luck!

Barb
__________________
Live, Love, Laugh.

 
Closed Thread

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Board Replies Last Post
Difference between Alz and dementia seabell Alzheimer's Disease & Dementia 3 12-27-2009 10:02 PM
Difference between Alzheimers and Dementia manali Alzheimer's Disease & Dementia 8 10-09-2009 10:09 PM
What is the difference between Dementia and Alzheimers Deborah0112000 Alzheimer's Disease & Dementia 3 12-29-2007 04:21 AM
It's not Alz, it's lewy body dementia!! cheeps Alzheimer's Disease & Dementia 6 03-31-2007 12:13 PM
Dementia? fourt9rkim Alzheimer's Disease & Dementia 141 10-31-2006 08:35 AM




Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off




Join Our Newsletter

Stay healthy through tips curated by our health experts.

Whoops,

There was a problem adding your email Try again

Thank You

Your email has been added




Top 10 Drugs Discussed on this Board.
(Go to DrugTalk.com for complete list)
Aricept
Aspirin
Ativan
Morphine
Namenda
  Reminyl
Risperdal Seroquel
Xanax
Zoloft




TOP THANKED CONTRIBUTORS



Gabriel (758), ninamarc (157), Martha H (124), meg1230 (93), angel_bear (68), jagsmu (55), Beginning (51), TC08 (44), ibake&pray (43), debbie g (37)

Site Wide Totals

teteri66 (1180), MSJayhawk (1005), Apollo123 (906), Titchou (850), janewhite1 (823), Gabriel (759), ladybud (755), midwest1 (669), sammy64 (668), BlueSkies14 (607)



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 11:23 PM.



Site owned and operated by HealthBoards.com™
Terms of Use © 1998-2014 HealthBoards.com™ All rights reserved.
Do not copy or redistribute in any form!