‘Dementia’ victims who are just depressed or low on vitamins: Continuing our series, the patients told it’s Alzheimer’s when their real problems could be easily cured

But she later tried a new scanner that searches for proteins that are a marker for Alzheimer's, and discovered she didn't have it

But she later tried a new scanner that searches for proteins that are a marker for Alzheimer’s, and discovered she didn’t have it

  • Because there is no definitive test for dementia, mistakes are made
  • Dr Keith Souter looks at conditions that often get mistaken for the disease
  • Read on for the second part of our major Good Health series on dementia

Being diagnosed with dementia can come as a devastating and life-changing blow. As well as getting the right treatment, the patient’s future plans have to be rethought – and often those of their nearest and dearest, too.

Yet because there is no definitive test for dementia, inevitably mistakes are made. Some people may be told they have dementia when, in fact, they are stressed or depressed, and vice versa.

Checking for these conditions is vital because their diagnosis – and proper treatment – can often reverse symptoms that are much harder to tackle in true dementia.

Today, in the second part of our major Good Health series on dementia, we look in detail at the conditions that often get mistaken for this cruel degenerative brain disease. And when dementia is correctly diagnosed, we show you the best current treatment options.

The symptoms of dementia can vary widely, depending on which type is involved and which part of the brain is affected.

They include problems with short-term memory, difficulty concentrating and communicating, behaviour or personality changes and depression.

But these symptoms are a common feature of other conditions…

Depression

This is a surprisingly common problem among the elderly. Around 15 per cent of the over-65s suffer from depression; among the over-75s, that rises to 30 per cent. The problem is that elderly people do not tend to complain about their depression to family and friends.

Outwardly they may give the appearance of being content, even though they are not.

At the same time, other depressive symptoms such as irritability may be put down to old age.

Many older people will display the typical symptoms of depression, such as low mood and struggling with concentration. There may be tearfulness, problems sleeping, a loss of interest in hobbies and problems with their memory.

However, while in younger people all these might obviously be signs of depression, in older people the default diagnosis may be dementia.

Spotting the difference: There is much cross-over in the symptoms between depression and dementia, but there are key differences.

Elderly people with depression may feel apathetic and lack motivation, but they will not have the cognitive problems suffered by people with dementia.

If someone knows the people around them and the date, time and year, they are probably not suffering from dementia.

Also, while many people with dementia will be depressed, with just depression it’s common to have diurnal variation – they tend to feel more depressed at the start of the day, but their mood improves as the day goes on. Someone with dementia will not normally display this cycle.

A lack of vitamin B12

Vitamin B12, found naturally in meat, eggs and dairy, is vital to the metabolism of monoamines – chemical messengers released by nerve cells in the brain which are thought to play a crucial role in cognition.

B12 deficiency is more common after the age of 60 because, as we age, the stomach produces less of the acid needed to absorb this vitamin from food.

Once levels fall below 500 pg/ml (picograms per millilitre – the normal range is 500 to 1,000), the brain starts to deteriorate, making memory loss more likely.

Being deficient in B12 can also lead to delirium or even a psychotic state.

It is most likely to be found in those with poor diets and older people, and can be reversed with injections of B12. Recovery should follow in up to four weeks.

Spotting the difference: If someone is not just having memory problems, but is tired and feeling weak and unwell, it could be a B12 deficiency. A blood test by your GP can reveal this.

Underactive thyroid

With this condition – also known as hypothyroidism – the thyroid gland in the neck doesn’t pump out enough of the hormone thyroxine. This can be the result of the immune system attacking the thyroid gland, for example, or as a side-effect of medication such as amiodarone, used to treat heart rhythm disorders…

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3018713/Dementia-victims-just-depressed-low-vitamins-Continuing-series-patients-told-s-Alzheimer-s-real-problems-easily-cured.html#ixzz3Vz9km53g
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

WIKK WEB GURU
WIKK WEB GURU

One thought on “‘Dementia’ victims who are just depressed or low on vitamins: Continuing our series, the patients told it’s Alzheimer’s when their real problems could be easily cured

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s