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Awareness Regarding Dementia Types Is Improving Diagnosis
The researchers and professionals in medical sciences are the first to indicate knowledge of the human brain, and how it works, is minimal. There are many types of dementia and dementia stages, for example, even physicians do not know exist. Dementia is associated with the elderly. Researchers and neurologists have determined that symptoms often begin several years earlier.
The reason symptoms are often misdiagnosed is due to the fact that many mimic other illnesses, conditions, or diseases when they first present in a patient. It is not until years later, when symptoms are considered as a whole, that an accurate diagnose can be made. Some early symptoms of dementia can be daytime drowsiness, visual hallucination, tremors, and lack of concentration. Those same symptoms are indicative of depression, a psychiatric disorder, Parkinson’s disease, a vitamin deficiency, or a brain injury.
Another issue regarding misdiagnosis, especially regarding dementia, is that there are a variety of dementia types. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia so many other types are attributed to that diagnosis. Awareness of other forms of dementia is limited. One example is Lewy Body Dementia, or LBD, that is estimated to affect over one million people in the United States alone.
What is LBD?
Lewy Body Dementia is a progressive form of dementia that is the second most common form behind Alzheimer’s disease. It is often mistaken for Parkinson’s disease because it evolves in the same way this disease does. Deposits of alpha-synuclein, a form of protein, build up within the tissue of the brain. This dementia may take several years to manifest itself.
It is believed to affect people fifty-years or older, but may start at an even earlier age. The real problem is that most forms of dementia cannot be definitely diagnosed until a brain autopsy can be conducted after death. Currently there are no scans or tests that can pinpoint LBD. Specialists, such as neurologists, geriatric psychiatrists, geriatricians, and neuropsychologists, are aware of the disease and can provide an accurate diagnosis.
How It Is Identified
A combination of physical and neurological examinations are used to come to as accurate a diagnosis as possible. Many of the tests are used to rule out other conditions or illnesses. Laboratory tests are completed to rule out vitamin or hormone deficiencies and other diseases. A review of the medical history of the patient, a physical examination, and a series of tests for muscle movements are also helpful.
Brain imaging may also be completed to detect any structural abnormalities or shrinkage of the brain. People who suspect they have this form of dementia, family members, and caregivers can go online to the Lewy Body Dementia Resource Center for a wealth of information regarding this type of dementia.
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