It’s safe to say that most elders and their loved ones are aware of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Consequently, they tend to be on the lookout for their symptoms. That is wise because while the conditions can’t be cured, early diagnosis allows for better care. However, other medical issues produce symptoms that appear to be signs of dementia. This can cause a number of problems, including the delay of treatment for the actual illness. At our community for senior living in Loveland, CO, we are quick to report any cognitive decline we see in residents to them or their loved ones.
Unexpected Causes of Cognitive Problems
Some of the medical conditions (and treatments) that can cause an elder to display dementia-like symptoms include:
- Certain prescription drugs can cause confusion, memory loss, irritability, low energy and other symptoms, especially if the dosage is incorrect.
- Depression does more than make people feel sad. It can have a negative impact on memory, focus and sleep. It may also cause a person to avoid social interaction.
- If the thyroid is producing too much or too little of the hormones it is responsible for, the condition can have a negative impact on how the body uses food. This can affect an elder’s mental and emotional health.
- Poorly managed or unmanaged diabetes can allow a person to go into a state called hypoglycemia in which the blood sugar is too low. This state can cause impaired coordination and difficulty in completing even simple tasks.
- Repeated interruptions in breathing while sleeping, often caused by airway issues, can deprive the brain of oxygen and cause behavior that looks like dementia.
- Lyme disease is caused by the bite of a tick that introduces a certain kind of bacteria into the body. The disease can affect short-term memory and cause a person to feel somewhat “disconnected” from the world around them.
- Low levels of B12 make it hard for the body to produce enough red blood cells and nerve fibers. This can cause confusion and disorientation.
Always Get a Medical Professional’s Opinion
At Green House Homes, our innovative approach to senior living in Loveland, CO creates close-knit communities. There, people—staff and residents—care for one another and pay attention to changes in mental and physical health. One thing we’ve learned in the process is that when people notice unusual symptoms in themselves or others, they should avoid making assumptions. Instead, they should get input from a medical professional. Encouraging residents to address health changes promptly is important. And, it’s just one of the ways we help them live their happiest, healthiest lives.
April/24/2018 | News