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Monday, December 22, 2008

Not All Dementia Is Called Alzheimer's


Vascular cognitive impairment (VCI), the second most common cause of dementia, occurs in up to 4 percent of Americans over age 65 and up to 20 percent of those with some form of dementia.....
By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room
A recent study showed a simple three minute test could help diagnose mild cognitive impairment (MCI). MCI is often a precursor to dementia or Alzheimer's.
The Alzheimer's Association and Alzheimer's Foundation are at odds concerning the use of screening to diagnose Alzheimer's. This is certainly a "sticky" issue.

I wish I could shout this from the mountain top: "when Alzheimer's or dementia present get the thyroid checked<.

For example, hypothyroidism can present as Alzheimer's. When I read this I had my mother's thyroid tested. It turned out she was suffering from hypothyroidism. This, however, did not change her Alzheimer's diagnosis. We did get one big benefit after the medication corrected the problem--after years of not smiling or laughing my mother started to do both. Get that thyroid checked.

The Washington Post has a short but important article on Vascular cognitive impairment (VCI). They point out that VCI shares Alzheimer's symptoms such as confusion, agitation, unsteady gait and falling. My mother suffered from all of these prior to her diagnosis.

The point I am trying to make here is that if you notice any of these behaviors you should have the person tested. If you use the Mini-Cog and decide someone is suffering from Alzheimer's you should still get them checked out thoroughly by a doctor/specialist. A good specialist can rule out other diseases with similar symptoms before any medical treatments and life decisions are made. Or hopefully, that same doctor can help correct the problem.

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Not All Dementia Is Called Alzheimer's

FRIDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- A common form of dementia often mistaken for Alzheimer's can be prevented with good health habits, a new report says.

Vascular cognitive impairment (VCI), the second most common cause of dementia, occurs in up to 4 percent of Americans over age 65 and up to 20 percent of those with some form of dementia. Brain damage from multiple small strokes, which can occur from narrowing or blocked arteries in the brain, are often the cause of VCI.

An overview of the disease, published in the December issue of Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource, notes that people can greatly reduce their risk of developing the disease by lowering their blood pressure, quitting smoking, and keeping diabetes and cholesterol levels under control.

VCI shares Alzheimer's symptoms such as confusion, agitation, language and memory problems, and unsteady gait and falls. However, the first symptom of VCI usually is the declining ability to organize thoughts or actions. In Alzheimer's, memory problems are usually the first sign of the condition.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more about dementia.

SOURCE: Mayo Clinic, news release, December 2008


More About the Alzheimer's Reading Room


Bob DeMarco is the editor of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. Bob has written more than 1,200 articles with more than 9,000 links on the Internet. Bob resides in Delray Beach, FL.

Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room