Guest Blog: Cognitive Issues in Seniors: Everything You Need To Know

In essence, mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a condition in which an individual experiences a slight decline in mental abilities. While minor, the decline can be easily noticed by the person concerned or the people they interact with. The changes, however, are not severe enough to interfere with their routine activities and daily life.

Decline Due to Normal Aging vs. Mild Cognitive Impairment: What the Difference?

Gradual cognitive decline is sometimes evident with healthy aging. For instance, the mental processing slows down, the ability to learn new information is reduced, and the likelihood of getting distracted increases.

However, decline brought about by normal aging will not affect overall functioning or the ability to perform routine activities. Normal aging will also not affect intelligence, recognition, or long-term memory.

In normal aging, older people may forget names (and words) and misplace things occasionally. However, with mild cognitive impairment, the person forgets information and conversations one would usually remember, such as planned events and other appointments.

Does MCI Always Lead to Dementia?

Dementia is the general term used to describe the severe decline in mental function that interferes with daily living. There are instances, where a treatable disease or illness causes MCI.

However, researchers also discovered that for most patients with MCI, it is considered the point along the pathway to dementia. MCI can be secondary to various illnesses, including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, and frontotemporal dementia.

Is MCI Common?

According to the American Academy of Neurology, MCI is present in about 8 percent of people aged 65 to 69, in 15 percent of people aged 75 to 79, in 25 percent of those aged 80 to 84, and in about 37 percent of people aged 85 years or older.

Conclusion

If you suspect you have MCI, it is recommended that you see your doctor right away. While there is no specific test that can confirm a diagnosis, your doctor can tell if you have MCI based on the symptoms that manifest and the information you will provide.

About the Author

Melissa Andrews is the Content Marketing Strategist for Paradise Living Centers, an assisted living center for seniors with locations in Paradise Valley and Phoenix, Arizona. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking and going on hiking trips with her siblings and cousins.

By |2021-06-05T19:43:47-05:00June 10th, 2021|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: Cognitive Issues in Seniors: Everything You Need To Know

Guest Blog: The 5 Most Common Types of Dementia

Many people assume that dementia is a disease in itself, but it’s not.

Dementia is more of a blanket term used to describe several conditions affecting the brain, typically characterized by the loss of cognitive functioning.

People living with dementia often have problems thinking, reasoning, and remembering, often to the point where it interferes with their daily lives.

Even behavioral abilities are affected by dementia, with some having difficulty controlling their emotions.

At its earliest stage, dementia would be starting to affect cognitive abilities. As it progresses, the symptoms become worse.

By the time the affected person reaches dementia’s most severe stage, they would be dependent on in-home dementia care for the most basic functions of living, like brushing their teeth and taking care of their personal hygiene and grooming.

There are several types of dementia, the most common of which include:

1. Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, as it makes up 60 to 80 percent of all dementia cases..

A progressive and irreversible condition, Alzheimer’s affects that part of our brain responsible for language abilities, formation of short-term memories, and comprehending and remembering information.

Apart from the diminished ability to understand and remember information, other signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s include:

  • Inability to remember recent events
  • Eventual loss of memories of long-term life events
  • Reduced decision-making abilities
  • Inability to perform simple tasks
  • Difficulty following a conversation
  • Confusion/Disorientation
  • Disinterest in favorite activities and hobbies
  • Repetitive words and sentences
  • Paranoia
  • Reduced fine motor skills

2. Vascular Dementia

As its name suggests, vascular dementia is associated with reduced blood flow in the brain, typically caused by a stroke or atherosclerotic disease.

Next to Alzheimer’s, vascular dementia is the second most common type of dementia, and it causes, among other things, confusion and disorientation, inability to concentrate for extended periods, difficulty completing tasks, and vision problems.

3. Lewy Body Dementia

About 5-15% of all dementia cases are classified as Lewy Body Dementia, which occurs when abnormal protein deposits in nerve cells affect the area of the brain responsible for thinking and physical movement.

These deposits prevent the brain from sending chemical signals to the body, leading to memory loss and delayed reactions.

On top of memory loss and diminished language and reasoning abilities, people living with Lewy Body dementia also experience insomnia, depression and anxiety, and symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease, including feelings of weakness, difficulty walking, and tremors.

4. Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is caused by nerve cell loss in the substantia nigra, the part of the brain that plays a crucial role in movement. When people living with Parkinson’s reach the disease’s advanced stage, they will likely develop dementia.

Aside from dementia, Parkinson’s patients also experience symptoms such as difficulty comprehending visual information, irritability, paranoia, depression, trouble walking and speaking, and tremors, which could affect any part of the body but are most common in the hands.

5. Frontotemporal Dementia

Frontotemporal Dementia affects the brain’s front and side areas, which are tasked with controlling a person’s behavior and language.

While its cause has not yet been identified, frontotemporal dementia is already known to run in families and affect individuals as young as 45-years-old.

As frontotemporal dementia affects the parts of the brain responsible for behavior and language, behavioral issues such as loss of motivation and inhibition and speech problems are common symptoms among those who have the condition.

These are the most common types of dementia, and there are several other subtypes and rare forms.

If you suspect that a loved one has dementia, it’s best to bring them to a neurologist for immediate diagnosis.

By |2021-05-10T18:25:38-05:00May 10th, 2021|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: The 5 Most Common Types of Dementia