What Health Conditions Are Often Mistaken for Dementia?

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As people age, they’re often on the lookout for the warning signs of dementia. However, not every lapse in memory or temporary bout of confusion is dementia-related. Other health issues can cause many key symptoms of this disorder. The following medical conditions can mimic dementia so closely that they occasionally lead to misdiagnosis.

Hypoglycemia

It becomes difficult for the body to maintain stable blood glucose levels as a person ages. Hypoglycemia is particularly common among seniors with diabetes because their medication can cause drops in blood sugar levels. In addition to confusion and personality changes, low blood sugar results in sweating, shaking, nausea, headaches, and pale skin. Treat it immediately by providing your loved one with a sugary snack or drink, then visit the doctor to discuss long-term management. 

Some seniors may require constant supervision while on diabetes medication. Aging adults who require assistance with the tasks of daily living can benefit from reliable in-home care. Centennial, Colorado, families trust Home Care Assistance to provide the high-quality care their elderly loved ones need and deserve. Our caregivers are trained to help seniors prevent and manage serious illnesses and encourage them to make healthier decisions as they age.

Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is a condition that causes the body not to produce enough thyroid hormones, and it’s particularly common among senior women. This condition can cause severe fatigue that keeps seniors from focusing or thinking logically. It also tends to cause weight gain, frequent feelings of cold, constipation, hair loss, and dry skin. Treating this condition is fairly simple, only requiring seniors to take a thyroid hormone replacement medication.

Lyme Disease

This condition is spread through the bite of an infected tick. When a person gets Lyme disease, the bacteria can linger in the body without causing symptoms for years before it makes itself known. Seniors with Lyme disease are frequently fatigued, and they often feel like they cannot think clearly. Treating Lyme disease with antibiotics as soon as possible may keep it from further damaging the nervous system.

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

UTIs are a common health issue among seniors, but many people don’t realize that a UTI does more than just make it painful to urinate. When the body is focused on fighting off this type of infection, it tends to route resources away from the brain, which can result in sudden confusion, withdrawal, or agitation. UTIs can be easily treated with antibiotics, but it can take a while to notice them. Caregivers should be on the lookout for other symptoms of UTIs, like cloudy urine, stomach pain, and fever. 

Seniors with UTIs and other serious conditions may need assistance to prepare nutritious meals and drinks on their own. If your aging loved one needs occasional help with bathing, grooming, cooking, or other basic household tasks, or if you need time to attend to important personal matters, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of live-in and respite care. Centennial seniors can maintain their independence while living at home with the help of our reliable respite caregivers.

Depression

Disconnecting from relationships and hobbies isn’t just a sign of dementia. Seniors with depression tend to go through personality changes and withdraw from loved ones, which may be mistaken for dementia. Fortunately, depression isn’t as chronic of a condition as dementia. Medications to replace missing neurotransmitters and therapy to manage triggers can greatly reduce depression symptoms.

If your loved one is diagnosed with dementia, he or she can still live an independent life with the help of a professional caregiver. Families looking for top-rated Centennial home care providers can reach out to Home Care Assistance. From respite care to specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care, there are many ways we can make life easier for seniors and their loved ones. Call us at (303) 957-3100 today to learn more about our premier senior care programs.