When you or a friend or loved one begin experiencing forgetfulness, start repeating the same things, act confused, or exhibit mood or personality changes-it’s a cause for concern. Many Baby Boomers automatically assume it’s Alzheimer’s Disease or one of the other forms of dementia.
“Thankfully, quite often it’s actually not dementia but some other medical problem,” said Operations Manager Robert Bicanic of the Northbrook-based Senior Helpers office serving the north and northwest suburbs. “Whatever the problem is, these symptoms mean it’s time to see your doctor.”
With an examination, your doctor will be able to rule out many possible causes-and hopefully determine what is really going on, and, what can be done about it. Here are a few common problems that often cause symptoms that look like Alzheimer’s disease.
Thyroid and liver conditions. When your thyroid is not functioning properly or you are not receiving enough Vitamin A for your liver, as a result, you can experience memory deficiencies. Both conditions need to be ruled out before worrying about any type of dementia.
Depression. Depression is a serious problem for many baby boomers and seniors. When you’re depressed, you may not be paying close attention to what is being said causing you to have little to say or be capable of interacting well with people. A physician needs to determine if depression is causing memory issues and social interaction problems, and how it can be treated.
Hearing Loss. If your loved one can’t hear you clearly, he or she may not be responding properly to your questions or take part in conversations. One of the first steps should take is to make sure your hearing has been checked and evaluated
Urinary Tract and Other Infections. It is not always easy to diagnose a urinary tract infection because there may be little or no pain or discomfort. It is important to diagnosis this infection because it causes stress on the body, and it can result in confusion and changes in behavior. Once it’s diagnosed, it can usually be treated with antibiotics and successfully overcome.
These are not the only conditions that can cause Baby Boomers to think they have Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. Medications causing adverse reactions, other vitamin deficiencies, substance abuse and mini strokes are just a few. See your doctor to determine the reasons for your memory problem.
Senior Helpers is the affiliate office for the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America in the Chicagoland area and has specially trained caregivers who care for seniors, including people with dementia.