Suspecting Dementia? It Could Instead Be One of These Treatable Conditions

Nursing Home Blog

When a loved one shows signs of forgetfulness, confusion or overall impaired function, you may suspect dementia is beginning to set in. While dementia could be the cause, there are a number of medical conditions that are completely treatable that can cause symptoms that mimic dementia. Once the underlying problem is treated, the symptoms of dementia go away. In the case of true dementia, which isn’t treatable, symptoms will only continue to worsen over time.

Diseases That Mimic Dementia

Depressed Senior Man Sitting On Sofa At HomeThere are a number of reasons your loved one may appear to have dementia, and they can include:

  • Problems with the buildup of medication in the system.
  • Infections of the urinary tract.
  • Low amounts of Vitamin B-12 in the blood.
  • Blood sugar levels that are out of control.
  • Thyroid problems that occur over time.

When a loved one appears confused, agitated, or unable to articulate their needs clearly, it’s important to have a full medical exam to determine what is going on. In the case of a urinary tract infection, the symptoms in older adults are not generally the same as those in younger people. In older adults, a urinary tract infection can present as confusion and irritability. Fortunately, it’s easy to diagnose and treat a urinary tract infection.

When a Loved One Is Diabetic

If you or your loved one have been newly diagnosed with diabetes, there can be a number of complications with blood sugar levels that vary widely. With low blood sugar, you may feel dizzy or confused. A person experiencing blood sugar levels that are too high may start to act confused or erratic. Once blood sugar levels are back under control, it will be possible to determine if there are any further underlying problems such as dementia.

Thyroid Disease Can Cause Dementia Symptoms

Many older adults have problems with their thyroid, and these problems can come on gradually. Thyroid hormone levels can be tested, and if they are off, this could be the reason for the confusion, exhaustion and overall anxiety your loved one is experiencing. If you notice that your family member is feeling depressed and sluggish, this could mean they need thyroid medication in order to feel better.

Elders with dementia are at a higher risk of abuse and neglect than the rest of the population. If your loved one suffers from dementia or any other condition and you suspect they are being abused, contact Garcia, Artigliere, Medby & Faulkner at 1-800-281-8515 today.