Dementia risk is independently linked with sepsis, delirium, and acute dialysis among the elderly. The study looked at a random five percent of senior Medicare patients who were treated in intensive care in 2005. The participants were followed for three years. The study included 25,368 patients, and 4,519 of them were diagnosed with dementia.
Older age was strongly associated with a higher risk of dementia, and women were more likely to develop dementia than men. Three critical conditions were also found to be independently associated with the risk of dementia: severe sepsis, delirium, and acute dialysis.
Lead author of the study Dr. Hannah Wunsch explained, “Due to increasing life spans and better hospital care, millions of older people now survive a critical illness every year. Our study provides a greater understanding of the consequences of these hospitalizations on subsequent risk of receiving a diagnosis of dementia, and may allow for better planning and targeting future studies to high risk populations.”
How is dementia diagnosed in the elderly?
Cognitive decline can include changes to a person’s memory, attention span, ability to learn, and language capabilities. One of the first warning signs of cognitive impairment is a decline in memory, particularly the recall of recent events. Some individuals with mild cognitive impairment develop Alzheimer’s disease, while others can be treated and recover. In either case, it’s important to be aware of the warning signs. Apart from a weakened memory, other early signs of dementia include confusion, a change in personality, apathy and withdrawal, and diminished ability to do everyday tasks
- Do you have difficulty carrying out tasks that are familiar to you?
- Is memory loss affecting your day-to-day functions?
- Do you frequently misplace things and put them in inappropriate places?
- Do you ever become disoriented about where you are or how you got there?
- Do you forget words or substitute inappropriate words, making your speech challenging for people to comprehend?
- Have you been experiencing rapid mood swings, or do you find yourself feeling overly suspicious or confused? What about apathetic or withdrawn?
If you find yourself answering “yes” to any of these questions, don’t fret. Discuss your experiences with your doctor. What’s more, if you have a friend or loved one who has some of these symptoms, encourage them – with care and sensitivity – to seek out a medical professional.
Diagnostic tests for dementia in the elderly include cognitive and neuropsychological tests, brain scans, blood tests, and a psychiatric evaluation.
An early diagnosis is fundamental. Your doctor may find that you have a condition that is fully treatable, or may confirm the presence of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Whatever the case may be, the best thing you can do is arm yourself and your family with a proper diagnosis, up-to-date information, and a therapeutic action plan that can significantly improve the quality of your life.