Elderly Cognitive Issues – Problems/Causes

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 13,808
    Mary Alexander with Home Instead Senior Care talks about cognitive issues that our parents may face and how to cope with them. This video focuses on some of the problems and causes that can lead to cognitive dysfunction.

    Mary Alexander: Hi! I'm Mary Alexander from Home Instead Senior Care and today I'm talking about how to deal with cognitive issues.

    Now we are going to talk about come of the problems and causes that can lead to cognitive dysfunction. Not all cognitive impairment is a result of dementia or Alzheimer's disease. Stress, anxiety, and fatigue have all been found to affect memory. Studies have shown that older men with elevated levels of the stress hormone epinephrine are more in likely to suffer from mild cognitive impairment than are those of their peers with normal levels.

    Another study showed that everyday stresses combined with major stressful events, may exert a cumulative effect over the lifetime that exacerbates cognitive decline. Many of our parents who suffer from diseases associating with ageing such as cancer and heart disease may end up with cognitive dysfunction as a result of treatments of these conditions. For example, Duke University's Medical Centre researchers have found that two years after major non-cardiac surgery 42% of elderly patients will have experienced a measurable cognitive decline.

    Cancer treatments are common cause of cognitive problems. Cancer.

    net reports that approximately 20% of people who undergo chemotherapy will experience some sort of cognitive problem. Radiation treatment to the head or neck is also a known cause of cognitive problems. Other conditions are symptoms related to cancer or cancer treatments including anemia, fatigue, stress, depression, insomnia, high blood calcium, and electrolyte imbalances can also result in cognitive dysfunction.

    Other causes of cognitive dysfunction include brain cancer or other cancers that spread to the brain or brain surgery. Hormone therapy, medication including those for anti-nausea, antibiotics, pain medications, antidepressants, heart medications, and those to treat sleep disorders.

    Infections, especially those of the central nerves system and that cause a high fever. Not having enough of specific vitamins and minerals such as iron, Vitamin B or folic acid. Untreated vision problems and other brain or nervous system disorders such as multiple sclerosis.

    Now that we've talked about some lesser known causes of cognitive dysfunction. Let's talk about the two that get the most attention. Those are dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Dementia can be caused by many things. Some of which are irreversible such as vitamin deficiencies and poor nutrition to reactions to medications and problems with the thyroid.

    However, some forms of dementia are irreversible such as that caused by mini strokes or Alzheimer's. Alzheimer's disease occurs when they nerves cell deteriorate in the brain due to a build up of plaques and tangles which actually results in the death of a large number of brain cells. Doctors are not sure why this occurs, but research is underway to determine causes and cures.

    According to the Alzheimer's Association 4.

    5 million Americans are presently living with the Alzheimer's disease. It is important to know that developing Alzheimer's disease is not a part of normal ageing. In fact, the causes of Alzheimer's disease are not entirely known, but are thought to include both genetic and environmental factors. A diagnosis of Alzheimer's is made when certain symptoms are present and making sure other causes of dementia and cognitive dysfunction are not present.

    Regardless of the cause of cognitive dysfunction in your senior loved one, the fact remains that dealing with the symptoms can be difficult and present many challenges.

    In our next video we will talk about ways to cope with cognitive problems.