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Misdiagnosis of Dementia

Misdiagnosis of Dementia

A diagnosis of dementia may be delayed or missed because early symptoms develop gradually and are often associated with the normal aging process. In addition, symptoms of dementia can mimic symptoms of a variety of diseases, disorders or conditions, such as depression, TIA, stroke, psychosis, and delirium, which can all accompany dementia or can be distinct and separate diagnoses not related to dementia.

In addition, a misdiagnosis of the underlying cause of dementia is possible because there are many possible causes, some of which can be difficult to diagnose. These include vascular dementia, Alzheimer's disease, Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease, bovine spongiform encephalopathy, frontotemporal dementia, thyroid diseases, brain tumor, and vitamin B deficiency. Other causes include AIDS, syphilis, alcoholism, hydrocephalus, depression, and chronic subdural hematoma....more about Dementia »

Alternative diagnoses list for Dementia:

For a diagnosis of Dementia, the following list of conditions have been mentioned in sources as possible alternative diagnoses to consider during the diagnostic process for Dementia:

Diseases for which Dementia may be an alternative diagnosis

The other diseases for which Dementia is listed as a possible alternative diagnosis in their lists include:

Dementia: Hidden Causes Misdiagnosed?

Causes of Dementia may include these medical conditions:

Rare Types of Dementia:

Dementia: Medical Mistakes

Related medical mistakes may include:

Dementia: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed conditions in related areas may include:

Discussion of diagnosis/misdiagnosis of Dementia:

Aging -- Women Getting Older: NWHIC (Excerpt)

It is natural to lose some mental acuity as you age. Think of your brain as a computer, with megabytes of information added each year, year after year. Unlike a computer, however, we canít delete useless information. So our minds can at times experience something that feels like overload, and itís easy to forget some of lifeís details. Serious memory loss, however, is more rare. (Source: excerpt from Aging -- Women Getting Older: NWHIC)

Forgetfulness It's Not Always What You Think -- Age Page -- Health Information: NIA (Excerpt)

Stress, anxiety, or depression can make a person more forgetful. Forgetfulness caused by these emotions usually is temporary and goes away when the feelings fade. However, if these feelings last for a long period of time, getting help from a professional is important. Treatment may include counseling or medication, or a combination of both. (Source: excerpt from Forgetfulness It's Not Always What You Think -- Age Page -- Health Information: NIA)

Common Misdiagnoses and Dementia

Undiagnosed stroke leads to misdiagnosed aphasia: BBC News UK reported on a man who had been institutionalized and treated for mental illness because he suffered from sudden inability to speak. This was initially misdiagnosed as a "nervous breakdown" and other mental conditions. He was later diagnosed as having had a stroke, and suffering from aphasia (inability to speak), a well-known complication of stroke (or other brain conditions).

Alzheimer's disease over-diagnosed: The well-known disease of Alzheimer's disease is often over-diagnosed. Patients tend to assume that any memory loss or forgetulness symptom might be Alzheimer's, whereas there are many other less severe possibilities. Some level of memory decline is normal with aging, and even a slight loss of acuity may be noticed in the 30's and 40's. Other conditions can also lead a person to show greater forgetfulness. For example, depression and depressive disorders can cause a person to have reduced concentration and thereby poorer memory retention.

Dementia may be a drug interaction: A common scenario in aged care is for a patient to show mental decline to dementia. Whereas this can, of course, occur due to various medical conditions, such as a stroke or Alzheimer's disease, it can also occur from a side effect or interaction between multiple drugs that the elderly patient may be taking. There are also various other possible causes of dementia.

Tremor need not be Parkinson's disease: There is the tendency to believe that any tremor symptom, or shakiness, means Parkinson's disease. The reality is that there are various possibilities, such as benign essential tremor, which is mostly harmless. see the various causes of tremor and misdiagnosis of Parkinson's disease.

Mild traumatic brain injury often remains undiagnosed: Although the symptoms of severe brain injury are hard to miss, it is less clear for milder injuries, or even those causing a mild concussion diagnosis. The condition goes by the name of "mild traumatic brain injury" (MTBI). MTBI symptoms can be mild, and can continue for days or weeks after the injury. See the symptoms of MTBI or misdiagnosis of MTBI.

ADHD under-diagnosed in adults: Although the over-diagnoses of ADHD in children is a well-known controversy, the reverse side related to adults. Some adults can remain undiagnosed, and indeed the condition has usually been overlooked throughout childhood. There are as many as 8 million adults with ADHD in the USA (about 1 in 25 adults in the USA). See misdiagnosis of ADHD or symptoms of ADHD.

MTBI misdiagnosed as balance problem: When a person has symptoms such as vertigo or dizziness, a diagnosis of brain injury may go overlooked. This is particularly true of mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI), for which the symptoms are typically mild. The symptoms has also relate to a relatively mild brain injury (e.g. fall), that could have occurred days or even weeks ago. Vestibular dysfunction, causing vertigo-like symptoms, is a common complication of mild brain injury. See causes of dizziness, causes of vertigo, or misdiagnosis of MTBI.

Rare diseases misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease: A rare genetic disorder is often misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease for men in their 50's. The disease Fragile X disorder can show only mild symptoms in the early years, and Parkinsons-like symptoms around age 50. See misdiagnosis of Parkinson's disease.

Bipolar disorder misdiagosed as various conditions by primary physicians: Bipolar disorder (manic-depressive disorder) often fails to be diagnosed correctly by primary care physicians. Many patients with bipolar seek help from their physician, rather than a psychiatrist or psychologist. See misdiagnosis of bipolar disorder.

Eating disorders under-diagnosed in men: The typical patient with an eating disorder is female. The result is that men with eating disorders often fail to be diagnosed or have a delayed diagnosis. See misdiagnosis of eating disorders or symptoms of eating disorders.

Depression undiagnosed in teenagers: Serious bouts of depression can be undiagnosed in teenagers. The "normal" moodiness of teenagers can cause severe medical depression to be overlooked. See misdiagnosis of depression or symptoms of depression.

Brain pressure condition often misdiagnosed as dementia: A condition that results from an excessive pressure of CSF within the brain is often misdiagnosed. It may be misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease or dementia (such as Alzheimer's disease). The condition is called "Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus" (NPH) and is caused by having too much CSF, i.e. too much "fluid on the brain". One study suggested that 1 in 20 diagnoses of dementia or Parkinson's disease were actually NPH. See misdiagnosis of Alzheimer's disease or misdiagnosis of Parkinson's disease.

Post-concussive brain injury often misdiagnosed: A study found that soldiers who had suffered a concussive injury in battle often were misdiagnosed on their return. A variety of symptoms can occur in post-concussion syndrome and these were not being correctly attributed to their concussion injury. See introduction to concussion.

Children with migraine often misdiagnosed: A migraine often fails to be correctly diagnosed in pediatric patients. These patients are not the typical migraine sufferers, but migraines can also occur in children. See misdiagnosis of migraine or introduction to migraine.

Undiagnosed anxiety disorders related to depression: Patients with depression (see symptoms of depression) may also have undiagnosed anxiety disorders (see symptoms of anxiety disorders). Failure to diagnose these anxiety disorders may worsen the depression. See misdiagnosis of depression or misdiagnosis of anxiety disorders.

Vitamin B12 deficiency under-diagnosed: The condition of Vitamin B12 deficiency is a possible misdiagnosis of various conditions, such as multiple sclerosis (see symptoms of multiple sclerosis). See symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency or misdiagnosis of multiple sclerosis.

Dementia: Rare Types

Rare types of medical disorders and diseases in related medical areas:

Medical news summaries about misdiagnosis of Dementia:

The following medical news items are relevant to misdiagnosis of Dementia:

General Misdiagnosis Articles

Read these general articles with an overview of misdiagnosis issues.

About misdiagnosis:

When checking for a misdiagnosis of Dementia or confirming a diagnosis of Dementia, it is useful to consider what other medical conditions might be possible misdiagnoses or other alternative conditions relevant to diagnosis. These alternate diagnoses of Dementia may already have been considered by your doctor or may need to be considered as possible alternative diagnoses or candidates for misdiagnosis of Dementia. For a general overview of misdiagnosis issues for all diseases, see Overview of Misdiagnosis.

 

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