Mixed dementia is a condition in which the signs and symptoms of more than one form of dementia occur simultaneously. The most common type of mixed dementia is characterized by both the protein deposits that are typically seen in those with Alzheimer’s disease, as well as blood vessel abnormalities that are generally linked with vascular dementia.
The signs and symptoms of mixed dementia can vary widely, depending on the brain region affected and type of brain changes involved. In the majority of cases, symptoms of mixed dementia may be similar to or even indistinguishable from the symptoms of another form of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
One of the earliest signs that an individual may be suffering from dementia is trouble remembering newly learned information. This is because dementia can quite commonly affect the area of the brain that is responsible for learning. As the disease progresses, individuals may report more severe symptoms, such as changes in mood or behavior; disorientation; becoming suspicious of family members, friends, or other caregivers; worsening confusion over events, place, or time; more severe memory loss; and difficulty speaking, swallowing, and walking.
It is important to note that most everyone will experience temporary difficulty with memory at some point in their lives. However, memory loss that has begun to have an effect on the individual’s ability to perform their usual daily activities is cause for concern. Signs of this may include forgetting important dates or events, increasing need to rely on aids for remembering (such as electronic devices or reminder notes), or asking for the same information repeatedly.
Individuals with mixed dementia may start to leave items in unusual places, frequently lose things, and be unable to retrace their steps in order to locate the object. These individuals may have trouble recognizing the problem and begin to accuse others of stealing from them and begin to develop suspicion and mistrust for those who are caring for them. Further, individuals with mixed dementia may begin to exhibit poor judgment. For instance, they may make poor choices with their money by giving large amounts to telemarketers. They may even begin to pay less attention to general hygiene practices, such that they don’t keep themselves as clean as they used to and no longer care about grooming.
Mixed Dementia & Mood / Behavior
Lastly, individuals with mixed dementia may exhibit significant changes in mood or behavior. They may become depressed, anxious, fearful, suspicious, or even confused. These individuals may start to become more easily upset at work, with friends, or in places where they are no longer in their comfort zone. Individuals with mixed dementia may even begin to withdraw from activities that they use to enjoy and attempt to avoid being around those they care about.
If you have begun to notice any of these signs and symptoms of mixed dementia in yourself or someone you love, it is important to schedule an appointment with your doctor right away.
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