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Sally has many of the classic symptoms of cognitive impairment but we do not know if it is Alzheimer's or dementia

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If Sally is really smart, that can delay her getting a diagnosis, because she can make up for some of the errors her brain is making. Ask her doctor to check for conditions that can mimic dementia, like low thyroid, low B12, sleep apnea. They can all be treated to reverse or at least stop the decline. Another one I read about in the paper is normal pressure hydrocephalus. It is also reversible.

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Dementia is a general term, like an umbrella, that covers many diagnoses that include cognitive impairment, loss of mental abilities, etc. Alzheimer's Disease is a type of dementia, as is vascular dementia, Lewy Body Dementia and others. Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia. Though each type of dementia has things in common, each type also has some of its own symtpoms that help a neurologist determine what type of dementia it might be. Has Sally seen a neurologist at all? She would probably need to visit a neurologist to get a realistic diagnosis. Also, sometimes cognitive impairment is a side effect of medications, interactions between medications, or even some other illnesses that have nothing to do with dementia itself. If her symptoms are a concern, you really need to make an appointment with someone who can pinpoint the problem to as great a degree as possible. If she's seeing a family doctor, let that person know your concerns so Sally can be referred to a neurologist if necessary. A great site for info on dementia is alz.org -- go there and click on Alzheimer's & Dementia on the purple menu bar at the top of the page.
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