With the growing prevalence – and publicity – of Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia, it’s easy to assume that lapses in memory, dizzy spells, or prolonged forgetfulness are sure signs that the disease has taken hold.
More than 100 disorders can trigger dementia-like symptoms.
And for many people, it has. The disease is occurring so rampantly, especially as the baby boom generation ages, that by 2050, the number of people age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s disease may nearly triple, from 5 million to as many as 16 million, reports the Alzheimer’s Association.
But what may seem like dementia may be something entirely different and treatable.
In fact, there are more than 100 disorders — from the side effects of medication to urinary tract infections — that can also trigger dementia-like symptoms, according to an article published by AARP.
Here are eight common disorders that can masquerade as dementia, with information on what you can do about them, courtesy of AARP.
1. Could it be normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH)?
Milton Newman knew something was wrong. For more than 33 years he’d had a thriving dental practice in Peekskill, N.Y. But over a period of about 15 years, his memory became fuzzy and his ability to do simple things around the house deteriorated to the point that his wife, Phyllis, was afraid to leave him home alone. “That was a terrible period,” Newman says. “I was a vegetable.”
He saw a series of specialists and endured a battery of tests, but no one could figure out what was wrong. “They all said it was the beginning of Alzheimer’s,” says Phyllis. It wasn’t until the couple sold their home and retired to Arizona that a new doctor recognized what was really happening. His problem wasn’t Alzheimer’s disease — it was normal pressure hydrocephalus, and it was largely reversible. Read more