Misdiagnosis of Underlying Causes of Dementia


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About underlying conditions: With a diagnosis of Dementia, it is important to consider whether there is an underlying condition causing Dementia. These are other medical conditions that may possibly cause Dementia. For general information on this form of misdiagnosis, see Underlying Condition Misdiagnosis or Overview of Misdiagnosis

Underlying conditions list: The list of possible underlying conditions mentioned in various sources for Dementia includes:

Dementia as a complication: Other conditions that might have Dementia as a complication might be potential underlying conditions. The list of conditions listing Dementia as a complication includes:

Dementia as a symptom: Conditions listing Dementia as a symptom may also be potential underlying conditions:

Underlying conditions discussion: There are over 60 different causes of the dementia syndrome, with Alzheimer's disease being the most common. 1

Dementia is a syndrome with over 60 causes. There are a number of causes with a direct genetic basis. For example, Huntington's disease, early onset familial Alzheimer's disease, trisomy 21 (Down syndrome), acute intermittent porphyris (a disorder which causes neurological symptoms), Wilson's disease (a hereditary disorder in which copper accumulates in tissues), mitochondrial encephalopathies, and several other causes of the dementia syndrome have a definite genetic origin.1

Dementia is caused by many conditions. Some conditions that cause dementia can be reversed, and others cannot. Further, many different medical conditions may cause symptoms that seem like Alzheimer's disease, but are not. Some of these medical conditions may be treatable. Reversible conditions can be caused by a high fever, dehydration, vitamin deficiency and poor nutrition, bad reactions to medicines, problems with the thyroid gland, or a minor head injury. Medical conditions like these can be serious and should be treated by a doctor as soon as possible. 2

Footnotes:
1. excerpt from DEMENTIA: NWHIC
2. excerpt from Forgetfulness It's Not Always What You Think - Age Page - Health Information: NIA

Last revision: July 1, 2003

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