Now, if you think that Dementia is bad (and it truly is!), just wait until you get a load of Mixed Dementia! The thing is with this destruction to the brain, many times it is not completely revealed until an autopsy is performed after death.
Many times an autopsy will be ordered if it is known that the person has been diagnosed with a type of Dementia. This is how medical personnel learn about the disorder and hope to benefit from it in for future patients.
The Mixed Dementia has been discovered after comparing notes on many of the autopsies. It looks to the professionals as those 80 years or older that had been diagnosed with one type of Dementia, really had a mixed bag of Dementias.
Upon further analysis, it looks as though both AD (Alzheimer’s disease)-related neurodegenerative processes and vascular disease-related processes cross paths. According to NINDS, ‘some studies indicate that mixed vascular-degenerative dementia is the most common cause of dementia in the elderly.’
It looks to the experts like the people diagnosed with Mixed Dementia that the symptoms are unclear. Many times they cannot tell which are related to AD or which belong to another type of Dementia.
One particular study done during autopsies determined that in 40% of people that were once thought to simply have AD that they also had some form of Cerebrovascular Disease. That and several other studies realized that the major risk factors for vascular disease may also be risk factors for AD.
That is why so much extensive research continues to go on. Experts want to understand how underlying disease processes in Mixed Dementia influence one another. At this point, they are not even certain if symptoms are likely to be worse when the person’s brain changes due to Mixed Dementias. It is also uncertain if treating one will help or hinder the other(s).
With this realization, a caregiver’s position really does not change. They still have the total responsibility to show that With Age Comes Respect. We need to leave the rest to the experts!