Millions of dementia cases are misdiagnosed and many are highly treatable

One million.

That’s the number of U.S. Alzheimer’s patients who have been MISdiagnosed.

One million patients. And that’s the LOW END of the estimate. The actual number might include another half million patients or more.

The numbers are shocking. But AD misdiagnosis is no surprise. More than 100 drugs produce side effects that mimic dementia. And several vitamin and mineral deficiencies can do the same.

And I have one more item to add to that list of AD mimics… normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH).

But don’t let the “normal” fool you. It’s anything but normal.

In NPH, excess cerebrospinal fluid collects in the brain. Measures of the fluid’s pressure appear normal. Meanwhile, ventricle chambers enlarge, and the brain suffers.

Symptoms include cognitive decline and personality changes — the very same symptoms as AD.

In many NPH patients, cognition can be fully restored. A doctor inserts a shunt that drains the fluid, which relieves pressure on the brain.

I’ll say it again… Don’t ever accept an AD or dementia diagnosis at face value. There are many other things it could be. And they’re all so much easier to treat.

Sources:
“Detective Work: The False Alzheimer’s Diagnosis” Melinda Beck, The Wall St. Journal, 8/27/13, online.wsj.com