Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Updating the Diagnosis

When Lyn was first undergoing the process to diagnose what is happening to her, the physician listed the diagnosis as early on-set dementia.  Mom has been thinking about this diagnosis for some time and feels that it is too broad.  Dementia is the collection of symptoms resulting from a number of degenerative neurological conditions.  The list of dementia causing conditions includes Parkinson Disease, Vascular Dementia, Fronto-temporal Dementia, Dementia with Lewy Bodies and Alzheimer's.

Graphic courtesy of the Alzheimer's Organization Alz.org

Lyn's symptoms match Alzheimer's; not any of the others.  Even the last evaluation from a neurologist is in agreement.  As a result, Mom asked Lyn's physician to change the diagnosis from dementia to Alzheimer's.  Her physician thought about it for a few minutes and then agreed, making the change right then.

This really doesn't change anything about Lyn's care.  It just makes the diagnosis as specific and as accurate as possible so that the whole team can speak to the real situation at hand.

2 comments:

  1. We ran into this tendency toward a "blanket diagnosis" upon my dad's passing...His family physician listed his cause of death as "Alzheimer's" when he was clearly suffering from vascular dementia and not Alzheimers. I found this distressing, because it keeps researchers from accurately studying the disease. We considered asking him to change it, but decided that Mom was going through enough distress as it was. We didn't want to add to it. I'm not sure that was the right decision...

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  2. Thank you for the comment, Sharon. I fully agree with you on the importance of the diagnosis being correct and the impact on researchers and their ability to identify who really dies of which dementia root cause. I can also understand the desire to not distress your Mother by pushing for the diagnosis to change.

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