Answering Dementia Questions with Diane Carbo

Registered nurse, Diane Carbo, answers the many questions that arise about dementia before or after a diagnosis.

Diane has been actively involved in the healthcare field for more than 37 years and offers her experience and expertise to answer any questions about dementia. From causes of dementia, symptoms, signs and more, Diane will help you understand what dementia is. Read more about Diane>>

Have a question for Diane about dementia? Leave your name, email and question below and she will answer it for you!

To speak to a Care Advisor about dementia care, call (888) 508-7928. We offer a free service to families that are looking for senior care, including dementia care, and will work with you to find the best senior care community that meets your needs.

Walter- Burlington, Vermont

Q: Is Alzheimer’s fatal?

Diane Carbo

A: Yes.  Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive and terminal condition. From the time of diagnosis until death can be from 4 years to as long as 20 years. There presently is no cure for this condition. No one survives Alzheimer’s disease. This is a condition that slowly robs an individual of his or her ability to remember, function in everyday life, and lose bodily functions.

Anne- Buffalo, New York

Q: What causes dementia in the elderly?

Diane Carbo

A: Dementia is a medical term that describes symptoms that affect the intellectual, emotional and social ability of an individual to interfere with everyday functioning. There are many causes of dementia-like symptoms. These causes can range from reactions to medications, changes in the brain due to aging or disease, trauma to the brain, and vitamin or nutritional deficiencies.  Infections, immune disorders, endocrine abnormalities, metabolic disorders, alcohol abuse, and lack of oxygen to the brain from heart and lung problems are all possible causes of dementia in the elderly.

Debbie- Chicago, Illinois

Q: Is dementia hereditary?

Diane Carbo

A: There are many different types of dementia, each has a different cause.  It is not known what causes most dementias. There are some dementias that may be inherited, such as Huntington’s disease. Many believe that Alzheimer’s is inherited, but that is not proven. The chance of developing Alzheimer’s appears to increase with age. There are three genes (APP, PS1, PS2) discovered over a hundred years ago, that when present indicate a form of early onset dementia.   Fronto temporal lobe dementia, or Pick’s disease, is found to have a strong familial connection. This dementia affects most individuals before the age of 65.

Susan- Austin, Texas

Q: What is dementia-related psychosis?

Diane Carbo

A: Psychosis in dementia usually occurs in the later stages of dementia. An individual experiencing dementia psychosis has a distorted view of his or her reality. A person may experience seeing or hearing things that are not there. These are hallucinations. Other individuals may develop false beliefs that they feel are true. These are delusions.

Ed- Richmond, Virginia

Q: How is dementia diagnosed?

Diane Carbo

A: Dementia has many causes so it is important to get a comprehensive evaluation for an accurate diagnosis. A complete physical and medical history and neurological evaluation, as well as neuropsychological and cognitive tests will be completed over a few visits. X-rays, brain scans, and blood tests to rule out other disorders will also be done. These tests will determine if dementia is present, how severe the condition is, which part of the brain is affected, and the underlying cause of the dementia.