5 Illnesses Often Misdiagnosed in the Elderly

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Most Common Illnesses Misdiagnosed in Older Adults in Edmonton, AB

Many medical conditions can accelerate changes in a person’s body with age, making it more difficult for doctors to distinguish between an actual illness and the process of getting older. Here are some of the most commonly misdiagnosed illnesses among seniors. 

1. Delirium

This illness is often misdiagnosed as dementia. When the mental state of a senior is altered, he or she can become confused and experience a decrease in cognitive abilities, which many individuals and medical professionals associate with dementia. However, if your loved one has alcoholism, hormonal disorders, or certain types of infections, his or her mental state may be altered, leading to delirium. Speak to your loved one’s doctor about medications that could be causing delirium, and make sure your loved one follows a healthy diet, avoids alcohol, and stays physically fit. 

There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to address if their families opt for professional elder care. You can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep your loved one safe and comfortable while aging in place.

2. Migraines

Sometimes seniors are diagnosed with migraines accompanied by auras, but they’re actually experiencing strokes. This misdiagnosis occurs due to similar symptoms associated with migraines and strokes, such as seeing spots or light flashes and feeling a tingling sensation that travels up a limb. To prevent this misdiagnosis, your loved one should stop smoking, reduce his or her blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and have further testing done. 

3. Essential Tremors

These tremors are common among seniors but are often misdiagnosed as Parkinson’s disease. Essential tremors cause shakiness like Parkinson’s, but the tremors affect both sides of the body at the same time, unlike Parkinson’s. To prevent your loved one from being misdiagnosed, make sure his or her potassium levels are normal. Find out if your family has a history of this condition and let your loved one’s doctors and nurses know. If your loved one is being treated with haloperidol and chlorpromazine, these medications can cause essential tremors. Ask the doctor for alternative treatment options. 

Living with serious health conditions can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional live-in care. Edmonton seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.

4. Urinary Tract Infections

Some noted signs of Alzheimer’s disease might be present in seniors with urinary tract infections (UTIs). A UTI can exacerbate a variety of symptoms, including confusion and irritability, which may lead to a misdiagnosis. Seniors with UTIs may experience withdrawal and agitation, which are similar to symptoms in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. To prevent UTIs, your loved one should drink plenty of water and follow a healthy diet. 

5. Fibromyalgia

This condition is often mistaken for rheumatoid arthritis in seniors. The misdiagnosis occurs because both conditions affect the same joints in a similar way, causing pain, aches, and stiffness. However, seniors with fibromyalgia won’t experience the type of swelling associated with rheumatoid arthritis. To prevent fibromyalgia, your loved one can load up on vitamin D, avoid additives, reduce caffeine intake, and exercise regularly. 

Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional senior home care. Edmonton, AB, Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life. To schedule a free in-home consultation, give us a call at (780) 490-7337 today.

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