Seniors can develop rare diseases because of compromised immune systems, while other rare disorders have genetic causes. However, the reasons often remain unknown. Early diagnoses and precautionary measures can help seniors address these uncommon medical conditions.
1. Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease
This extremely rare disease tends to occur in small geographic regions once every few years. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is a degenerative brain disorder that causes dementia. Its symptoms are similar to those that occur with other dementia-like disorders, such as Alzheimer’s, but Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease typically progresses much more quickly.
While doctors aren’t exactly sure what causes Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, there’s evidence suggesting it results from exposure to abnormal versions of a normally harmless type of protein called a prion. When prions are deformed, they can become infectious and damage normal biological processes. Some doctors believe exposure to these misshapen prions occurs when people come into contact with infected tissue during transplants. Seniors who have had living tissue transplants within the last five years and are experiencing symptoms similar to dementia should speak with their doctors about being tested for this disease.
Caring for a senior with dementia can be challenging for family caregivers. Luckily, there is dementia care Orlando families can rely on. Professional dementia caregivers help seniors with dementia stay safe and comfortable at home by preventing wandering, providing cognitive stimulation, and assisting with household chores.
2. Fabry Disease
Anyone who has a family history of renal or enzyme disorders should be tested for this disease once every few years. When it’s caught early, many seniors can be treated with enzyme replacement therapy. Common symptoms include skin rashes, stomach cramping, sparse hair growth, and general weakness. While some people develop this condition as young adults, it’s typically not diagnosed until much later in life.
3. Stiff Person Syndrome
Also referred to as stiff man syndrome, this autoimmune disorder is very similar to fibromyalgia and lupus. When left untreated, it can produce many unusual side effects, ranging from seizures to irritable bowel syndrome. Some preliminary studies have led doctors to believe stiff person syndrome might be caused by infections, such as tetanus. The side effects of stiff person syndrome can often be treated with a mixture of antidepressants, anticonvulsants, painkillers, and muscle relaxers.
If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Prestige Home Care Orlando, a leading provider of homecare services families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
4. Corticobasal Degeneration (CBD)
Corticobasal degeneration causes certain areas of the brain to shrink and leads to the degeneration and death of nerve cells. Specifically, the disease impacts the region of the brain that processes information and the structures in the brain that govern movement, causing increasing difficulty with moving one or both sides of the body.
The symptoms of this disease vary greatly, which makes it extremely difficult to diagnose. As is the case with dementia, researchers now believe CBD might be caused by certain webs of proteins that eventually starve and kill brain cells. Seniors who are diagnosed with CBD must undergo extensive testing before comprehensive treatment plans can be developed. Most treatments include a mixture of physical therapy, pain medication, and speech therapy.
If your elderly loved one needs help maintaining a high quality of life while aging in place, reach out to Prestige Home Care Orlando, a trusted provider of Orlando home care. Our caregivers provide transportation to and from medical appointments and social events, nutritious meal preparation, assistance with daily exercise, and help with everyday tasks like bathing, grooming, and light housekeeping. Call us at (407) 604-0504 to learn about our comprehensive in-home care plans.