Most people experience memory loss during the aging process.
However, dementia, a more severe form of thought-process changes and memory loss, is not a natural part of aging. Dementia has many causes, but Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of the condition.
While dementia and Alzheimer’s disease cannot be cured, treatment can help minimize symptoms.
Signs of dementia can vary widely. Some situations that suggest you or a loved one might benefit from treatment include:
Memory loss that affects your day-to-day activities
Difficulty reasoning or problem solving
Confusion and disorientation
Difficulty with coordination or motor functions
Dementia can involve more than just memory loss. Psychiatric symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, agitation and apathy are common.
At Eappen Clinic, we will collaborate with you and your family members to establish a tailored treatment plan to help lessen your or your loved one’s dementia symptoms.
What is dementia?
Dementia isn’t a specific disease, but a group of symptoms that affect memory, thinking and social abilities. Several diseases can cause dementia, with the most common being Alzheimer’s disease.
There are some medications and other health conditions that can cause dementia-like symptoms as well. Depending on the cause, some dementia symptoms may be reversible.
It’s important to note that there are normal age-related changes to cognition (your ability to think, perceive, and remember) that are not signs of dementia. Some people have slower reactions as they age. Others might not be able to learn a new skill as quickly. But that might not indicate dementia.
Only a medical professional can truly determine when forgetfulness and other cognitive symptoms are actually signs of dementia.
In its latest stages, dementia can cause a person to become unaware of their surroundings, including their current location, the time, or the identities of the people around them. Some people might lose the ability to walk on their own, or become aggressive toward others.
Who gets dementia?
Dementia is most common in older adults. Your risk for dementia rises as you age, especially after age 65. Having a family history of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease can raise your risk as well.
About 50 million people worldwide have dementia, with nearly 60% of those living in low- and middle-income countries. Every year, there are nearly 10 million people diagnosed with dementia.
Somewhere between 5% and 8% of adults have the condition, including a small number of people under the age of 65. The total number of people with dementia is expected to reach 82 million in 2030 and 152 million by 2050, according to the World Health Organization.
How is dementia treated?
If dementia is caused by a medication or infection, it can be easily treated by removing the culprit medication or treating the underlying infection.
Dementia can be addressed with techniques like the DICE approach (describe, investigate, create, evaluate). This approach takes many things into account and attempts to improve the dementia patient’s environment as well as the steps caregivers and medical professionals can take to support well-being.
Some medicines have been used to help delay symptoms of dementia.
Some of the main goals for dementia care are:
- optimizing physical health, cognition, activity and well-being
- identifying and treating accompanying physical illness
- detecting and treating other behavioral health conditions
Should I or my loved one get treatment for dementia?
Dementia not caused by a medication, infection or illness cannot be cured, but symptoms such as insomnia, wandering, social inappropriateness, aggression, hallucinations, depression and anxiety can be addressed with psychiatric treatment.
If you or your loved one’s life is impacted by dementia symptoms, you should consider evaluation and treatment as early as possible to help delay a potential decline in well-being.
At Eappen Clinic, we understand dementia symptoms can be scary and confusing. Our team will work with you and/or your loved one to understand the symptoms and decide on a positive path forward.
Your first appointment with us is a detailed evaluation. At the end of the appointment, you’ll know the next steps.