Contrary to popular belief, dementia doesn’t refer to a single disease. Thus, the question is, what is dementia? It is a general term that covers a myriad of specific conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. When the common term dementia is used, then it refers to diseases or conditions that are brought about by abnormal brain changes.
The changes that occur in the brain affect communication, memory, and thinking.
Dementia for a long time has been incorrectly known as senile dementia or senility. This term was misused to refer to the wrong belief that as we age, severe mental decline follows. The correct diagnosis will ensure that you or your loved one gets the right primary care physician near you.
Dementia occurs when you experience brain cell death and progressive cell death that comes with neurodegenerative diseases. However, what is not known for sure is if the death of the brain cells causes dementia or vice versa.
Although other conditions can cause progressive brain cell death, these are the instances seen in Alzheimer’s disease where dementia is caused by a stroke, head injury, or even a brain tumor.
Other factors that can lead to dementia are:
The different types of dementia are associated with specific types of brain cell damage in particular areas of the brain. The damage to the brain cells affects their communication with each other. This is what causes the cognitive and behavioral changes associated with dementia.
There are different types of dementia, including:
The symptoms listed below happens primarily because of memory loss. Possible symptoms include:
There isn’t a clear cut test that is used to determine whether you have dementia or not. Our doctors diagnose dementia using your medical history, laboratory tests, physical examination, and changes in thinking.
But if you have dementia, our doctors will quickly determine that, but the exact type will take a bit of time. This is because symptoms always overlap.
The cause of dementia will help determine the care or treatment to be used. It is important to note that in progressive dementias, like Lewy body dementia or Alzheimer’s, there is no cure yet. There are no known treatments that can stop or slow the progression of the degenerative dementias.
However, if reversible factors cause the symptoms of brain cell damage, then treatment may help stop further brain cell death.
The medication that exists right now can only improve the symptoms but not cure. For example, vascular dementia treatment revolves around reducing blood pressure and your cholesterol level. Also, preventing blood clots and keeping your blood vessels clear is part of the treatment.
In most cases, it is vital to look for a primary care physician near you because dementia can take a toll on an untrained caregiver. Trained physicians in Germantown Primary Health Care will try different approaches like:
Dementia is a stressful disease and can change the mood around the home. Do not walk alone; contact a primary care physician near you.