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How Do Neurologists Diagnose Dementia?

What Is Dementia?

Dementia is a general term that describes a constellation of symptoms affecting cognitive ability. People who suffer from dementia have a variety of different impairments in memory, thinking, and social skills that are serious enough to cause problems with day to day life.

Dementia becomes more likely with age. Mild variants of some dementia symptoms might be noticeable in older people who do not have dementia. However, dementia should not be thought of as “a normal part of aging.” It is a condition that requires care.

What Causes Dementia?

A wide range of issues can cause dementia. Although elders are at greatest risk, people at any age can develop dementia as the result of traumatic brain injury (TBI) as well as certain infections. However, these make up a relatively small percentage of dementia cases.

When people talk about dementia, they are most often referring to progressive dementia.

Progressive dementia describes any type of dementia that gradually gets worse and cannot be reversed. Symptoms can be managed, but not cured. In many cases, the patient will eventually pass away from the disorder causing the dementia or from related complications.

Most cases of dementia are accounted for by the following disorders:

Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia for people aged 65 and older. The cause is not known. However, recent research has shown that plaques of protein developing in the brain inhibit neural function and contribute to Alzheimer’s development.

Vascular Dementia

Vascular dementia is the second most common type of dementia. It occurs as a result of damage to the key blood vessels needed to provide blood to the brain. Vascular dementia may be caused by stroke or a wide range of other issues that target the vascular system.

Lewy Body Dementia

Lewy bodies are abnormal clumps of protein that characteristically appear in people with this condition. Lewy bodies are also associated with Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Thinking, movement, mood, and behavior can all be affected.

Frontotemporal Dementia

Though different brain functions are distributed all throughout its mass, the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain are most associated with a person’s usual behavior and language skills. In this form of dementia, these two vital areas of the brain break down.

Mixed Dementia

Mixed dementia describes a type of dementia, most common in people over the age of 80, that combines signs of Alzheimer’s disease, lewy body dementia, and vascular dementia. It is a subject of considerable research in dementia treatment.

Symptoms of Dementia

Dementia causes a number of cognitive and behavioral symptoms. These symptoms can limit sufferers’ independence and even put them in danger. Many people experiencing dementia are aware of the symptoms and may try to conceal them, either to preserve their independence or ensure that loved ones “do not worry.” However, some are unaware of the symptoms entirely.

Key symptoms of dementia include:

In addition, many people exhibit personality changes noticeable to friends and family.

Treatment for Dementia

Although dementia cannot be cured, symptoms can be managed to improve quality of life. Cognition-enhancing medication can help, as can a program of occupational or rehabilitative therapy that preserves the skills eroded by dementia. The earlier treatment begins, the more effective it will be.

To find out more, contact Complete Neurological Care today.

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