All You Need to Know About Dementia

Dementia is a general term for the symptoms of many brain diseases that eventually cause difficulty with tasks such as memory, thinking, and reasoning. It can affect someone’s ability to remember names, recognize family members, distinguish the passage of time and do everyday tasks such as cooking or shopping. You can hire a board certified family nurse practitioner in Falls Church, VA, to take proper care of yourself or your loved one who has dementia. 

What causes dementia?

Gradual changes in the brain usually cause dementia. A person’s ability to think and remember declines, and they may lose interest in things that were pleasurable in the past. They may not be able to think as clearly, manage their emotions, or communicate with others. People with dementia may experience many problems at once, but it is usually one type of thinking or behavioral problem that causes other symptoms.

More than 60% of dementia cases are related to Alzheimer’s disease — a progressive brain disorder. The rest is caused by vascular conditions such as strokes and post-traumatic head injury, Lewy bodies which can cause Parkinsonism, and frontotemporal lobar degeneration in younger people.

How does someone know if they have dementia? 

It can be challenging to know for sure because early signs may be subtle or easily overlooked. Some warning signs include: 

  1. Forgetfulness that disrupts daily life
  2. Difficulty completing everyday tasks at home, at work, or leisure
  3. Confusion with time or place
  4. Trouble in understanding spatial relationships and visual images 
  5. Problems with words in speaking or writing
  6. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
  7. Neglect of personal appearance and unkempt, unwashed appearance 
  8. Increasing confusion about situations and surroundings. 
  9. Someone who is having problems with memory and is not aware of it should be evaluated by a doctor. 

How can you treat dementia?

There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for dementia. Treatments vary depending on the particular symptoms someone is experiencing and a person’s age and overall health. Treatment can include medications, exercise, clinical trials, nursing homes or other residential care, counseling, or a combination of these methods. 

When caring for someone with dementia, it is essential to treat the symptom affecting the person’s quality of life first, rather than treating everything at once. This makes it relatively easy for you and your loved one to get used to the treatment plan. It will also help avoid overwhelming behaviors associated with confusion or panic caused by too many changes at once.

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