Dementia is the general term for a group of brain disorders that cause memory problems and make it hard to think clearly.
Symptoms of Dementia
What symptoms does dementia cause? The symptoms of dementia often start off very mild and get worse slowly. Symptoms can include:
- Forgetting all sorts of things
- Trouble with language (for example, not being able to find the right words for things)
- Trouble concentrating and reasoning
- Problems with tasks such as paying bills or balancing a checkbook
- Getting lost in familiar places
As Dementia gets worse, people might:
- Have episodes of anger or aggression
- See things that aren’t there or believe things that aren’t true
- Be unable to eat, bathe, dress, or do other everyday tasks
- Lose bladder and bowel control
Different Types of Dementia
What are the different kinds of dementia? The most common kinds include:
Alzheimer Disease – Alzheimer disease is the most common cause of dementia. It is a disorder in which brain cells slowly die over time.
Vascular Dementia – Vascular Dementia happens when parts of the brain do not get enough blood. This can happen when blood vessels in the brain get blocked with blood clots or damaged by high blood pressure or aging. This form of Dementia is most common among people who have had strokes or who are at risk for strokes.
Parkinson’s Disease Dementia – Parkinson disease is a brain disorder that affects movement. It causes trembling, stiffness, and slowness. As Parkinson disease gets worse, some people develop dementia.
Other causes of Dementia
Dementia can also happen if a person’s brain has been damaged. For example, having many head injuries can lead to Dementia.
Should I see a doctor or nurse? Yes, you should see a doctor or nurse if you think you or someone close to you is showing signs of Dementia. Sometimes memory loss and confusion are caused by medical problems other than dementia that can be treated. For example, people with diabetes sometimes show signs of confusion when their blood sugar is not under control.
During your first appointment, we will create a map of your brain, called a qEEG (Quantitative Electroencephalogram). You’ll see which areas of your brain have too little or too much activity and are the cause of your symptoms.
Using this Brain Map, we can determine where symptoms may be originating and develop an appropriate customized neurofeedback treatment protocol tailored to your symptoms. The goal of this evaluation is to identify the best way to improve your symptoms and reconnect you to your life.
Your doctor or nurse will decide which tests you should have based on your individual situation. Many people with signs of dementia do not need a brain scan. That’s because the tests that are most useful are the ones that look at how you answer questions and do certain tasks. Even so, your doctor might want to do a brain scan (either CT or MRI) to make sure that your symptoms are not caused by a problem unrelated to Dementia.
Treatment Plan for Dementia
How is dementia treated?
That depends on what kind of dementia you have. If you have Alzheimer’s Disease, there are medicines that might help some. If you have vascular dementia, your doctor will focus on keeping your blood pressure and cholesterol as close to normal as possible. Doing that can help reduce further damage to the brain.
Sadly, there really aren’t good treatments for most types of dementia. But doctors can sometimes treat troubling symptoms that come with dementia, such as depression or anxiety.
How do I stay safe with Dementia?
If you have dementia, you might not be aware of how much your condition affects you. Trust your family and friends to tell you when it is no longer safe for you to drive, cook, or do other things that could be dangerous.
Be aware, too, that people with dementia often fall and hurt themselves. To reduce the risk of falls, it’s a good idea to:
- Secure loose rugs or use non-skid backing on rugs
- Tuck away loose wires or electrical cords
- Wear sturdy, comfortable shoes
- Keep walkways well lit
Can dementia be prevented?
There are no proven ways to prevent dementia. But here are some things that seem to help keep the brain healthy:
- Physical activity
- A healthy diet
- Social interaction
**Over 5.8 million Americans live with Alzheimer’s disease, which represents up to 80% of Dementia.
Aamr Arif Herekar MD Neurology, in El Paso, Texas, provides thorough diagnosis and customized treatments for Dementia. With proper care, the Triple Board-Certified Neurologist, Dr. Herekar, can potentially slow or even stop the progression of your disease. Call Dr. Herekar today to schedule a consultation.
If you’re concerned about Dementia, call Aamr Arif Herekar MD Neurology to make an appointment today for comprehensive diagnosis and customized treatments to help you maintain your quality of life.
FAQs regarding Dementia
What is Dementia?
Dementia includes several diseases that cause abnormal brain changes that affect your cognitive function. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, followed by vascular dementia. Additionally, conditions like thyroid disease and vitamin deficiencies can also cause Dementia symptoms.
Dementia is typically a progressive illness, which means that your symptoms gradually worsen until they interfere with your ability to complete your daily activities or live independently.
What causes Dementia?
The precise cause of Dementia isn’t understood. Medical researchers know that brain cell death is associated with Dementia, but it’s not clear if brain cell death causes Dementia or vice versa.
Your genes may play a role in your risk of Dementia, and you can develop dementia as a long-term result of a traumatic brain injury like a concussion. You might also develop dementia after a stroke or if you have a tumor.
What are the early warning signs of Dementia?
Dementia often begins slowly, and you might not notice your symptoms right away. Your family might observe your symptoms before you do. Some of the early signs of dementia include:
- Not being able to think of a word
- Lost problem-solving skills
- Misplacing items like you keys or wallet
- Repeating stories
- Mood changes
Everyone experiences an occasional memory lapse or struggles to find the right word. If these problems persist or become worse, however, you should talk to a Neurologist like Dr. Herekar right away.
How is Dementia treated?
While there is no cure for Dementia, Dr. Herekar can provide treatments to slow or even stop the progression of your disease. He can prescribe medications such as cholinesterase inhibitors and NMDA receptor antagonists.
Additionally, he can help you adjust your diet and lifestyle to enhance your brain health and overall wellness. For example, ensuring you consume omega-3 fatty acids can strengthen your brain health. Also, occupational therapies or “brain training” can help you improve cognitive function and address forgetfulness in the early stages of dementia.