DEMENTIA - Watsons Health

DEMENTIA

Broad term which covers many different conditions:

  • Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia, and other disorders.
  • Simple forgetfulness is not enough to lead to a diagnosis of dementia.
    • Needs evidence of problems in at least two areas of brain function to confirm diagnosis.

Early signs:

  • Simple forgetfulness
  • Losing items
  • Problems performing tasks or activities that were previously done without effort
  • Difficulty with learning new material
    • One of the earliest signs

Upon progression of disease, these can be observed:

  • Behavioral changes
  • Difficulty performing basic tasks
    • Such as dressing up or using the bathroom
  • Forgetting of personal information
    • Such as address, telephone number, or date of birth
  • Difficulty understanding what is happening around oneself
  • Forgetting to eat
    • Resulting to pronounced weight loss

Late stages:

  • Cannot recognize family members
  • Marked problem in communication
  • Require help for activities of daily living
  • Unable to walk or sit up

DIAGNOSIS

  • Physician may do/request:
    • History & Physical Exam
    • In-office screening assessments
    • Blood testing and imaging studies
      • To confirm reversible conditions such as thyroid disease or certain vitamin deficiencies are not present

 

RECOMMENDED MEDICATIONS

  • Treatment options are limited.
  • Medications to improve symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease
    • Limited effect
  • Physical exercise
  • Social participation
  • No treatment to reverse Alzheimer’s

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