There are some misconceptions about dementia. It is often referred to as a specific disease, but in reality, it is not one disease but an overarching term that covers many conditions.
What is Dementia?
Dementia is a general term that covers when an individual has abnormal changes to the brain.
These changes cause various symptoms such as memory loss, inability to solve problems, and difficulty with other thinking.
These difficulties begin to interfere with daily life. These changes can impact feelings and behaviours, which has implications for relationships.
What are the Symptoms of Dementia?
There are many different signs of dementia, but some of the more common ones are short term memory problems, paying bills on time, meal planning and preparation, and keeping track of items like wallets or keys.
The symptoms tend to be progressive and start slowly and then begin to get worse. If you or someone you love begins to have some of these problems, you should not ignore them and visit a doctor.
While who cannot stop dementia, early diagnosis and treatment may maximize life and make plans for the future.
What are the Causes of Dementia?
When someone is diagnosed with dementia, it means that there has been damage to the brain cells.
The damage to the brain causes interference, and the brain cells cannot talk to each other in a way that they should be able to.
This damage impacts that area of the brain that controls feelings, behaviours, and overall feelings.
How is Dementia Diagnosed?
The most conclusive way to diagnose dementia is by performing an autopsy and studying the brain of someone deceased. For someone that is living, there are many parts to diagnosing dementia.
It is a series of determinations that lead to this diagnosis. A doctor will first determine if any treatable conditions are occurring that may cause some of the symptoms. A person may have a thyroid that is not functioning.
Usually, that is causing cognitive problems. There may also be a vitamin deficiency causing the symptoms.
Medical history and determining if there is dementia in the family is incredibly important to making this diagnosis. This allows the doctor to choose if any current medications are causing the symptoms worse.
A doctor should perform a physical exam to detect any of the signs that may not be noticeable. The doctor can assess balance, reflexes, senses, and other cognitive functions to identify what is happening.
A doctor may test an individual’s blood and body fluids to check hormone, chemical, and vitamin levels to see if any are off. A brain scan may be performed to determine if there are any tumours or to see if the person suffered from a stroke.
Both of these can cause dementia or dementia-like symptoms. A doctor may prescribe genetic and psychiatric evaluations to rule out depression or some other mental health condition that may be causing some of the symptoms.