Overview

Dementia is a condition concerning memory, reasoning and judgment impairment. There are no specific dementia causes, but age is the number one risk factor. While this condition is common in seniors, it is not a standard sign of age — many people live their whole lives without facing it. However, knowing the early signs of dementia is essential for recognizing this disorder and treating it appropriately.

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Types of Dementia

There are several types of dementia, and each one is linked to different affected parts of the brain:

  • Alzheimer’s disease: This prevalent condition is caused by large buildups of amyloid plaques in the brain and accounts for 60% to 80% of dementia cases.
  • Frontotemporal dementia: Frontotemporal dementia is rare and affects individuals younger than 60. It is caused by abnormal amounts of tau and TDP-43 proteins in the frontotemporal area of the brain.
  • Lewy body dementia: This common type of dementia is caused by unusual amounts of Lewy body proteins in the brain.
  • Vascular dementia: Damaged blood vessels and restricted oxygen or blood flow to the brain due to strokes cause this type of dementia.
  • Mixed dementia: Sometimes, a person can suffer from one or more types of dementia. In these cases, one form influences another, such as Alzheimer’s initiating vascular dementia.

There are also conditions, such as alcohol-induced “dementia,” that resemble the disorder and result from brain damage. Learn more about dementia risk factors.

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Stages of Dementia

Every type of dementia is progressive and follows a similar structure.

Many people in the early stage of dementia do not see many outward symptoms of the condition. Early dementia symptoms include an occasional slip-up of word usage, disorientation or forgetting where they placed something without being able to retrace their steps. A great way to assist someone in this stage is to complete tasks with them, not for them. This will help them develop a routine to keep their independence for as long as possible.

The symptoms of dementia start to become more apparent in the middle stage. Memory loss and thinking will worsen, making it harder for the person to recognize family or friends. They may now need frequent reminders and assistance with daily tasks like taking a bath or changing their clothes. Delusions and hallucinations are also strong indicators that an individual has moved into the middle stage of dementia.

The late stage of dementia requires the person to become entirely dependent on a caregiver. At this stage, it isn’t safe for the dementia patient to be alone, as they may wander off or not be able to feed themselves properly. As the condition progresses, they may struggle to walk or sit up on their own. This stage is usually the shortest of the three, lasting around two years.

Dementia Diagnosis and Treatment

Dementia Diagnosis and Treatment

Dementia Diagnosis and Treatment

Dementia is diagnosed in the early stages with an MRI or PET scan. On top of analyzing the scan results, doctors will likely perform physical and mental tests to track any future changes. Doctors can determine the best route for treatment based on these results.

Some typical treatments that slow the progression of the condition include medications, sensory activities and physical activity.

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Other common neurological conditions.

Dementia Treatment at Advanced Medical Care

If you or a loved one are interested in receiving treatment for dementia, contact Advanced Medical Care today to schedule an appointment. Our neurologists are here to help you and provide quality dementia care.

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