Dementia Treatment

What is dementia?

elderly couple chatting and smiling outdoors

Dementia describes a set of symptoms involving memory, thinking, language, problem-solving, and social abilities in a way that disrupts the ability to function on a daily basis.

What are the symptoms of dementia?

Symptoms of dementia are usually found in patients of 65 years and over. Common symptoms of dementia include the following:

● Memory loss.
● Confusion and disorientation.
● Difficulty in concentrating.
● Trouble in communicating.
● Difficulty in controlling moods and behaviour.
● Impairment of problem-solving skills.
● Poor judgement.

What causes dementia?

Dementia is due to damage of nerve cells in the brain as a result of different diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s disease. Dementia can also be caused by infections as well as head injuries, strokes, drugs, or nutritional deficiencies.

Enquire with our neurologists.

Did you know?

A recent article discusses the fact that clinicians treating behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) in older adults should consider the patients’ age and cognitive impairment, and be cognizant of their caregivers’ burden.¹

What are the possible complications of dementia?

Possible complications of dementia may include the following:

● Inability to function or care for self.
● Inability to interact with others.
● Depression.
● Incontinence.
● Infections in the body.
● Difficulty in swallowing.
● Reduced lifespan.

When should I or my loved one see a specialist for dementia?

Most patients experiencing symptoms of dementia are unaware of any potential problem. It is often a friend or relative who accompanies them to an appointment with a health professional to screen for dementia. If your loved one is suffering from any of the following symptoms, it is recommended to visit a neurologist for a professional diagnosis and opinion.

● Short-term memory.
● Behavioural changes.
● Mood swings.
● Lack of independence and autonomy.
● Difficulty in finding words.
● Persistent confusion.
● Disregard for personal hygiene.
● Persistent poor judgement.

Early intervention is always the best response to medical conditions. You or your loved one will be given the best treatment and care once a diagnosis is confirmed.

How should I or my loved one prepare for the appointment?

Prior to an initial appointment to discuss a potential diagnosis of dementia, it is important to prepare yourself or your loved one to bring the following information:

● A list of medications.
● A complete medical history.
● Detailed information on the current symptoms and how long they are have been present.
● A list of questions or concerns.

Your neurologist will take a careful history and request information on the current symptoms, before performing a physical examination. Blood tests and cognitive tests are likely to be ordered too.

How do specialists diagnose dementia?

Neurologists diagnose dementia with the help of cognitive and neuropsychological tests, brain scans (CT, MRI, or PET scans), a neurological evaluation, laboratory tests (blood or spinal fluid), and a psychiatric evaluation (mental health).

What treatments are available for dementia?

There is currently no cure for dementia. Early diagnosis and treatment may help to slow symptoms but not necessarily the progression of the disease. There are some medications that temporarily improve the symptoms of dementia. Your specialist will discuss the available options in detail and advise you on the best course of action.

Request an appointment with a neurologist today.

References:

[1] Vaingankar JA, Chong SA, Abdin E, Picco L, Jeyagurunathan A, Seow E, Ng LL, Prince M, Subramaniam M. Behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia: prevalence, symptom groups and their correlates in community-based older adults with dementia in Singapore. Int Psychogeriatr. 2017 Aug;29(8):1363-1376. doi:10.1017/S1041610217000564.