What is Dementia?
Dementia is an overall term that is used to describe several forms of the disease in addition to the signs and symptoms of the disease. Dementia is generally characterized in three stages from mild, moderate and severe. Due to the disease declining and its long lasting severity an individual will require 24 hour care.
Dementia is a decline: being able to perform everyday living skills of bathing, dressing, personal hygiene, toileting, eating and in addition to being able to perform simply tasks of housework, cleaning shopping medication management, personal finances and transportation.
The most common form of Dementia is Alzheimer's disease. However there are several other forms of Dementia: Lewy Bodies, Vascular Dementia, Parkinson's Dementia, Frontotemporal Dementia, Huntingtons' Disease, Korsakoff Syndrome and Down Syndrome.
In most, Dementia's the most difficult to manage and reason with is when the develops aggressive or repetitive behavior. Generally when the individuals behavior becomes problematic families will speak with the individuals primary care physician (PCP) and they may prescribe medication to address the aggressive behavior.
In 2013, 5,000,000 Americans older than 65 have Alzheimer's. in 2025 an estimated 7,100,000 of Americans order than 65 will have Alzheimer's. Alzheimer's accounts for between 50% and 70% of all cases of Dementia.
Early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer's Dementia:
- Memory loss that disrupts daily life.
- Challenges in planning or solving problems
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or a leisure
- Confusion with time or place
- Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
- New problems with words in speaking or writing
- Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
- Decreased or poor judgment
- Withdrawal from work or social activities
- Changes in mood and personality
The top 3 that are present in Dementia are:
- Clear evidence of decline in memory and learning and at least one other cognitive domain
- Steadily progressive, gradual decline in cognition without extended plateaus
- No evidence of mixed etiology
Diagnosis of Dementia:
- Generally diagnosed by a professional, such as PCP or a Geriatrician
- PCP/Geriatrician may discuss with the patient to see treatment and information from a Neurologist
- In the event that the patient is experiencing behavioral issues (e.g..: hallucinations, delusions, depression, apathy, agitation, aggression, pacing, wandering and sleep disturbances) the Neurologist may encourage the patient to see a psychiatrist
- The psychiatrist may prescribe an antipsychotic to decrease the patient's behavior symptoms.
The progression of Dementia declines gradually slow. Its on average that from diagnosis to death is roughly 10 years.