Dementia is a condition in which there is a disturbance in memory functions and cognition of a person which severely affects the daily life. Its most common cause is Alzheimer’s disease. A lot of other diseases can also cause dementia. Symptoms can be reversed in some conditions.
- Loss of memory
- Unable to solve problems or give reasons
- Unable to speak or communicate.
- Unable to recognize the area or surroundings; spatial abilities affected
- Disorientation and confusion
- Unable to handle difficult task
- Changes in personality
- Having hallucinations
- Depressive mood
The main cause of dementia is the damage to brain and nerve cell connections. The symptoms occurring in dementia mainly depend on the area in which the damage has occurred. Dementias can be progressive in some cases such as in Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, Lewy-body dementia, Front -temporal dementia, Mixed dementia
- Neuropsychological and cognitive tests
- Neurological evaluation: to check memory, attentiveness, speech, reflexes and other neurological functions
- Scans: Brain MRI and PET scans
- Lab tests: thyroid profiles, vitamin B12, sometimes spinal fluid examination too.
- Psychiatric evaluation
Most types of dementia can’t be cured, but there are ways to manage your symptoms.
The following are used to temporarily improve dementia symptoms.
- Cholinesterase inhibitors: rivastigmine (Exelon), donepezil (Aricept) and galantamine (Razadyne)
- Other medications: Depression, parkinsonism, sleep disturbances, agitation or hallucinations.
- Environment modification
- Occupational therapy: to prevent accidents, helps in improving the symptoms and prepares for worsening of the symptoms.
- Simplifying tasks.
Lifestyle and home remedies
- Increase exercise
- Increase communication using gestures and simple sentences.
- Improve night time routine; avoid caffeine, keep the lights on to prevent spatial disorientation, avoid television.
- Increase activities.