Monday, February 6, 2012
What kind of dementia?
They recommend that a family gets an early diagnosis of dementia.
In my experience, these symptoms are ones that caregivers or care recipients ignore or avoid. My late father, for example, had trouble while driving, and couldn't find his street while trying to drive home. He told his doctor, and I don't know if he told my mother. I certainly didn't know, and yet this is such a flag for dementia. Dad's dementia was the result of a brain tumour.
It is important to have an early diagnosis, cognition test, perhaps a neuropsychologist. Our GPs do not have all of the training and information they need to provide treatment and care.
Most dementia is progressive and irreversible, but there are medications and exercises that will help with quality of life.
Vascular dementia - whereby blood does not get to the brain due to strokes, or plaques that build up.
Dementia with Lewy Bodies - related to Alzheimer's Disease and Parkinson's Diesease, has abnormal proteins that develop within nerve cells.
We know how diseases like these progress. Many live a long time with dementia that clouds thinking, causes a loss of insight, reasoning skills, higher thinking skills like math, temporal relations, or affects social behaviours.
Families need to learn all they can. Support groups will help a great deal.