Dementia itself is not a single disorder as much as it is a grouping of symptoms that affect your day-to-day living and ability to function. When most people think dementia they usually think of Alzheimer’s disorder, which is one of the most extreme forms of dementia and unfortunately one of the most common. However, dementia is not always Alzheimer’s disorder.
When you begin your search for dementia information you will discover that there are many different categories of dementia. And while Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia, there are other kinds such as vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia or lewd body dementia. Another form of dementia is early cognitive impairment, which is the stage in between symptoms of growing old and having senior moments and full-blown dementia itself. The most common symptom for all of these disorders however, is memory loss, which eventually progresses to the inability to function without assistance and impacts a person’s ability in day-to-day living.
Memory loss can start with small things such as forgetting where you put your wallet and finding it in another location. This is usually one of the first red flags your doctor will look for to decipher between having a senior moment and being forgetful and experiencing the symptoms of dementia.
Memory loss can also show itself when the person can’t remember their train of thought in the middle of the sentence, or mixes up words, or even forgets common words or the names of people they should know like a spouse.
Other symptoms that your doctor will look for include confusion, a change in personality and social habits and withdrawing from activities and people. Sometimes the symptoms can mirror depression or even indicate a problem with the current medication that you were on.
In order to clearly distinguish between dementia and other disorders that can sometimes mimic dementia, it’s important to have all of your dementia information and clearly understand the symptoms.
As dementia progresses, the person who is experiencing this disorder will develop a personality changes that can include becoming paranoid, agitated, or even sad. People with this disorder can hallucinate, and coupled with their confusion can become violent, biting and kicking at caregivers.
Getting dementia information is a valuable first step towards understanding the symptoms of dementia in contrast to simply having a few senior moments. The most distinguishing line early onset dementia as opposed to just having an occasional senior moment will be the consistency and progression that you will see with dementia.
If you suspect a loved one has dementia talk to their doctor and make an appointment for a complete medical exam. Bring all of their medications so that their doctor can ensure that they are not having any medication interactions that could be causing their symptoms.
Early diagnosis is vital to help your loved one plan and to anticipate what is coming. There is no cure for dementia but ignoring it won’t make it go away.