Dementia itself is not actually a disease, but rather a description of a wide range of conditions in which a person’s memory and mental sharpness decline. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for the majority of these cases, followed by vascular dementia, which occasionally occurs after a stroke.
If a loved one is experience memory loss, you might immediately think it’s dementia. Generally, a person needs to have problems with at least two contributing issues before a diagnosis can be made. These include, memory, communication and language, the ability to focus and pay attention, reasoning and judgment, and visual perception.
Often the signs are subtle and gradually increase over time. At first, a person struggling with dementia can remember things from the past, but not what they had for lunch, or whether or not they took their morning medication.
Other early signs include a struggle to find the right words, a failing sense of direction, changes in mood, confusion and repeating the same sentence or question over and over.
It’s time to see a doctor when these symptoms start to arise. There are some treatable medical conditions that can cause dementia symptoms so it’s important to get a physician’s diagnosis.
Again, keep in mind that some form of memory loss is expected as we age and is not necessarily a sign of dementia. Discuss the symptoms with a physician to see if your loved one’s memory issues are a form of dementia, or something else that may be reversed.
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