Dementia is a broad term that can include many different types of dementia. What all dementias have in common is that they are serious forms of cognitive impairment that impact 2 or more brain functions. For example, a person with dementia may have trouble with memory loss and muscle motor skills, or they may have issues with decision making and behavior. One single symptom, for example ,memory loss, does not equal dementia.
In a way, yes. Alzheimer's disease is one type of dementia, and in fact is one of the most common forms of dementia seen today. Not all people with dementia have that specific type of dementia.
Physical examinations, memory testing, and brain imaging are all common ways to form a dementia diagnosis. Only a neurologist should make a dementia diagnosis, as this type of doctor has the most specific training in the function of the brain.
Although there may be certain genes that predispose a person to dementia, in the great majority of all dementia cases genetics does not serve as the sole explanation for the development of dementia. The biggest risk factor for dementia is age. As a person gets older, and particularly as they enter their geriatric years, the chance of dementia increases. It is possible that factors like obesity and the presence of diabetes may impact the development of dementia, as well.
It is different for every person. In some people, the development is rapid, but in many people, dementia reveals itself more slowly. People who are in the later stages of dementia may often still have "good days" and "bad days," for example. The focus of treatment is to try to keep the good days as numerous as possible through medications and other treatments as necessary.
At Progressive Neurology & Sleep Medicine Associates, we accept the majority of private health insurance plans, as well as IEHP and most HMO's in our service area. Please call our office if you do not see your plan listed.
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