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Understanding Dementia and Alzheimer’s

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According to Wikipedia, dementia is a broad category of brain diseases which cause long term loss of the ability to think and reason clearly which can severely affect a person’s daily function. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementiaAlzheimer’s is a disease, dementia is a broad spectrum term used to describe various symptoms, not limited to just Alzheimer’s.

The symptoms of dementia are generally associated with memory loss and other thinking skills which are critical for a person being able to function in their day to day life. Although 60-80 percent of patients with dementia are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, there are other forms of dementia such as vascular dementia which can occur after a person suffers from a stroke. There is no cure for Alzheimer’s but there are some forms of dementia that can be treated, such as dementia that is caused by medication side effects, thyroid problems, depression, and excessive use of alcohol.

Often times someone suffering from dementia is not aware they are exhibiting any symptoms; so friends, family, and loved ones are a great resource for health care professionals to interview. They can share information about the individual’s erratic behavior and also observe any characteristic changes associated with dementia.

There is no single way to diagnose dementia or Alzheimer’s other than having a post-mortem examination of brain tissue. Individuals can be evaluated by a health care professional, who would administer a medical evaluation including:

  • Complete medical history
  • Physical examination
  • Electrocardiogram
  • Mental and neurological status assessment tests
  • Blood analysis
  • Urine analysis

Scientists have determined the cause of dementia which leads to Alzheimer’s starts in the brain, usually in the hippocampus, which is where the formation of new memory occurs. The human brain consists of billions of neurons which are the brain’s communication cells. When the cells associated with dementia are unable to do their job, it affects one’s ability to think, learn and remember. As Alzheimer’s progresses through other parts of the brain, an individual’s symptoms will become increasingly more severe. The symptoms of dementia leading to Alzheimer’s are progressive and irreversible.

There are a wide variety of symptoms associated with dementia. The most common early stage indications are:

  • Short term memory loss
  • Difficulty with communication and language skills
  • Unfounded fears about family and care givers
  • Inability to focus or pay attention for a long period of time
  • Impaired visual perception
  • Impaired judgment
  • Reasoning skills

If you or a loved one is suffering from symptoms of dementia or has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, it is important to have a care facility that understands each patient suffers from different symptoms and behaviors. Therefore, it is important to preserve the dignity of an individual while providing individualized care. At The Abri Memory Care Center at Senior Care Centers, the Abri Memory Care Team provides a safe refuge which is familiar and soothing to individuals. Our specialized nurses and therapists encourage our patients to enjoy stimulating daily routines and build friendships with other residents.

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