When a person hears the word dementia, they often think of memory loss. While many people suffering from this condition experience memory loss and confusion, other symptoms come with the disease. In addition, dementia is actually an umbrella term. What does this mean, and why is it important? 

Understanding Dementia

The terms dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are often used interchangeably, but they differ in many ways. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for up to 80 percent of dementia cases today, but this is a specific form of the disease. As there are other types of dementia, the word dementia actually serves as an umbrella term. This means people use the word to describe a range of neurological, progressive disorders. Each disorder comes with its own symptoms and cause. As a result, each person with dementia experiences something different. However, most individuals can benefit from a memory care community when they have any form of this disease.

Four Main Types of Dementia

As previously mentioned, Alzheimer’s disease remains the most prevalent type of dementia. People with this form of dementia experience memory loss, language impairment, and deterioration of their visuospatial skills. In contrast, individuals with vascular dementia exhibit impaired judgment and motor skills. Frontotemporal dementia leads to personality changes and language difficulties. Hallucinations serve as a hallmark of Lewy body dementia, and the person may also show signs of impaired thinking. 

However, there is plenty of overlap when it comes to the symptoms of the different dementia types. For instance, individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and those with frontotemporal dementia often have language difficulties. Some symptoms remain unique to a certain type of dementia, but that is not the case with all. In addition, certain types of dementia can be reversed, such as dementia resulting from an undiagnosed thyroid condition. 

In addition, some people suffer from multiple types of dementia simultaneously. This makes it harder to determine what is going on with the individual. As a result, people need to know what signs to watch for in their loved ones. 

Symptoms to Watch For

Family members need to watch for certain symptoms of dementia in their loved ones. When they see one or more of these symptoms in a loved one, seek medical attention promptly. Individuals with dementia find it difficult to process new information and remember it. They become more forgetful at times and have other issues with their memory. Although everyone misplaces their keys at some time, when this happens regularly, it could serve as a sign something is wrong. 

A person who struggles to find the right words when having a conversation may have dementia and others may become lost in their thoughts when suffering from dementia. They may find it difficult to express an idea. In addition, any issues related to their mood or behavior become apparent. As a result, they may go into isolation. They don’t want to embarrass themselves in front of others, so they choose to stay alone. 

Dementia brings about cognitive decline. A person with this disease may have issues with time and place. They may get up right after going to bed, thinking they need to get up because they have somewhere to be. Many people with dementia will go for a walk in their neighborhood and get lost. They can’t find their way home and wander. 

Diagnosing Dementia

As dementia presents in a variety of ways, a person should see their doctor any time they develop new symptoms related to memory loss or confusion. Doctors, when they suspect a person has dementia, do a complete medical assessment. No one test diagnoses dementia, so patients may undergo several tests before receiving a diagnosis. 

However, doctors need to know all symptoms the patient experiences regularly because other medical conditions present with similar symptoms. A person or their loved ones should keep a log of symptoms, including how often each symptom occurs. This supplies the doctor with information critical to providing an accurate diagnosis. 

Older individuals don’t need to panic when they misplace their keys or forget a word in a conversation. People of all ages do these things at times. When the symptoms increase in frequency, however, it may be time to be seen by a doctor. The doctor rules out other medical conditions that can present with similar symptoms, such as a thyroid problem or nutritional deficiency. Once a diagnosis has been determined, treatment can begin. 

Although researchers have yet to find a cure for dementia, treatments remain available that may help with the symptoms. This gives family members more time with their loved ones before they can no longer communicate or engage with others. Learn more today about the umbrella of dementia and what every person needs to know today. 

About Orchard Park of Permian Basin:

Located in Odessa, Texas, Orchard Park of Permian Basin serves as home to seniors who wish to maintain their independence but need help in doing so. Residents remain empowered to live their lives as they choose. The community offers assisted living, independent living, and memory care options to meet the needs of all seniors, even as these needs change.