Dementia is a group of symptoms that are associated with a decline in thinking, reasoning, and/or remembering. If someone has dementia, they may have difficulty carrying out daily tasks they have performed routinely and independently throughout their lives. Dementia affects executive functions, judgement skills besides memory. The two most common types of dementia are Alzheimer's dementia and vascular dementia. There are many more kinds associated with other physical symptoms.
Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia. It leads to memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, personality changes, disorientation and the inability to communicate. Dementia usually occurs in the mid to later stages of Alzheimer’s disease.
To find out what is causing dementia symptoms, we do a neurological and physical exam. We order blood test to rule out infections, vitamin deficiencies and other autoimmune or inflammatory disorders. We do a brain MRI to rule out tumors, masses, strokes and look for atropy in the brain. We also order PET scan to look for metabolism of the brain. The best way to accurately diagnose these patients is neuro-psychological testing. It evaluates memory, attention, mood, executive functions and differentiates different kinds of dementias. Doctors often can accurately diagnose the dementia symptoms in 90 percent of cases after these tests completed. There are treatments available with medications, supplements and cognitive rehab. We have a program with offer in our clinic after we make the accurate diagnosis.
You can learn more in http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/dementias/dementia.htm