There's no one-size-fits-all way to approach dementia, but understanding the risk factors and symptoms can help you make the right decisions for your loved one. You'll likely want to find an experienced doctor with experience diagnosing dementia and treating it.
The good news: there are many types of professionals who specialize in this area of medicine, including neurologists, psychiatrists, psychologists and nurses. Discover different dementia diagnosis in this article.
What is Dementia?
Dementia is a common condition that can cause problems with memory, thinking, and behaviour. It's not a normal part of ageing, but it is often seen in older people. Dementia affects the brain and can affect anyone regardless of age or gender.
Dementia is a progressive condition that affects the brain. It's not normal to get older and forget things, but dementia can cause your memory to become worse, causing confusion and problems with thinking or problem-solving.
Symptoms of dementia include:
- Memory loss (forgetting things you used to remember)
- Confusion (not remembering where you left something) or disorientation in time, space and person(s)
Other symptoms include personality changes, such as becoming withdrawn from friends/family members. Changes in behaviour include aggression towards family members and difficulty making decisions about everyday activities like bathing or dressing without assistance from another person.
Different Types of Dementia
There are many different types of dementia, and they can be grouped into two broad categories:
- Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common type. It occurs because of damage to the brain's memory centres, which causes them to lose their ability to store information and process it properly. As a result, people with AD may experience memory loss or forgetfulness that gets worse over time—and eventually, they may lose their ability to function independently.
- Vascular dementia (VaD) results from problems with blood flow to the brain due to blockages or other blockages in arteries leading to coronary heart disease (CHD). VaD happens when these blocked arteries become clogged with cholesterol deposits; this reduces oxygen delivery throughout your body, including your head region where neurons reside!
Dementia Diagnosis in the UK
Changes in thinking and mood that affect everyday life. The diagnosis of dementia can be challenging to make, especially when symptoms are subtle. The person may appear normal and could even be functioning well. This means that it's essential to look at the following:
- Memory loss (for example, forgetting names or events)
- Difficulty with language (for example, not being able to follow conversations)
- Difficulty with numbers (for example, getting numbers wrong)
- Difficulty with spatial awareness (for example, losing track of how far away things are from each other)
Doctors will test your loved one's memory, thinking skills and other mental abilities to see if they have a condition called mild cognitive impairment (MCI). If this is the case, you may be offered an assessment for dementia by a specialist team.
If you're concerned about your memory or think you may have dementia, it's essential to see your GP. They can assess signs of dementia and refer you for a specialist brain scan if necessary.
Seeing a GP or Specialist
A GP can diagnose dementia, but it's only one part of the process. If you're seeing your GP, they'll refer you to a specialist who can confirm whether you have dementia.
If they don't think that's the case, they might refer you to another doctor (such as a neurologist). This person will conduct further investigations and tests before making their final diagnosis and determining the treatment most appropriate for your condition.
A mental health professional may also be able to give an opinion about whether or not someone has been diagnosed with dementia. However, this isn't always possible due to confidentiality concerns around patients' personal information.
If you're concerned about your mental health, it's always best to speak with a specialist. They can fully assess and determine whether or not you have dementia. If they don't think that's the case, they might refer you to another doctor (such as a neurologist).
What happens after a diagnosis?
Once a diagnosis is made, it's crucial to get a care plan in place. This will help you manage your health and well-being and ensure you receive the support you need.
You may also find that it helps to have some of your family or friends around as much as possible while getting used to the condition. This can be not easy when they're at work or out of town on holiday, but there are things they can do while they're not physically present with you (such as sending regular texts), which will make all the difference!
Understanding what dementia is like may help too - no matter how old someone gets, one thing remains constant: their mind will never be able to think again once this has happened.
IMPORTANT: People with Dementia Can Live Happily
It's important to remember that people with dementia can continue to live well and do things they enjoy. They might not be able to do so for long periods, but even a few minutes each day can make a difference.
Take care of yourself by eating healthy, getting enough sleep and exercising regularly. If you get bored or lonely in the home environment, you may feel like going out more often than usual – this will help keep your mind active and be good for your health!
Make sure there are no safety risks associated with any activities (such as walking on your own), especially if there are young children around who could get hurt by accident (older people shouldn't do this alone). You'll also need someone nearby who can help with anything that requires physical strength, such as climbing stairs or carrying heavy objects downstairs - remember that it's always better to be safe than sorry!
Dementia is a severe condition, so it's essential to have a diagnosis confirmed by an expert. After a dementia diagnosis, people with dementia can continue to live well and do things they enjoy. Their families and carers should also give them the best care possible throughout their illness.
One of the best ways to ensure safety is using a personal alarm or a fall alert watch. The CPR Guardian, Personal Alarm Watch with Fall Detection is a simple-to-use non removable tracking bracelet for dementia patients with fall detection, GPS tracking, and an emergency SOS watch button that enables the user to notify family and friends in an emergency. Please get in touch with us if you need help.