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How to Go About Diagnosing Dementia

Aug 17, 2007
Dementia is a term that describes the symptoms which appear when the brain of the sufferer is affected by particular conditions and diseases, e.g. Alzheimer's or a stroke. As with most problems, treatment is most effective when early diagnosis is possible.

Traveling to a general practitioner (GP) near where you live is a good idea if you or someone you know thinks the first signs of dementia are surfacing. The doctor should be able to rule out other illnesses with similar symptoms to dementia, e.g. depression. Some drugs are available which are able, in some people, to slow the progress of dementia, others actually alleviating the associated symptoms. Early diagnosis of dementia allows both the sufferer and their carers to better prepare for the future.

In terms of symptoms dementia is experienced by people in a way that is particular to them. Typically a gradual memory loss initially occurs, communication and reasoning ability become reduced, life skills disappear so that the typical daily activities become more difficult to perform. People suffering from dementia find it difficult to remember certain words. If you are feeling confused, forgetful or agitated you should talk to your GP. If you know anyone with such problems you should persuade them to similarly see the doctor, in you company.

Memory loss can manifest its self in the form of forgetting how to walk home from familiar surroundings like your local high street. Remembering the names of places and people that you used to know well can become a challenge. Simply talking, reading or writing starts to get difficult. Changes in your mood can occur as the disease alters you brain. Often the sufferer becomes sad, angry or frightened about their worsening situation.

If a GP has reason to suspect a patient of having the early signs of dementia they can refer that person to a specialist consultant. This further assessment can consist of dialogue between the patient and various friends and family. Physical examinations, tests on memory as well as brain scans are common.

What is important to realize is that from time to time other less disastrous factors such as ageing, vitamin deficiency or menopause (in women) can result in forgetfulness. Rare brain tumors have also been known to create similar effects.

Receiving confirmation of dementia often comes as a huge blow to the sufferer, relatives and friends. During this worrying and upsetting time reassurance and support are vital. At this point planning a future around dementia will make all the difference.
About the Author
If you are looking around for information on finding an Alzheimers nursing home have a look at http://www.alzheimersdiseasesupport.com/Choosing-An-Alzheimer-S-Nursing-Home.php for some helpful pointers.
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