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Our Guide to Dementia -What to Know about Its Types, Diagnosis & Tests

Many individuals, especially seniors, suffer from dementia. In general, dementia is the term used for health conditions showing a decline in memory, language, problem-solving, and other cognitive skills. An example of dementia is memory loss, and Alzheimer’s disease is said to be the most common form of this condition.

Dementia is a serious condition that can impact a person’s ability to perform daily activities and life in general. In this article, we will share with you what you need to know about dementia. Keep on reading to learn more about its types, diagnosis, and tests.

Four common types of dementia

Below are four common types of dementia caused by various disorders and contributing factors. 

  • Alzheimer’s Disease:  This common type of dementia is characterized by memory decline and, eventually, memory loss. This can significantly impact other cognitive abilities as well, such as speech, reasoning ability, and movement.
  • Vascular or Multi-Infarct Dementia: This type of dementia results from a stroke where small parts of the brain are damaged. With this, memory and other cognitive functions are severely affected.
  • Frontotemporal Dementia: Known as FTD, this type of dementia doesn’t necessarily affect memory. However, it can affect a person’s personality and speech.
  • Dementia with Lewy Bodies: Known as DLB, this type of dementia leads to a decrease in cognitive ability, hallucinations, movement problems, and delusions. 

Diagnosis of dementia

Diagnosing dementia can be a bit tricky because other signs and symptoms of dementia may be associated with other health conditions or cognitive disorders as well. For this reason, proper diagnosis needs to be performed by a medical doctor. A medical assessment for dementia will then be required, which generally includes the following:

  • Medical history: This includes common questions about a person’s medical and family history. The doctor needs to know whether or not there’s dementia is a recurring condition in the family. They will also need to know how and when the symptoms started, what the changes in behavior are, and other serious concerns.
  • Physical exam: This involves the examination of blood pressure and other vital signs. A physician needs to detect conditions that may cause or occur with dementia.
  • Neurological test: This entails the assessment of balance, sensory response, reflexes, and other cognitive functions.

Tests used for dementia

After the medical assessment, the doctor will determine if further tests need to be performed. In most cases, below are procedures used to diagnose dementia:

  • Cognitive and neuropsychological tests: These tests evaluate the memory, problem-solving, language skills, math skills, and other abilities associated with cognitive function.
  • Genetic tests: These tests are conducted to see whether or not a known genetic defect causes dementia.
  • Laboratory tests: These tests assess the person’s blood and other fluids. They also examine various levels of chemicals, hormones, and vitamins.
  • Brain scans: These particular tests can identify strokes, tumors, and other problems that can cause dementia. Common scans include Computed Tomography (CT), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), and Positron Emission Tomography (PET), among others.

Final words

Dementia is a memory condition that should never be taken for granted, as this can compromise your loved one’s daily activities and can even endanger their life. When showing signs of dementia, the best way to proceed is to get your loved one tested and diagnosed. By doing so, you’ll be able to resort to effective methods, be it medical treatments or assistance to help your loved one rise above the situation.

If you have a family member or loved one who needs to be diagnosed for possible dementia, then get in touch with our dementia care homes in Houston today to see how we can help!

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