Dementia Management

dementia management

Dementia Management

When a parent, partner, or someone else you love gets diagnosed with dementia, you want to do everything possible to help them, including their memory, thinking skills, mood, and behavior.

It’s a lot to take in. But there are steps that can help.

These include working with their doctor to treat their dementia symptoms and any other conditions they may have. There are also other kinds of therapies that may help with their daily life. And everyday habits also matter, such as exercise, good nutrition, staying social, doing things that challenge their mind, and getting good sleep.

Some dementias disorders, however, may be successfully treated, with patient returning to normal after treatment. These dementias are ones caused by:

  • Side effects of medications or illicit drugs; alcohol
  • Tumors that can be removed
  • Subdural hematoma, a buildup of blood beneath the outer covering of the brain that is caused by a head injury
  • Normal pressure hydrocephalus, a buildup of cerebral spinal fluid in the brain
  • Metabolic disorders, such as a vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Hypothyroidism, a condition that results from low levels of thyroid hormones
  • Hypoglycemia, a condition that results from low blood sugar
  • Depression

Dementias that are not reversible, but may still be at least partially responsive to medications currently available for memory loss or behavior-based problems include:

  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Multi-infarct (vascular) dementia
  • Dementias associated with Parkinson's disease and similar disorders
  • AIDS dementia complex
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

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Commonly used medication

Symptoms can be managed by medication, depending on the type of dementia. The most common drugs used in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease are Aricept (donepezil hydrochloride), Exelon (rivastigmine), Reminyl (galantamine) and Ebixa (memantine). Someone with vascular dementia may receive medication for high blood pressure, stroke or other related health conditions such as heart problems, diabetes and high cholesterol.

10 common questions about dementia management

1What is the best treatment for dementia?
But there are treatments to help ease some of its symptoms. The two most commonly prescribed medicines for dementia are cholinesterase inhibitors and memantine (Namenda). Doctors use them mainly to treat the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, which is the most common kind of dementia
2What is the number one food that fights dementia?
Just one, though. Wine rounds out the list of of 10 "brain healthy" food groups that help protect against Alzheimer's: green leafy vegetables, other vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil and wine
3Does dementia run in families?
Many people affected by dementia are concerned that they may inherit or pass on dementia. The majority of dementia is not inherited by children and grandchildren. In rarer types of dementia there may be a strong genetic link, but these are only a tiny proportion of overall cases of dementia.
4How long can dementia patients live?
Because every person is different and dementia manifests itself uniquely, the speed at which dementia progresses varies widely. On average, a person with Alzheimer's disease lives 4 to 8 years after a diagnosis, but some have been seen to live as long as 20 years
5At what stage of dementia do hallucinations occur?
When trouble might occur Visual hallucinations are one of the hallmark symptoms in Lewy body dementia (LBD) and often occur early in the illness. In other dementias, delusions are more common than hallucinations, which occur well into the disease cycle, if at all, and are less often visual
6Do people with dementia know they have it?
It's possible that many people have been diagnosed with dementia, but aren't aware they've been given the diagnosis. However, the earlier dementia is diagnosed, the more likely a person will be aware enough to comprehend what's going on. As the disease progresses, this may change
7Do dementia patients sleep a lot?
The greater the degree of dementia, the sleepier the patient is. With more severe forms of dementia, patients are often sleepier during the day, and their sleep at night tends to be fragmented and disrupted. Over a 24-hour period, for example, patients are rarely awake and rarely asleep for a full hour at a time.
8How do dementia patients die?
For instance, a person may die from an infection like aspiration pneumonia, which occurs as a result of swallowing difficulties, or a person may die from a blood clot in the lung as a result of being immobile and bedbound. However, it's important to note that dementia itself is fatal
9Do dementia patients know they are dying?
People with advanced dementia may show some of these signs and symptoms for months or even years – making it hard to tell if the person is approaching death. ... When the dying process is established, the person may experience further changes: losing consciousness (you are unable to wake them) no longer able to swallow.
10Does dementia get worse fast?
Dementia occurs due to physical changes in the brain and is a progressive disease, meaning it gets worse over time. For some people, dementia progresses rapidly, while it takes years to reach an advanced stage for others.

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