Is It Dementia?   



Is It Dementia?

 
Dementia is a problem in the brain that makes it hard for a person to remember, learn and communicate. After a while, this makes it hard for the person to take care of himself or herself.

Dementia may also change a person's mood and personality. At first, memory loss and trouble thinking clearly may bother the person who has dementia. Later, disruptive behavior and other problems may start. The person who has dementia may not be aware of these problems.

Dementia is caused by the destruction of brain cells. A head injury, a stroke, a brain tumor or a problem like Alzheimer's disease can damage brain cells. Some people have a family history of dementia.

Dementia causes many problems for the person who has it and for the person's family.

Many of the problems are due to loss of memory.

Some common signs of dementia are listed below. But not everyone who has dementia will have all of these signs.

Recent memory loss - All of us forget things for a while and then remember them later. People with dementia often forget things, but they never remember them. They might ask you the same question over and over, each time forgetting that you already answered that question. They won't even remember that they already asked the question.

Difficulty performing familiar tasks People who have dementia might cook a meal but forget to serve it. They might even forget that they cooked it.

Problems with language - People with dementia may forget simple words or use the wrong words. This makes it hard to understand what they want.

Time and place disorientation - People who have dementia may get lost 011 their own street. They may forget how they got to a certain place and how to get back home.

Poor judgment - Even a person who doesn't have dementia might get distracted and forget to watch a child closely for a little while. People who have dementia, however, might forget all about the child and just leave the house for the day.

Problems with abstract thinking - Anybody might have trouble balancing a check book, but people who have dementia may forget what the numbers are and what has to be done with them.

Misplacing things - People who have dementia may put things in the wrong places. They might put an iron in the freezer or a wristwatch in the sugar bowl. Then they can't find these things later.

Changes in mood - Everyone is moody at times, but people with dementia may have fast mood swings, going from calm to tears to anger in a few minutes.

Personality changes - People who have dementia may undergo drastic changes in personality. They might become irritable, suspicious or fearful.

Loss of initiative - People who have dementia may become passive. They might not want to go places or see other people.

If you have any of these signs

Talk with your doctor. He can do tests to find out if your signs are caused by dementia. The sooner you know, the sooner you can discuss treatment options with you r doctor.

If a family member has signs of dementia

Try to get him to see a doctor. You may want to go along and talk with the doctor before your relative sees him. Then you can tell the doctor about the way your relative has been acting without embarrassing him. 

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Happy reading,
Evelyn


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