People often think of dementia as a single disease, but it is actually a group of diseases that present similar symptoms. People suffering from dementia struggle to remember things, find it challenging to make decisions, and may have issues concentrating. The symptoms interfere with their daily life and may affect a person of any age.
How Common Is Dementia?
As of 2014, approximately five million Americans age 65 or older suffered from some form of dementia. Experts believe this number will climb to 14 million by 2060, and many of those people will find they need to make the transition to a memory care community. Nevertheless, people of any age may struggle with this condition.
Normal Aging or Dementia?
A person might worry that they have dementia if they become forgetful as they age. While normal aging includes a weakening of the bones and muscles along with stiffening of the arteries and vessels in the body, dementia doesn’t affect every person.
As a person ages, they may forget the name of someone they know or a recent event. Misplacing car keys and other frequently used items is natural, as is struggling to remember a word. Things in a person’s long-term memory tend to be easily recalled when a person is experiencing forgetfulness as part of the normal aging process.
A person suffering from dementia may have problems with reasoning or memory. They might find it difficult to focus on something and discover their attention span is much shorter. Some people notice a change in their visual perception that goes beyond any vision changes related to their age. Problem-solving becomes a challenge for those with dementia, as does communication.
A person with dementia might use the wrong word for a familiar item or get lost in their own neighborhood. They may not be able to name a close family member or friend or forget their childhood memories. If a person can no longer complete tasks without assistance, dementia might be to blame, and they may need to relocate to and assisted living or memory care facility, such as Fallbrook Glen of West Hills.
Dementia Risk Factors
Age remains the greatest risk factor for dementia. However, individuals with a family history of this condition are at a higher risk than the general population, and African-Americans, as well as Hispanics, are more likely to develop dementia than Caucasians.
Smoking, high blood pressure, and poor cardiovascular health also put a person more at risk of dementia. Any traumatic brain injury increases a person’s risk of dementia, and the same holds for high cholesterol. Anyone with one or more of these risk factors should be monitored regularly for this disease.
Types of Dementia
Dementia comes in many forms. Alzheimer’s disease remains the most common, but a person might be diagnosed with vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, frontotemporal dementia, or mixed dementia.
Doctors diagnose dementia by performing a series of tests. These tests look at a person’s cognitive abilities to see if there are any areas of concern. The doctor will also do bloodwork, brain scans, and a physical exam to learn if there is an underlying cause. If so, they may be able to treat it.
Doctors try to find the underlying cause of dementia to provide the best treatment plan. Certain types of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease, cannot be cured. However, a doctor may prescribe medications to help protect the brain, as well as ones to manage symptoms like anxiety. Researchers continue to study this disease in the hopes of finding a cure or better treatment options.
In addition, medical professionals will make recommendations for lifestyle changes. Regular physical activity, socialization, and healthy diet help to reduce a person’s risk of chronic diseases. They also improve a person’s quality of life.
If you suspect a loved one suffers from dementia, speak to their medical team. The medical team can test the individual to provide an accurate diagnosis and develop a treatment plan. This plan is useful in knowing how to move forward so the loved one gets the best care possible.
About Fallbrook Glen of West Hills:
Fallbrook Glen of West Hills provides residents with everything they need to live life the way they desire. The luxurious setting and vibrant social calendar ensure residents enjoy living in the community, and every resident feels as if they are a valuable part of the Fallbrook Glen family.