Demystifying Dementia

Lewy Body Dementia vs. Alzheimer's Disease

Many people live with dementia, and most only seek medical attention when the disorder has become severe. Several factors can result in dementia, including medications. If you are experiencing problems with your cognitive abilities, you may benefit from dementia Falls Church treatments at Integrated Neurology Services.

Signature symptoms of dementia

Dementia is a broad term for diseases that reduce your reasoning skills, memory, language, and other essential cognitive abilities, significantly interfering with your quality of life. Although mild memory loss is the signature symptom of this disorder, dementia can be severe enough to interfere with your ability to live independently. It may also affect your behavior, moods, and emotions, making it difficult to socialize with your peers. Alzheimer’s disease is the most prevalent trigger of progressive dementia among senior adults, although there are several other causes of dementia. Some dementia symptoms are manageable depending on the cause. Dementia is your body’s natural way of informing you that there is some brain cell damage; the symptoms will depend on the affected region. Signs you may experience include forgetfulness, difficulty understanding language, inability to understand social cues, loss of the ability to solve complicated tasks, and hallucinations. Dementia symptoms develop slowly and deteriorate over time. To increase the chances of successful treatment, inform your provider immediately if you start experiencing issues with your memory or experience any other signs of dementia.

Reversible causes of dementia

Several medical conditions can result in dementia-like symptoms, and most of them are reversible. They include:

  • Normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH)

This medical disorder occurs when cerebrospinal fluid accumulates in your ventricles (brain spaces). The buildup injures your brain, interfering with your cognitive abilities. NPH can be due to a brain bleed, injury, infection, or surgery. Symptoms of this disorder include loss of bladder control, trouble paying attention, mood swings, and forgetfulness.

  • Infections

 Infections like Lyme disease, HIV infection, and syphilis can result in dementia-like symptoms. COVID-19 also results in brain fog and acute delirium, which resemble dementia symptoms. Brain infections and central nervous system infections can also cause cognitive symptoms.

  • Medication side effects

Some medications may mimic dementia symptoms. Such medications include anti-anxiety drugs, nonbenzodiazepine sedatives, narcotic pain relievers, and statins.

Treatment options for dementia

All types of dementia are treatable in that your provider can prescribe medications to manage your symptoms. However, this disorder is irreversible, and you may not be able to recover your optimum cognitive abilities. Fortunately, if your dementia is due to treatable medical conditions, your provider may successfully reverse the symptoms. These conditions include hypoglycemia, depression, subdural hematoma, cancer if caught early, and metabolic disorders like vitamin B12 deficiency. Irreversible dementia disorders can still respond to medications for behavior problems and memory loss. Such forms of dementia include AIDs dementia complex, multi-infarct dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia associated with Parkinson’s disease. Drugs that have proven effective for Alzheimer’s include cholinesterase inhibitors, NMDA receptor antagonists, and anti-amyloid antibody aducanumab. If you have other conditions that trigger dementia symptoms, your provider may prescribe the appropriate medication.

For more information about dementia, call the Integrated Neurology Services office or book an appointment online.