Dementia is diagnosed by studying the symptoms that preceded it and by a physical examination. Your doctor can ask you a series of questions to assess your cognition, that is, all of the brain functions associated with memory, recall, decision-making, language, daily recognition of familiar objects and the ability to follow directions.
The cerebral tomograms can highlight the changes that have taken place in the brain structure. Computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is useful to help identify conditions that may induce dementia. Dementia awareness course is a skills-based course suitable for anyone who comes into contact with people living with dementia.
The definitive confirmation of the diagnosis can only be obtained after a biopsy which will make it possible to study the structure of a fragment of brain tissue or an autopsy performed after death.
Treatment and Prevention
The treatment of dementia may vary depending on the cause of it. To alleviate memory loss and progressively worsening behavioral symptoms, the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease usually involves the use of a range of medicines(which can also be used to treat other forms of dementia), including:
There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, or drugs that can stop or reverse the brain damage it may have caused. However, there are medications that can reduce the range of certain symptoms and slow down the course of the disease. Drugs such as donepezil, rivastigmine and galantamine may help slow memory loss.
The prevention of stroke is very important in case of vascular dementia. People with high blood pressure or cholesterol, who have transient ischemic attacks (TIAs), or who have had a stroke should receive ongoing treatment for these conditions to prevent the occurrence of accidents.
To treat and help people with dementia, it is important to focus on all activities that the person can still safely perform. It should be encouraged to continue with daily activities and to maintain social relationships as much as possible. It must also be helped to maintain a healthy lifestyle through exercise, proper diet and adequate fluid intake. Special diets and supplements are usually useless.
Here are some tips that may be helpful if you are caring for someone with dementia:
–give the patient lists of things to do, including the time of their execution, the location, and the appropriate phone numbers to facilitate these tasks;
-structure and stabilize the living environment by minimizing unnecessary noise and disturbances that cause anxiety;
-Establish routines to regulate activities during the day and at bedtime to try to reduce disorientation and anxiety
-speak slowly and calmly, formulate only one idea and one instruction at a time;
-reduce the risk of wandering by producing a card with his name, address and phone number;
-make sure your home is safe by leaving the furniture in the same place, eliminating unnecessary items, installing a lock on the medicine cabinet and setting the water heater to a low temperature to avoid scalding;
-prohibit the person with dementia from driving a vehicle. Take the driver or have someone drive it where it needs to go.
Caring for someone with dementia is a very difficult task. It is important to show understanding, patience and compassion. Being part of a support group is sometimes helpful for those caring for a patient with Alzheimer’s disease.
We must prepare for the progressive deterioration of the condition of the loved one, provide for the administration of full-time care. In some cases, accommodation in a care home is the best solution for the person with the disease and for their family.