The topic of Dementia can be very alarming and distressing, as may of us have seen the devastating affects that it can have on people’s lives.
The PYB Health content team has taken 5 minutes out of Dr Crane’s busy day to help patients get a better understanding of Dementia and how it can affect individuals and families alike.
What you need to know about Dementia if you think yourself or a loved one may be affected
Question: What are the key tell tale signs that a person is starting to suffer from Dementia and what should they do?
Dr Crane: Initial signs to look for are: memory loss-such as forgetting messages or names and asking questions repetitively. Getting confused easily and sometimes there can be a change in personality or mood.
Question: What are the most common types of dementia?
Dr Crane: Alzheimer’s disease is when the brain degenerates and causes a variety of (remove mild to severe) symptoms depending on the severity of the disease. Classic symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease are forgetfulness, confusion, a change in personality, sometimes they put objects in odd places and they can get anxious or irritable and be less interested in conversation.
Vascular dementia is the second most common type of dementia. It is caused when there is a lack of blood supply to the brain. Vascular dementia can cause problems with thinking, memory or reasoning. Patients at higher risk of cardiovascular disease are more vulnerable to developing this type, so addressing risk factors such as smoking, blood pressure, cholesterol, weight and diabetes are important.
Question: How can you reduce your risk of Dementia?
Dr Crane: To reduce your Dementia risk you need to live a healthy life with regular physical activity, maintain a healthy weight, be socially and mentally active, stop smoking and have a low alcohol intake.
Question: If you get diagnosed with Dementia, will you need to attend regular appointments?
Dr Crane: If you are diagnosed with Dementia, depending on the severity of your symptoms you may get invited for routine appointments with your Doctor to monitor your symptoms and make sure you are receiving the correct support.
Question: Where can I get help for a relative with dementia?
Dr Crane: Dementia UK is a helpful website, discussing the condition in details, advice and support groups are also on offer. So you must never feel alone and make the most of the services.
Any other comments?
Dementia can alter a patient’s personality. You might notice that they are not as confident as usual and might try and avoid social situations. Sometimes they can get more easily frustrated and lose their temper easily. In some severe cases you can find that their personality is childlike and they need help with daily living activities. Remember to be patient if you notice this happening to a loved one and maybe urge them to seek a medical diagnosis. I cannot emphasize how important it is to see your GP if you have any concerns as many cases will not be dementia. If it does prove to be the case then early intervention for both patients and their families is crucial.