Dementia is a medical condition that affects the way the brain functions, especially in relation to memory, reasoning skills, behavior, and language. Alzheimer’s disease is one of the many conditions that can lead to dementia. Alzheimer’s and other conditions that lead to dementia cause disruption to the nerve cells that create and store memories. Some conditions build up neuritic plaque or the breakdown of the brain cells. Approximately 4 million Americans live with some form of dementia and almost 10 percent of people over the age of 65 experience this degenerative disease. While dementia is more common in older people, the condition can also develop earlier in age.
Some of the initial signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease include:
Dr. van Riel works closely with her patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia and their families to manage the symptoms of the disease and to help create a safe and comfortable environment for the patient. Some patients may benefit from prescription medications including antipsychotics, antidepressants, and anticonvulsants to manage some of the distressing symptoms of dementia. Some patients benefit from talk therapy to express themselves. Not only does this allow the patient to feel like he or she is truly being listened to, but it also helps Dr. van Riel to suggest additional therapies and services that will help the patient and his or her family. If you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms associated with dementia, you should make an appointment for an assessment. When conditions are diagnosed in their early stages, treatment to control or delay the development of the disease can also begin, providing a better outcome for the patient.
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