Dementia Treatment in Pinellas County, FL
Dementia is a disruption of normal mental function, caused by damage to nerve cells in the brain, usually precipitated by brain injury or disease. The nerve damage interferes with the brain's ability to communicate or function normally. The onset of dementia is gradual, and the condition is progressive and incurable. It most notably impacts memory, personality and reasoning.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that dementia impacts over 35 million people worldwide, but the number of dementia cases may more than triple, approaching 115 million by 2050. Much of this expected increase will be due to Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's disease currently accounts for 60-80 percent of dementia cases, and it is a disease which generally afflicts the elderly. The aging of the baby boomer population in the U.S. simply mirrors what is happening globally as the world's population shifts to an aging demographic. However, the incidence of dementia is increasing even faster than the population is aging.
Different types of dementia are associated with different parts of the brain experiencing cellular nerve damage. Common forms of dementia include:
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Vascular Dementia (commonly due to stroke)
- Dementia with Lewy Bodies
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Frontotemporal Dementia (from a range of conditions like Pick’s Disease)
- Mixed Dementia (a combination of dementia-producing conditions)
Dementia can also be a side effect of physical conditions that are reversible and often easily treatable. Prescription drug interactions are often mistaken for Alzheimer's Disease, especially among the elderly. When discovered and corrected, dementia symptoms can abate in a matter of days. Other treatable conditions - like thyroid disorders or urinary tract infections - can manifest dementia-like symptoms which reverse when the underlying disorder is addressed. Risk factors include: aging, head trauma, genetics, heart disease, diabetes, smoking, high blood pressure and obesity.
To schedule a consultation with a qualified geriatric physician in Pinellas County that specializes in dementia treatment, call (813) 536-3212 or contact Dr. Christopher Van Benschoten online.
Symptoms of Dementia
Symptoms of dementia typically present gradually and are progressive. Symptoms can be both physical and psychological.
Physical symptoms include:
- Balance problems
- Difficulties with speech or language
- Problems with eating and swallowing
- Memory confusion, distortion or lapses
- Physical restlessness
- Visual perception issues
- Abnormal motor behaviors
Psychological symptoms include:
- Anxiety or agitation
- Elation (manifesting as unusual or without cause)
- Apathy or depression
- Poor impulse control
More serious dementia symptoms may include: delusions (conspiracy theories or thinking others are stealing from them or talking about them), hallucinations, psychosis, and aggression or physical violence.
Dementia can be diagnosed through:
- Cognitive testing (e.g., the mini-mental state examination or MMSE)
- Medical imaging (CAT scans or MRIs)
- Blood work (to test for certain diseases)
- Medical history
Oftentimes, dementia is diagnosed secondary to the disease process. For example, a diagnosis of Parkinson's Disease may come with an accompanying diagnosis of Parkinson's-related dementia.
While many people experience memory loss as they age, it does not always indicate dementia. A dementia diagnosis requires impairment of two or more of the following brain functions: memory, speech, focus, reasoning/judgment or visual perception.
Dementia Medical Treatment Guidelines
Dementia treatment guidelines are based on determining an underlying causal condition and treating that condition. Some causes of dementia - like Alzheimer's Disease - are progressive and have no known cure. Other causes - like prescription medicine interactions - are easily addressed. A complete discussion of risk factors, prevention, diagnosis and treatment options can be provided to you by your healthcare provider, but most agree the best offense is a good defense. People are encouraged to minimize their risk factors for dementia by:
- Regular physical activity
- Controlling high blood pressure
- Preventing obesity and diabetes
- Maintaining a healthy diet, rich in high-antioxidant fruits and vegetables, healthy fats like avocado and coconut, and limited sugar intake
- Adopting heart-healthy habits like limiting alcohol consumption, stopping smoking and lowering cholesterol.
Schedule a consultation with a dementia treatment specialist in Pinellas County! Call (813) 536-3212 or contact Dr. Christopher Van Benschoten online.
Address4691 Van Dyke Road
Lutz, FL 33558
7:00 am - 4:00 pm
Tue: 7:00 am - 4:00 pm
Thu: 10:00 am - 7:00 pm
Fri: 7:00 am - 4:00 pm