Posted by Julie on August 01, 1999 at 19:31:12
My grandmother, for the last few years, has been suffering from memory loss. Sometimes she can remember perfectly what to do and other times she can't remember what you said 5 minutes earlier. She has been through many stressful situations and I was wondering how I maybe able to find out more about dementia since I do know that it has to do with memory loss and can be caused by stress and depression. What are some other signs I should look for to try and find if she has dementia (by the way, her psychiatrist has mentioned dementia)?
Posted by HFHS MD - RG on August 02, 1999 at 13:48:40
Dementia is characterized by multiple cognitive defects that include impairment in memory without impairment in consciousness. The cognitive functions that can be affected in dementia include geberal intelligence, learning and memory, language, problem solving, orientation, perception, attention and concentration, judgement, and social abilties. The
symptoms result in a significant impairment of social or occupationalfunctioning and that they represent a significant decline from a previous level of functioning.The disorder may be progressive or static, permanent or reversible.
There are many types of dementia, the most common, Alzheimer's disease. Other causes include multi-infarct dementia, Parkinson's disease, reversible causes such as from hypothyroidism.
Patients with depression may have symptoms of cognitive impairment which are difficult to distinguish from symptoms of dementia. The clinical picture is sometimes referred to as "pseudodementia". Patients with depression-related cognitive dysfunction generally have prominent depressive symptoms(i.e. insomnia, change in appetite,lack of interest/pleasure in things, thoughts of death), have more insight into their symptoms than do demented patients, and often have a past hisotry of depression.
A drug specifically used for memory loss in Alzheimer's disease, Aricept, may be used to improve cognition but it does not prevent the progression of the disorder. Studies also show Vitamin E may slow the progression of the disease.
The information provided in this forum is presented for general educational purposes only. Specific questions you have pertainng to your health should always be directed to your personal physician or you may call Henry Ford Behavioral Health at (248) 689-7476.
I wish you the best,
HFHS MD - RG