Dementia is a general term that covers a wide range of related illnesses. All dementias, regardless of type, cause serious cognitive impairment that has an impact on a minimum of 2 distinct brain functions. Many people think of dementia as being associated with memory loss. While that is true for many people, memory loss alone does not equal dementia. Another brain function such as decision making or motor skills must also be impacted for dementia to be diagnosed.
While many people think of Alzheimer's Disease differently from dementia, Alzheimer's Disease is actually a form of dementia. It is among the most common types of dementia today. While everyone who has Alzheimer's has dementia, not everyone who has dementia has Alzheimer's.
Dementia may be determined during a diagnostic workup by a patient's doctor. This workup covers many different aspects of brain function. While it is possible to diagnose dementia, it may not always be possible to definitively diagnose the specific type of dementia. For example, Alzheimer's disease cannot be irrefutably diagnosed while a person is still living. It is normally confirmed after death. However, an experienced doctor can review the signs and symptoms with the patient and their family to get a strong indicator of whether Alzheimer's is the issue or not.
While there is currently not a cure for dementia, there are a number of medications that can be highly effective in symptom management. Patients and their families should work closely with their doctor to get guidance about improving quality of life while living with dementia. Today, many dementia patients are able to live happily for a long time, especially with the effective symptom management available from some of the newer medications on the market.
At Internal Medicine & Family Practice, we accept most major medical insurance plans. Here is a short list of just some of the most popular plans we accept. Please contact our office if you do not see your insurance provider listed.