Dementia is a medical condition that can be caused by a number of things. Today, with the isolation we are living in, we have more time to notice problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Depression affects memory and thinking. Forgetfulness and mild confusion can be seen in both dementia and depression. When we experience these symptoms, we often think of the worst: Alzheimer’s Disease.
While this is a common disease, with dementia, it can be managed with medication. Did you know that the prevalence of dementia for those older than 65 is only 10%? For those over 90, it is 37-50%. There are at least five types of dementia. Alzheimer’s Disease is one of those types and the most prevalent.
As many as 60% to 70% of patients who have dementia have Alzheimer’s disease. It is usually associated with genetics, lifestyle and environmental factors that affect the brain cells over time.
There are studies that can be done to help identify the type of dementia an individual may have and medications that can help. Do as many things as you can during these challenging times to keep from getting depressed. Working on mathematical problems, jigsaw puzzles and word finds are some ways to help keep the mind sharp.
There is a potential new blood test that looks for blood biomarkers to detect Alzheimer’s disease. This is exciting because it could potentially help in early treatment, even before cognitive symptoms appear. Guidelines are based on the American Academy of Neurology. We suggest that patients who are concerned about Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia become established with a good primary care provider who knows them and all of their medical conditions. Beginning treatment early improves outcomes. I care for both primary care and neurology patients in Sedona. FBN
By Michele Peters, FNP
Michele Peters FNP-Neurology is located at the Flagstaff Family Care Sedona facility. For more information, call 928-527-4325.