Though there are several types of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease is diagnosed in 60-80% of all patients with dementia. While you can’t change the progressive nature of dementia, early treatment provided by Kent Smalley, MD, at Neurowellness Clinic may help slow it down and improve your quality of life. Dr. Smalley offers comprehensive diagnostic screening, integrative treatment, and support for patients with dementia, including the convenience of telemedicine. If you or a loved one have personality changes and trouble with short-term memory and concentration, call the office in Edmond, Oklahoma, or schedule an appointment online.
Dementia describes a group of symptoms caused by the loss of memory and a decline in cognitive skills. Progressive dementias continue to get worse over the years, making it increasingly difficult for patients to perform everyday activities.
The four progressive dementias are:
Alzheimer’s occurs as small pieces of beta amyloid proteins gather into clusters of plaque around nerve cells, while twisted pieces of tau proteins form tangles inside the nerves.
The second most common type of dementia, vascular dementia, develops when blood flow to your brain is blocked due to a stroke or vascular disease like atherosclerosis.
This type of dementia is caused by an accumulation of alpha-synuclein proteins in the nerves in your brain. If the protein clusters, called Lewy bodies, develop after you’re diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, the condition is called Parkinson’s dementia.
Frontotemporal dementia is also associated with a buildup of protein. It’s different from other dementias in that it initially affects areas of the brain responsible for personality, behavior, and language.
As a group, dementias cause:
Memory loss is usually the earliest symptom in patients with Alzheimer’s disease and Lewy body dementia, while cognitive problems such as difficulty planning or concentrating are often the first symptoms of vascular dementia.
By comparison, extreme personality and behavioral changes are the first symptoms in patients with frontotemporal dementia.
Dr. Smalley offers comprehensive and integrative care to patients with dementia and their families, providing support for all the challenges they face.
Patients receive diagnostic screening for dementia, including a thorough exam to rule out other underlying conditions, a review of their medical history, a mental status exam, and neurological testing.
Several medications that are FDA-approved to treat Alzheimer’s disease may also be prescribed for other types of dementia. These medications may improve symptoms or help slow the progression of moderate-to-severe dementia.
In the early stages of dementia, behavioral therapy often improves your quality of life by helping to structure your environment. Family members may also benefit from therapeutic support as they learn how to manage difficult behaviors such as agitation, aggression, wandering, and sleep problems.
Dr. Smalley may also recommend complementary therapies that are appropriate for each person depending on their unique needs. He works closely with other physicians providing specialized care for dementia patients.
If you’re worried about memory loss or personality changes in yourself or a loved one, call Neurowellness Clinic or schedule an appointment online.