Dementia: Advantages of Seeking an Early Diagnosis
The first symptoms of dementia are very similar to exactly what most people consider a normal part of “aging. ” These include symptoms like memory loss, confusion, disorientation, inability to perform normal activities, withdrawal, agitation, and frustration.
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Many patients who face such problems do not consult a doctor, thinking, “This must be normal inside my age. I’ll look foolish merely go to a doctor with these problems. inch
On the other hand, when people who know about dementia experience such symptoms, they suspect (or fear) that they have dementia. However , they hesitate to consult a physician because of the stigma of being diagnosed with dementia. In some cultures people may connect “dementia” with strange behavior, helplessness, and negativity, and they don’t wish to be labeled as dementia patients. In other civilizations, where dementia awareness is bad, there is a stigma about a dementia medical diagnosis because people associate dementia with insanity. People also hesitate to get a diagnosis because they have heard that dementia is incurable, so they see no point in “wasting” money and time by going to a doctor.
There are, however , a number of advantages of consulting a doctor for research and diagnosis as soon as the symptoms are noticed. These advantages are explained below.
Not all memory loss can be dementia
There are many types of memory loss. Also, everyone forgets things occasionally. Some memory problems are a regular part of aging, while others could indicate a serious underlying medical condition. Often , elders get worried by their forgetfulness and this worry and stress makes them more inattentive and increases their forgetfulness.
By talking to a doctor, people facing the particular memory loss can get a proper evaluation of their problem, its possible causes, plus treatment. Doctors can determine whether the particular patient’s memory problem indicates cognitive decline, and whether this drop is mild (called mild cognitive impairment) or whether it has crossed the threshold beyond which what this means is a diagnosis of dementia. Also, several causes for memory loss can be treated.
Sometimes, depression is mistaken with regard to dementia
Depression can reduce the ability to give consideration and can cause memory problems. Set persons cannot distinguish whether their own memory loss and confusion is usually caused by dementia or by major depression. Depression responds well to therapy, and the symptoms can reverse. Getting a timely diagnosis is therefore useful.
Dementia symptoms are also caused by curable problems like deficiency of Vitamin B12, hypothyroidism, etc .
Many people think dementia symptoms are caused solely by incurable medical problems (like Alzheimer’s). In fact, there are over seventy causes of dementia symptoms. Some of them, like deficiency of Cobalamin or hypothyroidism, can be treated, and such therapy will reverse the symptoms of dementia.
A proper diagnosis detects reversible causes which can then be corrected. If a patient does not go to a doctor, he/ she continues to suffer unnecessarily.
Understanding that we have mild cognitive impairment impacts our life choices
Persons along with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) may or may not go on to develop dementia, but the probability of their developing dementia is higher than that of persons without having MCI.
If a doctor, on checking out a patient, concludes that the patient provides MCI, this impacts the decisions the patient may take. For example , though there is absolutely no known way to prevent dementia, analysis suggests that healthy lifestyle choices reduce the risk. The patient may therefore decide to be more alert about diet, physical exercise, and other life choices. For example , a person may start an exercise program, become socially active, and quit smoking.
Knowing that he/ she has MCI may also affect decisions the person takes about their future.
Early diagnosis means treatment can start earlier, and years of suffering may reduce
As of now, dementias like Alzheimer’s Disease cannot be reversed, but there are some medications that aim to improve the person’s quality of life by reducing the symptoms.
While these medications do not work for everybody, a patient who gets an early diagnosis can try out the medication previously and may experience some relief from the outward symptoms, and thus lead a better life.
An early diagnosis allows more time for the individual to plan for dementia
In an early-stage diagnosis, the patient is still mentally notify enough to understand the disease and its feasible impacts. Though it may take time to accept the diagnosis, the patient has the mental ability to understand the impact of dementia and start preparing for the years forward.
An early-stage diagnosis allows individuals to discuss their wishes with family members, arrange their finances, wrap up projects, and generally plan for their long term. Patients are also able to talk to friends plus relatives, explain the situation, and look for support. Knowledge that their issues are caused by an organic brain disorder decreases their bewilderment and worry, and allows them to focus on what they still can do and orient their lives to make the most of what they have. They can seek counseling and learn more about their particular condition.
In case of a mid-stage/ late-stage diagnosis, the patient is likely to find the diagnosis more overwhelming, and cannot think or understand it, let alone plan for the future.
An early diagnosis gives family and friends more time to plan care
An individual with dementia needs care, and this care increases as the dementia worsens. Family caregivers need to adjust their particular lives accordingly; adjustments could include changing jobs, relocating, arranging finances, discussing division of work and responsibilities amongst family members, and so on. Family members also get more time to understand dementia plus pick up the necessary care giving abilities, join support groups, get counseling, and so forth. The earlier the diagnosis, the softer they find it to support the person with dementia.
Late diagnosis means more suffering for the patient and family
A late diagnosis means that for many years, the person with dementia has been coping with the confusion and reduced ability without knowing why the problems are happening. This is stressful and unnerving, as well as the stress worsens the symptoms. If the is actually treatable, all this suffering could have been prevented.
A late diagnosis also means that this family, friends, and colleagues getting together with the patients have been treating the patient as someone with normal memory and abilities. They have not already been making allowances for the memory reduction, reduced ability, and confusion. Due to this, they have been (without intending to) worrying the patients by expecting these to understand and remember things, and to manage complex decisions. Family members may have shown impatience when the patient forgot things, acted clumsy, or behaved in strange ways. The patient’s aggravation, rage, or withdrawal may disappointed family members who don’t understand that this is definitely caused by dementia.
Because the family members have no idea about the dementia, they do not take steps to prevent the patient from self-harm or through harming others. For example , the patient might continue to drive even after it is not advisable, or may wander, or may leave equipment and kitchen gadgets unattended or not be watchful sufficient if asked to babysit a child.
In conclusion, a person who experiences associated with memory loss or functioning that hampers normal life should consult a medical professional to determine the cause plus severity. Also, alert family members ought to ensure that a check-up is done. Probably the symptoms are caused by a problem that can be dealt with. Perhaps the symptoms are not dementia. And even if the symptoms are caused by an permanent dementia, an early diagnosis allows beginning treatment to alleviate the symptoms, and also enables the patient and the family more time to plan for the future.