Symptoms and causes

What is dementia?

Dementia is an umbrella term for conditions that cause progressive deterioration of memory and other brain functions (speech, attention, behavior, personality, etc.). This disease primarily affects older persons. If the disease presents in persons younger than 65 years old, we refer to it as early-onset dementia.

Causes

The most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. Other possible causes are, for example: frontal-temporal dementia, vascular dementia and Lewy body dementia.

Diagnosis and treatment

Diagnosis

If a patient or someone who knows the patients suspects that the patient has dementia, the neurologist tries to find out if there actually is dementia present. This is achieved by talking with the patient and the patient's loved ones, as well as with a clinical exam and one or more memory tests. In many cases, additional tests are done after diagnosis in order to determine the specific causes for the dementia.

Treatment

Although most forms of dementia are not curable, it is important to detect the disease in time. In some cases, medication can be started in order to improve symptoms. The patient and his/her caregivers can also contact the Maria Middelares General Hospital for education and support. In this way, we try to make life more tolerable for the patient and for the patient's caregivers.

Interesting link:

Treatment centres and specialisations

Geriatrics
Neurology

Latest publication date: 05/08/2021
Supervising author: Dr Desimpelaere Patrick, Dr Aers Isabelle