Ask the Expert: Dementia Myths

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drAsk the Expert: Dementia Myths

By: Venkata Kada, MD

While mild forgetfulness can be a normal part of aging, it can also be a sign of a more serious memory problem, such as dementia.  Dr. Venkata Kada with Hannibal Regional Medical Group would like you to know two common misconceptions of dementia are that it is a normal part of aging and that memory loss is dementia.  Dementia is not a normal part of the aging process and although it generally involves memory loss, memory loss alone does not mean dementia.

Dementia describes a group of symptoms affecting memory, thinking and social abilities severely enough to interfere with daily functioning.  Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of a progressive dementia in older adults and there is currently no cure for it. The objective in management of Alzheimer’s disease is improvement in quality of life and treatment of symptoms.

Dementia does not always mean Alzheimer’s disease, there are other less common causes.  There are medical disorders which could affect an individual’s memory and usually memory impairment can improve if the cause is identified.

Dr. Kada is board certified in geriatric medicine, which allows him to combine a deep understanding of the biology of aging with advanced knowledge of its associated diseases and conditions. Dr. Kada shares, “Recognition of cognitive impairment in its early stage is difficult most of the time because the changes are subtle and individuals either intentionally or unintentionally learn to overcome or ‘deal’ with them until they progress to significantly influence their quality of life or ability to perform the basic tasks.”

There are various terms used to describe cognitive impairment – age associated cognitive decline, mild cognitive impairment, dementia etc.  Talk to your physician to understand them better and help take care of yourself or your family member if needed.  If you have a concern about your memory or a family member’s memory, an evaluation by an experienced physician to identify these changes may help diagnose the condition at an early stage.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Kada call 573-629-3500.

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