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Diagnosing and Managing Dementia: What Every Adult Should Know

May 01, 2023
Diagnosing and Managing Dementia: What Every Adult Should Know
Because there’s no cure for dementia, you may decide it’s better not to think about it. But not thinking about dementia won’t prevent its progression. Keeping your brain healthy starts with learning about dementia and how to recognize early signs.

Alzheimer’s disease (and other forms of dementia) is the second most feared condition in the United States, after cancer. Dementia robs you of your memories and even your identity, over time. Severe dementia also limits mobility and interferes with your ability to speak and eat. 

Although Alzheimer’s is the best known form of dementia, it isn’t the only one. Other types of dementia are:

  • Vascular dementia
  • Lewy body dementia
  • Frontotemporal dementia 

Today, about 7 million older women and men in the United States have symptoms of dementia. With aging Baby Boomers, that number is expected to increase to 9 million by 2030, even as the proportion of older adults affected by dementia continues to decline by about 1%-2.5% per year.

At Advanced Medical Care, with locations in Brooklyn and Queens, New York, our expert neurologists evaluate and diagnose all forms of dementia. We design individualized treatment protocols to slow disease progression. 

Although dementia can’t be cured, both prevention and early diagnosis are key to successfully managing symptoms. Are you at risk for dementia? If so, how can you prevent it or get an early diagnosis for the best outcome? The answers are here.

Know your risk factors

When it comes to dementia, the more you know, the more likely it is that you can prevent it or slow its progression. Not thinking about it won’t make symptoms go away or halt its advance.

When you’re aware of your risk, you can take action. You’re most likely to develop dementia if you:

  • Are a woman
  • Have a family history of dementia
  • Have the gene mutation APOE e4 
  • Are more than 65 years old
  • Have suffered a traumatic brain injury
  • Are Latino or African American
  • Have a history of stroke
  • Have cardiovascular disease

Even if you have one or more risk factors for dementia, you may be able to prevent or delay its onset with lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and losing weight. If you’re worried about your risk, we can test you to evaluate where you are now, and your neurologist may recommend preventive measures. 

Genes are not your destiny

Even though a mutation in the apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene — APOE e4 — is a risk factor for dementia, as is having a family history of Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, that doesn't mean you’ll develop cognitive decline. It does, however, mean that you have 2-3 times the risk of someone without the mutation.

If you have two copies of the APOE e4 mutation (one from each parent), your risk is 8-12 times the average risk. But don’t despair: Again, even two mutations don’t decide your fate. An increased risk can lead you to positive action, such as early evaluation and lifestyle changes to protect your brain.

Don’t ignore symptoms

Worrying about dementia and ignoring symptoms won’t prevent its onset. Evaluating the way you think and feel, however, can help you predict if you’re at increased risk. Many people become more forgetful as they age, but they don’t necessarily develop dementia. 

If you have older parents, you may also stay alert to possible changes in their cognition. Troubling signs that warrant evaluation include:

  • Repeating stories and information 
  • Forgetting recent events or conversations
  • Misplacing things regularly or putting them in odd places
  • Getting lost while driving to familiar locations
  • Being confused about dates
  • Balance problems
  • Using the wrong words to describe common objects
  • Problems recognizing faces
  • Losing things and accusing people of stealing 
  • Using poor judgment with money
  • Changes in personality and appearance

The sooner you receive a dementia diagnosis, the sooner you or your loved one can begin treatment. Many FDA-approved medications help to slow down the disease and improve symptoms.

To determine your risk for dementia, or to get treatment for yourself or a loved one, contact one of our offices by phone or book an appointment online with the neurology team at Advanced Medical Care today.

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At Advanced Medical Care, care is not just a part of our name — it is in our hearts. Our providers strive to put our patients first and find solutions to meet their needs on every level. If you’re ready to start improving your health, we encourage you to schedule an appointment at our office in Queens or Brooklyn.