Dementia Overview and Treatment:
What is Dementia?
“Dr. Spiegel, what is Dementia?”
This may be the most frequent question I hear from patients who have recently been diagnosed with the condition. And although causes of the disease can be as complex as the brain itself, I’ll try to provide a very simple explanation:
Dementia is an umbrella term for a group of diseases that cause people to lose their ability to reason, think, and manage their own lives. These symptoms go beyond those normally associated with aging. Dementia is caused when brain cells become damaged as a result of biological processes within the brain.
Typically, this cruel disease begins with forgetfulness and marked changes in behavior. It can progress quickly or slowly over time. But dementia almost always progresses. Certain medications or illnesses can also bring on the symptoms. Dementia has also been linked to heavy metals, toxins, metabolic changes, and poor nutrition. Many who suffer with late-stage dementia die from medical complications such as pneumonia or other infections. But dementia symptoms in themselves can prove fatal.
Determining a patient’s likely course of dementia and the best treatment depends on two factors:
- What type of dementia the person has
- Which area of their brain is impacted. To accurately diagnose and classify the disease (for example, vascular dementia vs. Alzheimer’s disease), medical specialists use brain imaging, such as MRI or CT scans.
They also use electroencephalogram (EEG) testing to see whether a disorder that impacts brain function may be responsible, such as seizures.
Dementia Treatment & Alzheimer’s Care Program in Florida:
I’ve seen over and over how Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia can devastate lives. My patients and their caregivers face unique and difficult challenges. At our Palm Harbor, Florida center we are frequently able to slow or even reverse dementia symptoms in order for our patients to live independently for as long as possible.
How Can I Know if Your Program is Right for Me or My Family Member?
We understand how difficult it can be to live with the symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Give us a call at (727) 787-7077, and we will be glad to answer your questions. To schedule a consultation at our Palm Harbor, Florida center, simply click here. One of our helpful staff members will call to confirm your appointment.
Our Dementia and Memory Loss Treatment Program Includes:
Diagnosing dementia symptoms can be complex. That’s why the first step is to set up a neurological evaluation with Dr. Spiegel. Together, you will review your medical history of memory loss and other related symptoms – including any past treatments you have tried. We will also perform a few mini mental exercises to evaluate your memory.
Advanced Diagnostic Testing for Dementia:
During your initial office visit we will perform an electroencephalogram (EEG) test. This will measure your brain’s electrical activity and rule out seizures or other disorders that can impact brain function. Dr. Spiegel may also order an MRI or CT scan to rule out other less common causes of memory loss, such as a hemorrhage, tumor or stroke.
Memory Testing and Assessment:
If your first visit and diagnostic tests show that your ability to think, remember or reason has been impaired, we will begin a more in depth assessment. We use computerized neurocognitive testing to accurately measure your brain function. These tests enable Dr. Spiegel to assess the degree of impairment and also further rule-out or identify whether certain medical conditions have caused your symptoms.
Comprehensive Lab Testing:
As part of the diagnostic process, we will take blood and urine samples for analysis. This workup is to check whether a metabolic disorder, such as diabetes, thyroid disease or a vitamin B12 deficiency could be causing your symptoms. We will also order a general chemical analysis, complete blood count and ESR (a test that measures the time it takes for red blood cells to fall or sediment down a tube).
Follow up Consultation and Medication to Improve Memory:
Once we receive all of your test results, Dr. Spiegel will meet with you again to discuss his findings. At that time, he will explain your treatment options and make recommendations. He may also prescribe medications that can help to improve your memory.
Occupational Therapy for Cognitive Rehabilitation:
During this phase of treatment, you begin visiting with our Occupational Therapists who will help you develop strategies and techniques to manage everyday routines and responsibilities in order to regain independence. These include making use of familiar devices, such as journals, calendars or possibly cell phone apps.
Therapists will also provide repetitive exercises geared to your unique needs. These help to restore function and improve your mental capacity. Many patients enjoy solving the written and/or computer-based games and puzzles – especially as they begin to see positive results and feel their self-confidence return. Usually, this restorative training takes four to six weeks to complete, and includes twice weekly visits.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Dementia and Memory Loss:
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) works by flooding the body with oxygen in order to provide vital nutrients to the brain. If Dr. Spiegel determines that your symptoms are vascular in nature (resulting from impaired blood flow), HBOT can help to restore your memory.
Follow up Evaluations:
Dr. Spiegel will see you for visits throughout the program in order to closely monitor your progress and adjust any medications that he may have prescribed for you. Each patient’s progress is unique. As you make improvements, Dr. Spiegel will reassess your condition and fine tune your treatment plan.
Medicare and most other insurers partially or fully cover our Dementia Treatment & Alzheimer’s Care Program.
We understand how challenging it can be to live with Alzheimer’s disease, mild cognitive impairment or vascular dementia. Please call us at (727) 787-7077, and we will be glad to answer your questions or schedule an appointment with Dr. Spiegel. One of our helpful staff members will call to confirm the appointment.
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