Dementia is an umbrella term. It signifies a cluster of diseases that cause noticeable cognitive impairment. Not always is that impairment memory, it can be a change in other things, such as a change in ability to function as before with activities of daily living...can no longer balance a checkbook, can no longer cook, can no longer sew or do the things that you could do before. Sometimes those changes are subtle, sometimes blatant.
Forms of Dementia
The most common form of Dementia is Alzheimer's Disease.
Though Alzheimer's Disease is most common, it does not mean all dementia's are Alzheimer's.
It is very important to get the right diagnosis, as treatment varies according to type. How do I know what type it is?
The first step is to rule out 'pseudo' dementia's (Pseudodementia is a condition related to depression and is not the same as 'false' types of dementia's I am talking about here). See other blogs for more on this.
If all 'false' dementia's are ruled out, medical tests are required to rule out medical causes (Carotid ultrasound, CT scan, MRI, blood tests, electrolytes and hormone levels).
Make sure to make an appointment to see a physician who SPECIALIZES in Dementia.
Don't be afraid of asking for second opinions. If you or your loved one is over 65, find a Geriatrician as they are more versed in Dementia and Alzheimer's and will save you much time and frustration!