Dementia is a word used to describe any of several mind disorders that affect perception, memory and judgment. Some types of dementia include vascular, frontotemperal and normal pressure hydrocephalus. Alzheimer’s is a progressive, irreversible disease that causes the degeneration of brain cells that leads to severe dementia. Patients with Alzheimer’s disease develop dementia, but, not all dementia patients have Alzheimer’s.
Some types of dementia do respond to treatment. For example, the type of confusion that results from vitamin B-12 deficiency can be reversed, and many symptoms of normal pressure hydrocephalus can be improved with treatment or surgery to place a shunt to regulate the spinal fluid .Other forms of dementia are not reversible. There are new medications for the treatment of Alzheimer’s, but the results are disappointing. If they work at all, it looks like they are only able to delay the progression of the disease for a few months.
The search continues for a real cure, but for now these high risk patients require the watchful care and treatments received in assisted living facilities and residential care homes. Confusion and combativeness are common symptoms in dementia patients. They can harm themselves and others and they require the
supervision of trained caretakers to reduce the risk.