Manifestations of Dementia

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Manifestations of Dementia
Melinda Godfrey
St. John Fisher College

Mrs. Yowell is a 90-year-old woman who is a resident of a long-term care facility. She was alert and mentally quite capable until about a year ago when she began to manifest signs and symptoms of dementia. A review of her medical records failed to document a thorough analysis of her dementia, but a diagnosis of “probable Alzheimer disease” was recorded. What are the common manifestations of dementia?

The definition of Dementia is “a general term for loss of memory and other mental abilities severe enough to interfere with daily life. It is caused by physical changes in the brain.” (Common Types of Dementia, 2012). The first manifestations of Dementia usually are: * Loss of memory – generally the patient doesn’t notice the loss of memory but a loved one will. This is generally the entrée into the physician’s office leading to a diagnosis. * Trouble focusing and following conversations – the patient is unable to handle more than one task at a time and will not be able to perform a task and listen to or follow a conversation easily. * Impaired judgment and reasoning – patients become confused and are unable to cope as well when unexpected events come up. Other symptoms could include: mood changes, personality and behavior changes. As noted, dementia is not a disease itself but a cluster of cognitive changes. The onset symptom of dementia can vary depending on the disease or syndrome that is associated (Common Types of Dementia, 2012). The major dementia diseases or syndromes are: 1. Alzheimer Disease (AD) – AD accounts for 60 – 80% of the cases of dementia (Shadlen & Larson, 2012). 2. Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB) – DLB starts with progressive cognitive decline and usually the patient also has hallucinations, periods of lucidity and some rigidity. DLB has abnormal accumulations of protein structures in the patient’s brain (Dementia With Lewy Bodies...