Do Not Let Early Forgetfulness Become "Memory Loss"
Dementia is one of the most common diseases among the elderly around the world, approximately 90 percent of cases found in the age between 60 and 65 years, with more occurrence in women. The common presenting symptom of most patients is cognitive impairment and it takes 4 – 5 years to realize that it is dementia. The symptoms of memory problems include forgetfulness, repeatedly asking the same questions, inability to recall events, changes of mood and behavior, being unable to learn new things, changes of language use, calculation, thinking and comprehension. However, cognitive impairment does not occur only in the elderly and can be found in younger people. The condition known as early onset dementia is caused by genetic diseases, frontotemporal dementia or other conditions such as brain infection, toxins or cerebrovascular diseases and etc. Dr. Inthiporn Maethasith, our neurologist, behavioral neurology specialist, Bangkok Hospital Hua Hin shares that early detection in mild cognitive impairment is very important for patient with slight forgetfulness without daily activity involvement. Current necessary intervention including medications will help slow down the disease progression or, in another word, may prevent the dementia. A proper care along with understanding caregivers with an emphasis on cognitive training will improve the quality of life. The most common etiologies of dementia:
  1. Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common etiology of dementia. It is caused by the degeneration of brain cells and it is not reversible. However, with proper care, the patient can have a good quality of life.
  2. Vascular Dementia is the second most common etiology of dementia. It is caused by reduction of blood flow to the brain, from either thrombotic or hemorrhagic strokes. The main causes of this disease are high blood pressure, diabetes, hyperlipidemia and smoking.
The severity of dementia can be categorized into 4 stages, as follows Stage I: Mild, patients in this stage has slight symptoms which sometimes are not noticed by the family members. The patients may have changes of mood and behavior such as repeatedly asking, lack of interest and can get easily upset. At this stage, the patients can still live by themselves and maintain their daily activities with good decision making. Stage 2: Moderate, the patient may have difficulty in understanding, learning, problem solving and decision making including calculation skill, executive or visuospatial function. Some start to forget names of the family members and at the end of this stage, the patient may experience psychotic symptoms such as hallucination and delusion. At this stage, the patients cannot live alone and require care and treatments. Stage 3: Severe, the patient will have almost complete memory loss and difficulty to maintain his/her daily activities. Also patient may have mobility problems and toilet problems. Stage 4: Profound, at this stage, the patients are bed bound and may has disability in swallowing. The patients are totally dependent and need total care. Approximately, each stages of dementia will progress within 3 – 5 years depends on severity of diseases, etiology and treatment care plan. Diagnosis of dementia, the neurologist will provide history taking; symptoms duration and progression, along with neurological examination, cognitive screening test and options of varies investigations such as blood tests, a computerized brain tissue imaging (CT/MRI Brain), a visual inspection of brain function (PET scan), electroencephalogram, cerebrospinal fluid study, or brain pathology for definite diagnosis which will have to be individually chosen. In trending of aging society, cognitive problems and dementia will become one of the most common symptoms experienced by many elderly. Reducing severe disability from disease and health conditions is one key to holding down health and increase lifeexpansion. The estimate of one out of ten patients diagnosed of dementia can be reversible and delayed progression. Therefore, patients who complain of recent forgetfulness or notice of abnormal memory by family member should see neurologist for further suggestions and investigations.” Dr. Inthiporn concluded. ************************************************************************** For more information and booking an appointment, please contact : Tel. 032-616-800 Call Center, Bangkok Hospital Hua Hin Tel: 032-616-880 (7.00 – 19.00 hrs.) Out-patient Department, ground floor Line : @bangkokhuahin or