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Understanding How Dementia Is Managed and the Prognosis

Treatment for Dementia

About 10 percent of dementia causes are treatable conditions, meaning that the progression of symptoms can be reversed or at least stopped with early treatment. For the rest, there are no known treatment options available that can stop the progression of symptoms.
 
Drugs that are specifically used to treat Alzheimer's disease and other progressive dementias are now available. Although these drugs do not halt dementia or reverse existing brain damage, they can improve symptoms and slow the progression of the disease. Medications that are used for treatment can:
 
  • Improve an individual's quality of life
  • Ease the burden on caregivers
  • Delay admission to a nursing home.
     
Many researchers are also examining whether these drugs may be useful for treating other types of dementia.
 
Many people with dementia, particularly those in the early stages, may benefit from practicing tasks that are designed to improve performance in specific aspects of cognitive functioning. For example, people with dementia can sometimes be taught to use memory aids, such as mnemonics, computerized recall devices, or note taking.
 
(Click Dementia Treatment for more information about the treatment options for this condition.)
 

Prognosis

There are many disorders that can cause dementia. Some disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease or Huntington's disease, lead to a progressive loss of mental functions. However, other types of dementia can be halted or reversed with appropriate treatment.
 
People with moderate or advanced dementia typically need round-the-clock care and supervision to prevent them from harming themselves or others. They may also need assistance with daily activities such as eating, bathing, and dressing (see Dementia Care).
 
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Information on Dementia

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