Dementia: When should one seek medical advice?

Updated at: Jan 18, 2013
Dementia: When should one seek medical advice?

Dementia progresses slowly over time and after diagnosis, the doctor will recommend regular follow-ups to assess mental function and other problems. Consult a doctor if you, or any of your loved ones, have any memory or behavioural problem suggest

Dr Poonam Sachdev
Mental HealthWritten by: Dr Poonam SachdevPublished at: Feb 24, 2012

Dementia progresses slowly over time and after it is diagnosed, the doctor will recommend regular follow-ups to assess mental function and other problems. Here are some reasons to seek medical advice for dementia.

Consult a doctor if you have one or more of the following symptoms suggestive of some significant medical problem:

  • Sudden numbness or  weakness in a part of the body (face, arms, or legs, especially on one side of the body) or inability to move the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body.
  • Trouble in vision (in one or both eyes) such as blurring, double vision, loss of vision, or a sensation that a shade is being pulled down over your eyes.
  • Confusion or trouble in speaking or comprehending speech.
  • Dizziness, trouble walking, loss of balance or coordination, and unexplained falls
  • Loss of consciousness.
  • Sudden and severe headache with no known cause.

These are some symptoms suggestive of stroke or TIA which can lead to vascular dementia. The doctor can diagnose the cause of your symptoms and treat them accordingly.

Consult a doctor immediately if:

  • The person develops symptoms such as confusion, delirium, worrisome emotional disturbance, hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not actually present), or memory loss which progress rapidly.
  • There is a significant change in the behaviour or symptoms of dementia worsen rapidly.

Watchful Waiting

Anyone can experience forgetfulness or memory loss. But if memory loss and shortened attention span are not severe enough to disturb your work, social life, or ability to function you can wait. Some degree of memory loss can occur as a normal part of aging. But if the memory loss is aggravating or causing problems with daily living, it should be reported to a doctor. Memory loss is usually the first symptom of dementia.

Whom to See

Health professionals who can examine and assess for memory loss or confusion and guide regarding further treatment include;

  • Nurse practitioner.
  • Physician assistant.
  • Family medicine physician.
  • Internist.
  • Geriatrician.
  • Neurologist.
  • Psychiatrist.





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