When You Cant Be There
There may be times when you canât go to a doctor visit with your loved one and someone else takes them. If this happens, youâll want to be sure that you find out how it went.
Ask the person whoâll be with your loved one to take notes. They should write down the name and phone number of someone to call if you have questions. Also, have them ask the doctor for written instructions about any changes in care.
If needed, call the nurse or doctor after the appointment to get a report on how the visit went.
Types Of Doctors From A To Z
Audiologist – This is a doctor who handles problems with hearing. These doctors also help hearing impaired children learn to communicate.
Allergist – This is a doctor who helps with allergies. Any allergies you may have, such as, hay fever or asthma, will be checked out by this doctor.
Andrologists – An andrologist is a specialist doctor that helps in diagnosing and treating male reproductive system disorders.
Anesthesiologist – This is the doctor that helps you to sleep through painful operations and medical diagnoses. They are responsible for administering the anesthesia and are present during surgeries to help in complications arising from anesthesia medications.
Cardiologist – A cardiologist is certified to treat any problem dealing with heart diseases and cardiovascular diseases.
Cardiovascular Surgeon – This doctor carries out surgical and invasive techniques dealing with cardiovascular diseases.
Clinical Neurophysiologist – This is a doctor that diagnoses any problem dealing with the central, peripheral and autonomic nervous system with the aid of electrophysiological tests.
Dentist – Any dental problem from tooth decay to dentures to retainers are handled by a dentist. They also treat any gum diseases and oral defects.
Dermatologist – This is a doctor that treats any ailment related to the skin and its appendages such as hair, nails, etc.
Endocrinologist – Thyroid problems, hormone problems or any problems with the endocrine system is handled by an endocrinologist.
Support From The Gp When You Have Dementia
Find out what support is available from a GP when a person has dementia, including the role of the GP in dementia care. The GP can support a person even if they don’t accept their diagnosis.
How the GP can support a person with dementia
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Are Diagnostic Tests Insured
Some insurance and managed care plans will cover the costs of a diagnostic assessment for Alzheimers disease. Check with your health plans administrator to understand the policies and procedures.
Medicare, the governments health-insurance program for people 65 and up, and Medicaid, the joint federal-state medical-assistance program for people with limited income or assets, typically reimburse doctors for a diagnostic assessment and certain medical tests needed to determine if a patient has Alzheimers disease provided your doctor accepts these plans as payment. Talk to your doctor or doctors staff about what is covered.
Compassionate Care For Patients With Memory Loss
Watching a loved one experience memory loss is challenging, and the journey can be emotionally taxing for both you and the person going through it. While this is difficult, it is important to keep in mind that living with memory loss does not mean living in misery. A cure for dementia and Alzheimers may not yet be available, but we have come a long way in making life easier and more comfortable for those who go through it.
Our compassionate team of medical professionals provide comprehensive care and treatments for patients with memory loss. In addition to caring for the patient, we are also here to help their loved ones with counseling and referrals to community resources. We know this is a difficult time for all involved, and our goal is to help your entire family through it.
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Helping Physicians Helps Patients
When even physicians fear and misunderstand the disease, neurologists like Devi find themselves repeatedly explaining that AD and dementia exist on a wide spectrum. Its not good science to pigeon hole everyone, she said, referring to the stereotypical understanding of an Alzheimers patient with severely reduced cognitive abilities and memory. Instead, Devi takes into consideration not only each patients disease type and progression, but also their specialty and organizational roles. She noted that patients in administrative, academic, or technical roles all face different cognitive demands, and some can therefore continue to work while living with cognitive impairment.Devi recalled another patient with Alzheimers, who had previously been told to retire immediately upon her diagnosis at an Alzheimers research center. This doctor ran a highly specialized practice and sudden retirement would have left her patients scrambling for a new specialist.
The specialist sought a second opinion through the Committee for Physician Health of New York State which assists physicians, physicians assistants, and medical students affected by addiction, mental health problems, substance abuse, and cognitive disorders. The CPH program reports receiving 2000 referrals since 1986. Of those referrals, 75% come from colleagues of physicians or physicians themselves.
Maxillofacial Surgeon / Oral Surgeon
Maxillofacial Surgeons are dentists who trained in performing surgery of the mouth and jaw. The maxillofacial surgeons specialize in treating and reconstructing areas of the face, head, or neck after an injury or surgery.
The surgeries include Dentoalveolar surgery, bone-fused dental implants, cosmetic surgery of head and neck, and the corrective jaw surgery.
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What Are Dementia And Alzheimers Disease
Dementia is an umbrella term for symptoms that cause changes in brain functions over time â usually memory loss, changes in behavior, trouble communicating, etc. There are several illnesses that can cause dementia.
Alzheimerâs disease is the most common cause of dementia. Itâs a progressive disease, meaning symptoms usually worsen over time, which causes the brain cells to degenerate and eventually die. The cause of Alzheimerâs disease is still unknown, but itâs generally believed that itâs caused by a combination of genetic, lifestyle, and environmental factors over time.
There are several other types of dementia. The only way to tell which kind you or a loved one may be suffering from is to talk with a doctor. They include:
- Vascular dementia
- Parkinsonâs disease
- Chronic traumatic encephalopathy
Itâs important to remember that dementia and Alzheimerâs disease are NOT normal parts of aging. They are illnesses that should be addressed. Prior to a dementia diagnosis, patients may be given a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment â which can come with getting older. However, people diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment are at increased risk of developing dementia, so itâs important to continue monitoring these patients.
Learn About Neurology Specialists
Though many primary care physicians are able to make an initial diagnosis of dementia and provide basic care for memory-impairing diseases, working with a specialist in brain disorders and taking advantage of the physicians more extensive experience is a necessity for more thorough treatment. According to Dr. Piero G. Antuono, Silverado Brookfield Medical Director, those seeking the most thorough treatment and care of dementia are best served by consulting doctors with formal training and experience in geriatrics, neurology or psychiatry.
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Who Can Diagnose Dementia
Visiting a primary care doctor is often the first step for people who are experiencing changes in thinking, movement, or behavior. However, neurologists doctors who specialize in disorders of the brain and nervous system are often consulted to diagnose dementia. Geriatric psychiatrists, neuropsychologists, and geriatricians may also be able to diagnose dementia. Your doctor can help you find a specialist.
If a specialist cannot be found in your community, contact the nearest medical school neurology department for a referral. A medical school hospital also may have a dementia clinic that provides expert evaluation. You can also visit the Alzheimers Disease Research Centers directory to see if there is an NIA-funded center near you. These centers can help with obtaining a diagnosis and medical management of conditions.
Treatment For Alzheimers Disease
Alzheimers disease is a chronic, progressive condition, meaning there is no cure, though medication can help to slow the progression of symptoms such as memory loss and confusion and preserve a persons ability to perform everyday tasks. Our specialists also work to ensure that family members and caregivers receive the support they need.
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Referral To A Specialist
If a GP is unsure about whether you have Alzheimer’s disease, they may refer you to a specialist, such as:
- a psychiatrist
- an elderly care physician
- a neurologist
The specialist may be based in a memory clinic alongside other professionals who are experts in diagnosing, caring for and advising people with dementia and their families.
There’s no simple and reliable test for diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease, but the staff at the memory clinic will listen to the concerns of both you and your family about your memory or thinking.
They’ll assess your memory and other areas of mental ability and, if necessary, arrange more tests to rule out other conditions.
Variability In The Brain
Theyre all scared, Devi told MD Magazine about patients who come in with memory issues. It comes as a surprise to them that they could have this condition and still be functional. Surprising though it may be, Devi said that many people with dementia, even AD, are still capable of working. Depending on the support systems in place, she said, Ive found doctors with Alzheimers as competent or more competent than their peers.Human brains are, of course, highly complex and individualized organs. We treat like kidneys, which are very similar, Devi said. But theres tremendous variability in the brain. Each person has a unique set of reserves, according to a review of research published by Yaakov Stern, PhD. These assets include both physical brain reserve and cognitive reserve .
Cognitive reserve imparts resilience, according to Stern, in that 2 patients with the same brain size and same amount of brain damage can display different clinical symptoms. A patient with stronger cognitive reserves might not even reach the threshold at which clinical symptoms appear.
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If You Want To Change Doctors
You might decide to change primary care doctors for many reasons. They may not be skilled in the care of people with dementia, or their office might not be convenient. If your loved one moves to a nursing home, you may choose to have them see the doctor there.
If you decide to change, have a new primary care doctor lined up before you leave the current one. Some doctors donât take new patients or there may be a wait list. If possible, schedule a last visit with the current doctor to get copies of medical records, test results, and a current list of medications.
It might be important for the doctor to know why you want to leave. If you donât want to talk about it in person, write them a letter or talk to a nurse on staff.
What Are The Different Types Of Dementia
Various disorders and factors contribute to the development of dementia. Neurodegenerative disorders result in a progressive and irreversible loss of neurons and brain functioning. Currently, there are no cures for these diseases.
The five most common forms of dementia are:
- Alzheimers disease, the most common dementia diagnosis among older adults. It is caused by changes in the brain, including abnormal buildups of proteins, known as amyloid plaques and tau tangles.
- Frontotemporal dementia, a rare form of dementia that tends to occur in people younger than 60. It is associated with abnormal amounts or forms of the proteins tau and TDP-43.
- Lewy body dementia, a form of dementia caused by abnormal deposits of the protein alpha-synuclein, called Lewy bodies.
- Vascular dementia, a form of dementia caused by conditions that damage blood vessels in the brain or interrupt the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain.
- Mixed dementia, a combination of two or more types of dementia.
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How Is Dementia Diagnosed
To diagnose dementia, doctors first assess whether a person has an underlying, potentially treatable, condition that may relate to cognitive difficulties. A physical exam to measure blood pressure and other vital signs, as well as laboratory tests of blood and other fluids to check levels of various chemicals, hormones, and vitamins, can help uncover or rule out possible causes of symptoms.
A review of a persons medical and family history can provide important clues about risk for dementia. Typical questions might include asking about whether dementia runs in the family, how and when symptoms began, changes in behavior and personality, and if the person is taking certain medications that might cause or worsen symptoms.
The following procedures also may be used to diagnose dementia:
Early detection of symptoms is important, as some causes can be treated. However, in many cases, the cause of dementia is unknown and cannot be treated. Still, obtaining an early diagnosis can help with managing the condition and planning ahead.
The Scope Of The Problem
The patient ran a practice and supervised residents at a nearby facility. Memory lapses could increase the risk for medical errors, risking his patients wellbeing and trainees career advancement. Should he decide to retire early and close his practice? What about his teachingwould that be too risky to continue as well? Was he fit to make these decisions for himself?As doctors continue to work later in life, the risk for developing neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimers while still in the workforce continue to rise. Healthcare systems face a challenge in determining guidelines and weighing physicians abilities against patients wellbeing. Devi, the Director of Park Avenue Neurology, sees about 6-10 cases of physicians with signs of cognitive impairment per year. Some are referred to her clinic by their hospital or a state organization, but many, like the surgeon, come to her self-referred.
We dont really know how many physicians have Alzheimers disease, Devi said. However, she noted that given the prevalence of Alzheimers disease and other forms of cognitive impairment in the general population, it is possible to estimate the numbers of physicians affected.
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Mental Cognitive Status Tests
These are usually conducted to evaluate memory, simple problem-solving abilities, and thinking.
The tests can be BRIEF or COMPLEX and intensive depending on what the doctor wants to achieve.
Complex tests are offered by professional neuropsychologists to evaluate judgment, executive function, language, and attention.
Family Medicine Vs Internal Medicine Physicians
Although family medicine and internal medicine physicians can both treat adults, the American College of Physicians say that there are some key differences.
For example, internal medicine doctors have training in both general medicine and subspecialties. They also tend to be more focused on medical issues that affect adults.
Family physicians, meanwhile, have broader training in medicine that allows them to care for both children and adults. They can treat a wide range of medical issues and emphasize disease prevention and health maintenance.
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Fear Stigma And Misunderstanding
The concept of CR suggests that the brain actively attempts to cope with brain damage by using pre-existing cognitive processing approaches or by enlisting compensatory approaches, Stern said. Thus, patients with higher CR are better equipped to handle brain damage, whether from Alzheimers disease or other sources, such as traumatic brain injury.Unfortunately, misinformation and stigma surrounding dementia are widespread. Clichés of people with Alzheimers& shy diseaseusually of people with advanced forms of the disease and debilitating symptomspromote fear, even among physicians.
Danielle Ofri, MD, PhD, internist at Bellevue Hospital, and author of What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear, echoed this sentiment: We doctors fear neurodegenerative disease more than anything else.
For doctors who have spent so many years studying medicine, honing their minds, and healing others, facing a condition like Alzheimers can be devastating. Given the aging of the US population, more and more doctors are interacting with patients with MCI or dementia. We see those patients in the hospital, we know what it looks like and what happens to them, Ofri told MD Magazine.
Key Symptoms Of Dementia
Dr. Kernisan describes the 5 issues that people with dementia typically experience:
- Difficulty with one or more types of mental function, like learning, memory, language, judgement
- Problems that are a change compared to the persons usual abilities
- Problems that make it difficult for them to manage everyday life responsibilities, like work or family
- Problems that arent caused by another mental disorder, like depression
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Support Is Just A Phone Call Away
Dementia Advice responds to the immediate needs of persons with dementia living in community settings and their care partners, who require health related advice, education, information on community resources, and emotional support for events that occur during the course of dementia.
for free, confidential, 24/7, dementia expertise and advice.
Health Link staff will assess your needs and provide advice for your immediate concerns. When needed, you will be referred to a specialized dementia nurse for additional advice.
Need Dementia Advice?
To learn more, visit Dementia Advice .
For other ways to contact us go to ahs.ca/healthlink
- For service referral information, consult the Alberta Referral Directory