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Prognosis of Undiagnosed Dementia

by Keith Vaughn
  • Overview

    A diagnosis of dementia has benefits, including getting appropriate care as quickly as possible. However, the prognosis of diagnosed dementia may not be better than that of undiagnosed dementia.
  • Definition

    Dementia refers to a group of symptoms caused by diseases and conditions that affect the brain. Dementia patients may experience cognitive decline to the point that they may no longer be able to care for themselves.
 
  • Symptoms

    Symptoms of dementia may include memory loss, impaired speech and language ability, impaired movement and coordination, inability to learn and recall new information, mood disturbances, behavioral disturbances, hallucinations and delusions.
  • Cause

    Some types of dementia, such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Huntington's diseases, stroke and tumors, are associated with terminal diseases and require long-term treatment. According to WebMD.com, dementia caused by a toxic reaction to drugs or alcohol may be curable.
  • Prognosis

    The prognosis of dementia depends upon the cause of the dementia; the outlook is better for curable forms than for terminal cases. According to an article in the "Annals of Internal Medicine," the prognosis of dementia does not necessarily improve after a confirmed diagnosis.
  • Considerations

    According to research published in the "International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry," barriers to the diagnosis of dementia include lack of routine cognitive screening and lack of access to clinical consultation. A diagnosis allows physicians and caregivers to best determine the treatment that will provide comfort and sustain the dementia patient's quality of life.

    References & Resources