5 Common Health Problems Seen in Dementia Patients

In addition to the direct symptoms of dementia, people with dementia will often develop other health conditions, some related to the condition and some related to old age. These conditions can cause more confusion and be very dangerous, especially because a loved one with dementia might not be able to tell you when something is wrong. Because of this, caregivers have to be vigilant. Here are the most common health conditions to look out for.


Depression

Depression in those with dementia is often caused by cognitive decline, which makes it harder to maintain close relationships and leads to a lack of social interactions due to fading social skills. Depression can cause a loved one to withdraw, which makes the depression worse and causes isolation and loneliness.


Depression is often accompanied by aggression, violent behavior, mood swings, personality changes, and delusions. Creating a social environment and taking a loved one for checkups are both great ways of combating depression. If things get too bad, it would be best to consider assisted living or memory care options.


Dysphagia and Related Complications

Dysphagia is a term used to describe swallowing difficulties. Dysphagia can cause several complications, the most common of which is pneumonia and other respiratory illnesses. These illnesses are so common because when one has trouble swallowing, food and drinks can go down the windpipe and end up in the lungs.


Dehydration and Malnutrition

Dysphagia often causes people to choke or cough when they ingest foods and drinks. This leads to fear which, in turn, leads to eating or drinking less, causing dehydration and malnutrition.


It is important to ensure a loved one or patient with dementia eats enough or takes enough fluids and the best way to do this is to use food and drink thickeners. Thickeners slow food down as it gets to the throat, which gives the body enough time to direct it down the esophagus. One option for loved ones with dementia is a food and beverage thickener, such as those from SimplyThick, which can be added to any food or fluid to aid with swallowing and to alleviate the complications that come with dysphagia.


Falls

Although falls are not a medical condition by themselves, they are often caused by one of several health conditions. These include muscle weakness, balance issues, and changes in depth perception due to failing eyesight.


Rearranging the house, keeping it clean, using handrails and bars where possible, ensuring the house and the loved one’s shoes have enough traction and removing rugs are just some of the ways you can reduce the chance of falls.


Dental Problems

Due to forgetfulness, many people with dementia will forget to take care of their teeth and dentures. This leads to dental problems such as decayed teeth, sores, and lumps. Taking a loved one or patient for regular dental checkups will help.


Dementia is a complicated condition that manifests differently in different people. People with dementia often develop other conditions or contract various illnesses, and this is why it is important to keep an eye on them and get them the care they need when they need it.

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