When it comes to older adults with cognitive difficulties, the word Alzheimer’s is often floated around. Indeed, many cases of dementia are Alzheimer’s, but not all of them. In fact, studies have found that around 20-40 percent of dementia patients have a disorder other than Alzheimer’s. Why is this such an important distinction?

It is because other disorders require different treatments than Alzheimer’s. What works for managing Alzheimer’s may not work for other disorders.

Another reason is that proper diagnosis leads to better care planning. When given the right disorder, doctors and caregivers can plan how to deal with the dementia more accurately. It also gives families the ability to better prepare for how the disorder will progress.

Finally, some potential dementias can be treated. This is mainly in the case of dementia’s caused by negative medication reactions or nutritional issues.

When it comes to dementia, think beyond the Alzheimer’s label. Also, if you or anyone you know is experiencing cognitive issues, talk to your primary care doctor. He or she may be able to help determine potential causes.

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