How Primary Care Physicians Manage Practices Of Dementia?

Who is a primary care physician? Anyone you contact for the first time upon incurring a health issue is known as a primary care physician. Such doctors specialize in general internal medicine while providing comprehensive care to the patient throughout their condition. This includes the doctor you visit whenever a health problem arises, pharmacists, dentists, nurses, and other healthcare providers. 

Individuals who have dementia have trouble remembering basic information about themselves, others, life events, and more. It relates to the weakened ability to think and comprehend different situations. Needless to say, people who have dementia face difficulties to a great extent in completing various tasks on a daily basis.  

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Generally, dementia has severe effects on people above the age of 65. According to experts, there are many kinds of dementia among which, Alzheimer’s disease is the most common one. Research suggests that up to 6.2 million older adults living in the United States of America currently have Alzheimer’s dementia. 

It is vital to understand that everyone has varying symptoms of dementia. These include facing difficulty during day-to-day communication, memory loss, reduced attention span, and impaired vision. On the other hand, the causes of dementia are as follows; 

  • Poor heart health 
  • Aging
  • Traumatic brain/head injury 
  • Family history 

A Family doctor is the first healthcare provider anyone contacts when they start doubting theirs or a loved one’s mental condition. Hence, it is necessary for them to be able to manage dementia effectively. These professionals look after the patient from the earlier stages of such illness until the end. 

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Let’s Talk About The Role Of Primary Care Physicians In The Life Of Dementia Patients 

Now that you understand the fundamentals of our topic, it is time to discuss the role of a family doctor in the life of someone experiencing dementia. Here’s what you need to know;   

  1. Prevention: It is vital to realize that not all older adults are going to have dementia. It does not happen overnight but takes time to develop. First, it is your responsibility to visit the doctor’s office for regular check-ups if there is a family history of dementia or you are exposed to any other causes. 
    Primary care physicians recommend different activities like daily exercising, reduced tobacco and alcohol consumption, and more to reduce any risks. Doctors suggest diabetes patients maintain a balanced diet to keep their condition from getting worse. People going through depression and anxiety are also asked to manage their social interaction while seeking therapy from a professional.
  2. Diagnosing A Person’s Condition At The Right Time: This is the most important task of a primary care physician. They need to assess the behavioral changes in a person to make a timely diagnosis based on the updates provided by the family members and friends. Diagnosing the problem at the right time proves helpful in a lot of ways. 

It lessens the uncertainty of the patient’s condition, gives more time to plan and prepare for the future, and reduces any institutionalization spending. Another thing to note here is that diagnosis should only be performed if a person has any symptoms of dementia. 

  1. Using The Elimination Process To Be Sure Of Dementia: It is possible for an illness to look like dementia when it really isn’t. Doctors need to see if the condition of a person is associated with a brain tumor, vitamin B12 deficiency, depression, and vascular disease. There could be some kind of infection, side effects of medicines, and unmonitored chronic diseases causing an individual to show signs of dementia. 
  2. Figuring Out The Stage Of Dementia: It is the responsibility of a primary care physician to see if the symptoms are related to aging or not. They need to know if it’s only memory loss a person is suffering from or are there any other apparent symptoms like interference with daily tasks. All of it proves helpful in determining the stage of dementia. Once the doctor arrives at a conclusion, the next stage is to figure out the type of dementia and come up with a fruitful treatment plan. 
  3. Informing The Patient & Family Members: A part of how the family doctor manages the practices of dementia includes telling the patient and their loved ones. They need to disclose the news as sensitively as possible, along with giving them a carefully laid out treatment plan. Every detail has to be informed compassionately. 

The real work begins after completing the diagnosis. This includes regular evaluations and developing strategies to make the patient feel heard and valued. 

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A study suggests that there is no cure for dementia, but you can manage it to keep it from worsening with the assistance of a primary care physician who is fully aware of their patient’s condition.