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is a condition that causes loss of memory, thought control, and judgment. Dementia may develop quickly over a few months after a head injury or stroke. It may develop slowly over many years if you have Alzheimer disease. Dementia cannot be cured or prevented, but treatment may slow or reduce your symptoms.

Common symptoms include the following:

  • Loss of short-term memory, followed by loss of long-term memory
  • Trouble remembering to go to the bathroom, to urinate, or have a bowel movement
  • Anger or violent behavior
  • Depression, anxiety, or hallucinations

Seek care immediately if

you or someone close to you notices:

  • You have signs of delirium, such as extreme confusion, and seeing or hearing things that are not there.
  • You become angry or violent, and cannot be calmed down.
  • You faint and cannot be woken.

Call your doctor or have someone else call if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You have increased confusion, behavior, or mood changes.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Treatment for dementia

may include medicines to slow memory loss. You may also need medicines to help control anger, decrease anxiety, or improve your mood.

Manage dementia:

You may begin to need an in-home aide to help you remember your daily tasks. Ask your healthcare provider for a list of organizations that can help. It is best to arrange for help while you are thinking clearly. The following may also help you manage dementia:

  • Keep your mind and body active. Do activities that you love, such as art, gardening, or listening to music. Call or visit people often. This will keep your social skills sharp, and may help reduce depression.
  • Take all of your medicines as directed. This will help control medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
  • Write daily schedules and routines. Record medical appointments, times to take your medicines, meal times, or any other things to remember. Write down reminders to use the bathroom if you have trouble remembering. You may need to ask someone to write things down for you.
  • Place clocks and calendars where you can see them. This will help you remember appointments and tasks.
  • Do not smoke. Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes and cigars can cause blood vessel damage. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help to quit. E-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco still contain nicotine. Talk to your healthcare provider before you use these products.
  • Eat healthy foods. Examples are fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, and fish. Ask if you need to be on a special diet.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Ask someone to go with you to help you remember what your healthcare provider tells you. The person can take notes for you during the visit and go over the notes with you later. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Ā© Copyright IBM Corporation 2021 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotesĀ® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Dementia (Ambulatory Care)

Associated drugs

IBM Watson Micromedex

Symptoms and treatments

Mayo Clinic Reference

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.