Anything that affects a person's mental, learning, or memory abilities is considered a cognitive disorder. A person with a cognitive disorder may have problems communicating properly, problem-solving, understanding language, or decision-making. Treatment becomes necessary when the disorder impacts cognitive function to the point where normal function is impossible. Some common cognitive disorders include:
- Dementia (such as Alzheimer's)
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) or other neurological conditions
Signs and Symptoms of Cognitive Disorders
It is believed that nearly 5 million Americans
suffer from age-related dementia disease. Alzheimer's disease accounts for 70% of these cases, and vascular dementia accounts for most of the remaining cases.
The condition impacts people to different degrees and there is no one path of disease progression. There can be significant variability in the speed at which the disease and brain pathology progresses in individuals, and this variability is important in understanding dementia in the elderly. The progression of dementia in even the same person can vary over time, which accounts for people with late-stage dementia having "good days" or "better days," and often doing better in the morning and afternoon compared to the late evening hours-also known as "sundowner's syndrome."
Some common signs of cognitive disorders include:
- Loss of memory (short-term or long-term)
- Difficulty completing complex activities such as paying bills, prepping meals, etc.
- Identity confusion
- Impaired judgement/safety
- Poor motor coordination, including lack of balance or change in posture
Aging is the single biggest risk factor for the development of dementia. Less than 1% of dementia patients are under the age of 65. In that 1%, the patient typically has a genetic mutation or the presence of pro-dementia genes. In contrast, roughly 40% of individuals over the age of 80 will have Alzheimer's. According to some experts, humans lose up to 70% of their normal cognitive function, such as processing speed and working memory, between the ages of 20 and 80.
When to seek help
Not everyone experiencing memory loss or other warning signs recognizes that they have a problem. Signs of dementia are sometimes more obvious to family members or friends than to the patient themselves. Some treatable medical conditions can cause dementia-like symptoms, so it's important to determine the underlying cause.
If you or a loved one is suffering from memory loss, confusion, or other neurological symptoms, you are not alone. Our team of experts can help identify and treat cognitive disorders. Our highly-skilled physicians, nurses, therapists and other professionals have years of experience using innovative technologies and techniques to help bring comfort and understanding to both patients and caregivers.
Schedule an appointment today for an assessment with one of our cognitive disorder specialists