Wednesday, October 06, 2021

Early detection of dementia is critical

In the Philippines, a medical expert has raised the alarm about the early and proper identification of dementia, which is sometimes misconstrued as an aging condition or as ulyanin and malilimutin in Filipino terminology.

"Malilimutin: Dahil nga ba sa katandaan?" is the first episode of a webinar series titled "Malilimutin: Dahil nga ba sa katandaan?"

Dr. Jacqueline Dominguez, a neurologist and dementia expert, offered her understanding of dementia and how to distinguish it from simple forgetfulness on the side of the patient.

The webinar was sponsored by HI-Eisai to promote awareness about dementia and associated illnesses.

"Dementia is a collection of symptoms with decline in cognition, change in behavior, and impairment of daily function," Dominguez said in the live webinar held last Thursday (Sept 9).

She enumerated the types of dementia, including the most common one, Alzheimer's disease. Other types are fronto-temporal, Parkinson's dementia, dementia due to traumatic brain injury, and dementia due to depression and other medical conditions.

Nina Rayos, a digital influencer, recognized that there is still a lack of understanding when it comes to dementia. Rayos is well-known on social media for her vlogs with her mother, DonyaToyang, who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. She described how it took her family seven years to figure out that Donya Toyang's forgetfulness wasn't related to old age, but rather to the sickness.

"My mother started to show early symptoms of [Alzheimer's disease] in 2012, but we only just had her diagnosed in 2019. We didn't really think about it so much back then, thinking that maybe she's just simply getting old. She forgets a lot of things, and she always misplaces house keys and money," Rayos said.

Her mother's hallucinations were what eventually prompted her to take her to the hospital. Donya Toyang began to grow confused about fundamental day-to-day tasks like cooking, and she began to forget crucial facts in her life like the names of her children and granddaughter, as well as the fact that her parents and other loved ones had already died, according to Rayos.

Disorientation or hallucination, according to Dominguez, is one technique to distinguish amnesia from dementia. She believes that it most certainly dementia when a person's confusion makes it difficult for her to return to reality and identify what is genuine and what is not.

"Early diagnosis prevents the disease from progressing. Elders suffering from dementia are treated badly because the family doesn't really understand their situation," Dominguez explained.

The necessity of family and relatives in recognizing the aforementioned signs was subsequently stressed by Dominguez. She believes that the patients' loved ones can guide them to the best medical treatment for their illness.

Meanwhile, extreme cases of memory loss, where the potential patient can no longer remember a lot of things, when the person is already having difficulty performing tasks that she or he is used to, and when the person is already having poor judgment, are all symptoms to watch out for, according to Dominguez.

The HI-Eisai Pharmaceutical, Inc. Facebook page has the "Malilimutin: Dahil nga ba sa katandaan?" Facebook Live webinars from September 9 and 23, 2021. You can watch it here:

September 9 -

Early detection and treatment are critical in slowing the course of dementia. To ensure that you or a loved one receives the best care available, see your doctor as soon as you notice a sign or symptom.

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