Tuesday, 25 September 2012
So many things can make dementia worse
As I've read other people's experiences I have become more aware of the various things that can cause rapid deterioration in a person's dementia symptoms:
Hospitalisation, general anaesthesia, medication (side effects), medication (interaction), herpes outbreaks, constipation, urinary tract infection, undiagnosed pain and dehydration commonly cause people caring for someone with dementia to panic about the sudden decline that they witness. The good news is that in very many cases the deterioration can be arrested and often reversed.
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are particularly nasty in their effect. Often, people are given broad-spectrum antibiotics which don't deal with the infection adequately. Proper urine testing needs to be done in order to decide which antibiotic is needed.
There are probably other things that I've overlooked. It's very important that everyone involved with dementia care knows about all this. The underlying condition is horrible enough without any further avoidable aggravation.
And of course, the way a person is treated by other people may well influence the course of the disease and the severity of the symptoms.