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Feature Article

Dementia: how to reduce the risk and impact

ELEANOR CURRAN, TERENCE CHONG, NICOLA LAUTENSCHLAGER

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© AUDRA GERAS
© AUDRA GERAS

Abstract

This pragmatic update on prevention, diagnosis and management of Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia focuses on the crucial role of GPs in each phase of patient care. Minimising risk factors for dementia across the lifespan has the potential to reduce dementia incidence. Although disease-modifying therapies remain elusive for most types of dementia, current interventions can materially improve the lives of people with dementia and their families.

Key Points

  • Addressing risk factor modification for dementia should be considered in all patients, particularly those at higher risk.
  • Memory concerns raised by patients or families should be explored rather than dismissed as an expected part of ageing.
  • Early diagnosis of dementia provides benefits to patients and their families.
  • A person- and family-centred approach and effective communication are key to accurate assessment and management of patients with dementia.
  • Management should consider cognitive and neuropsychiatric symptoms, function, comorbidities, future planning and the needs of carers; patient preferences should be followed as far as possible.

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© AUDRA GERAS
© AUDRA GERAS