Cognitive disorders

Cognitive disorders represent the affectation of our so-called “higher functions”, the mental faculties that allow us to remember what we have learned, continue learning, apply it to our work, in the management of our economy, our home or our daily life, and ultimately be independent in terms of strategy and planning.

These diseases usually begin as mild cognitive impairment, which means subtle symptoms, which still allow people to manage in their daily life, and this is why they do not always consult a specialist. Unfortunately, about 60% of these cases progress to a major cognitive disorder or “dementia”, which already significantly interferes with the independence of the person.

The sorts of “dementias” are high. The best known and most frequent is Alzheimer’s disease (previosly known as “senile dementia”), which usually begins with failures in recent memory, and affects especially older people, but can occur at an early age, even under 50 years old. The second most frequent is “vascular dementia“, which is due to vascular lesions in the brain (infarctions or hemorrhages) and can affect different faculties depending on where these lesions occur. So, preventing their appearance or progression is essential for adequate cognitive health. Other types of “dementia”, such as “fronto-temporal dementia“, affect the conduct and behavior of patients, leading to difficulties for family and social management. In all these cases, the most important aim is to detect the problem as soon as possible, to reach an early diagnosis and apply the existing preventive and therapeutic measures to control it or, at the very least, slow down the natural course of the disease, depending on its cause.

Most of these problems do not have a direct diagnostic test, that is, a “positive or negative” key test that allows the absolute confirmation or exclusion of the disease. Only the direct evaluation by a neurologist, in many cases also supported by the evaluation of a neuropsychologist, and by the interpretation of the convenient complementary tests, allows us to reach a diagnosis of reliable probability to take the correct measures to improve the prognosis.

© Copyright - Dr. Carlos de la Cruz Cosme