Internal Medicine & Geriatrics located in Herndon, VA


Early dementia signs include memory loss and confusion, but you need an expert diagnosis to determine the cause. If you or a family member develops dementia symptoms, visit Richard Hilburn, MD, FACP, at Goals of Care, PLLC, in Herndon, Virginia. Dr. Hilburn and his team specialize in diagnosing and treating conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, the most common cause of dementia. Call Goals of Care, PLLC, to schedule a dementia assessment or complete the online booking form.

Dementia Q & A

What is dementia?

Dementia is a symptom of disorders responsible for reduced brain function. These conditions typically affect people in later life. The main disorders causing dementia are:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Lewy body dementia
  • Frontotemporal disorders
  • Vascular dementia

These conditions cause primary dementia, in which symptoms are progressive and incurable. Certain medical disorders, including kidney disease and hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid gland), may sometimes cause dementia symptoms, but treating the underlying condition resolves them.

What symptoms indicate someone has dementia?

The most widely recognized symptom is memory loss, but dementia can have many other cognitive and behavioral effects, including:

  • Confusion
  • Anger and agitation
  • Easily getting lost
  • Difficulty communicating
  • Failing problem-solving skills
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Loss of coordination
  • Personality changes
  • Inappropriate, out-of-character behavior
  • Worsening organizational skills

Dementia symptoms gradually worsen, and patients may develop problems such as speech loss, hallucinations, and aggression.

How does dementia progress?

As dementia worsens, memory loss becomes so severe that patients don’t recognize loved ones or believe they’re living many decades ago. Eventually, patients may lose motor function, becoming unable to move independently.

Dementia is an immensely distressing, challenging condition for the person involved and their loved ones. Patients often experience periods in which they can remember and think clearly, and fear the inevitable decline in their brain function will suffer.

Seeing someone they love decline can be heartbreaking for family and friends. It can also be exceptionally stressful looking after someone with dementia, and most people require specialized care as their condition worsens.

What treatments are available for dementia?

Because primary dementia is incurable, the team at Goals of Care, PLLC, focuses on reducing the disease’s progress and addressing symptoms.

Cholinesterase inhibitor medications can help with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease and may be effective for other forms of dementia. Starting the drugs early provides the best results.

For moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease, Goals of Care, PLLC, might prescribe NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) antagonists. These medicines help people continue with everyday activities for longer. 

Patients with vascular dementia benefit from improved blood vessel health, so reducing blood pressure and cholesterol levels and leading a healthier lifestyle are important. Patients with dementia also benefit from art and music therapy and reminiscence sessions with a skilled therapist.

Call Goals of Care, PLLC, today and request a dementia evaluation if you’re worried about yourself or someone close. You can also use the online booking form to schedule a consultation.