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Definition Return to top
Dementia due to metabolic causes is a loss of mental function that can occur with diabetes, thyroid disease, and other metabolic disorders.
Causes Return to top
How often this condition affects different ages, genders, and races varies based on the disorder that is causing the dementia.
Metabolic causes of dementia include:
Symptoms Return to top
Dementia that occurs with metabolic disorders may cause confusion and changes in intellect or reasoning. These changes may be temporary or permanent.
Exams and Tests Return to top
An examination of the nervous system (neurologic examination) can show different problems, depending on the cause. Abnormal reflexes may be present.
Tests may include:
Treatment Return to top
Treatment focuses on the cause of the disorder and on controlling symptoms. Treatment of the cause may include:
As the symptoms get worse, the person may need 24-hour monitoring and care in the home or in a care facility.
Long-term care may include:
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
The outcome varies depending on the cause of the dementia and the amount of damage to the brain.
Possible Complications Return to top
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of dementia.
Call for an appointment if your symptoms get worse or continue, even with treatment for the metabolic cause, or if you have new symptoms.
Go to the emergency room or call the local emergency number (such as 911) if there is a sudden change in mental status or a life-threatening emergency.
Prevention Return to top
Treating the metabolic disorder may reduce the risk of developing this type of dementia.
References Return to top
Farlow MR, Cummings JL. Effective pharmacologic management of Alzheimer's disease. Am J Med. 2007;120:388-397.
Goetz CG, ed. Textbook of Clinical Neurology. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders;2007.Update Date: 2/13/2008 Updated by: Luc Jasmin, MD, PhD, Departments of Anatomy & Neurological Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.