Dementia due to metabolic causes
Dementia is loss of brain function that occurs with certain diseases.
Dementia due to metabolic causes is a loss of brain function that can occur with abnormal chemical processes in the body. With some of these disorders, if treated early, brain dysfunction can be reversible. Left untreated, permanent brain damage, such as dementia, can occur.
Chronic brain - metabolic; Mild cognitive - metabolic; MCI - metabolic
Possible metabolic causes of dementia include:
Metabolic disorders may cause confusion and changes in thinking or reasoning. These changes may be short-term or lasting. Dementia occurs when the symptoms are not reversible. Symptoms can be different for everyone. They depend on the health condition causing the dementia.
The early symptoms of dementia can include:
As the dementia gets worse, symptoms are more obvious and interfere with the ability to take care of yourself:
The person may also have symptoms from the disorder that caused dementia.
Exams and Tests
Depending on the cause, a nervous system (neurologic examination) is done to identify the problems.
Tests to diagnose a medical condition causing the dementia may include:
The aim of treatment is to manage the disorder and control symptoms. With some metabolic disorders, treatment may stop or even reverse the dementia symptoms.
Medicines used to treat Alzheimer disease have not been shown to work for these types of disorders. Sometimes, these drugs are used anyway, when other treatments fail to control the underlying problems.
Plans should also be made for home care for people with dementia.
Outcome varies, depending on the cause of the dementia and the amount of damage to the brain.
Complications may include the following:
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if symptoms get worse or continue. 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.
Treating the underlying cause may reduce the risk for metabolic dementia.
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Peterson R, Graff-Radford J. Alzheimer disease and other dementias. In: Daradoff RB, Jankovic J, Mazziotta JC, Pomeroy SL, eds. Bradley's Neurology in Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 95.
Review Date: 2/27/2018
Reviewed By: Joseph V. Campellone, MD, Department of Neurology, Cooper Medical School at Rowan University, Camden, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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