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J Korean Med Assoc > Volume 56(12); 2013 > Article
Journal of the Korean Medical Association 2013;56(12):1104-1112.
Published online December 16, 2013.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.5124/jkma.2013.56.12.1104   
Diagnosis and treatment of dementia in primary care
Hyun Ghang Jeong, Changsu Han
1Department of Psychiatry, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. hancs@korea.ac.kr
2Korea University Mental Health Institution, Seoul, Korea.
Dementia has became a major public health problem as the aged population is rapidly increasing. Dementia is underdiagnosed in primary care and many primary care physicians are hesitate to diagnose dementia. Early detection and starting appropriate treatment has been emphasized in managing dementia patients. The role of primary care physicians in caring for patients with demantia is important to efficiently manage dememtia and related socioeconomic burden since they meet first many patients mostly in initial stage of diseases. Primary care physicians pay attention to early sign and symptoms of dementia and are able to differentiate pathologic condition from normal age related cognitve decline. They should actively performe the screenig test and comprehensive clinical evaluation for suspected dementia patients. After diagnosis of dementia, they have to help thier patients to start and maintain appropriate pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments and provide supports for dementia patients and their caregivers. To optimal management of dementia, primary care physicians also need to strengthen collaboration with specialists in treatment and lead their patients to utilize social servicies. It is necessary to develop systemized education programs for primary care physicians and standardized giudeline for maniging demenita in parimary care. Primary care physicians need to keep acquring up-to-date knowlege about dementia and to screen and detect dementia in suspected dementia patients. They should provide appropriate treatments for patinets in the collaboration with specialists and infrom their patients available social services.
Key Words: Dementia, Memory disorders, Primary health care, Alzheimer disease


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