Chronic brain - metabolic; Mild cognitive - metabolic; MCI - metabolic; Neurocognitive disorder - metabolic
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 reversed. Left untreated, permanent brain damage, such as dementia, can occur.
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.
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 and correct the underlying 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:
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if symptoms get worse or continue. Go to the emergency room or call 911 or the local emergency number 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.
Budson AE, Solomon PR. Other disorders that cause memory loss or dementia. In: Budson AE, Solomon PR, eds. Memory Loss, Alzheimer's Disease, and Dementia. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2022:chap 17.
Knopman DS. Cognitive impairment and dementia. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 374.
Peterson R, Graff-Radford J. Alzheimer disease and other dementias. In: Jankovic J, Mazziotta JC, Pomeroy SL, Newman NJ, eds. Bradley and Daroff's Neurology in Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2022:chap 95.BACK TO TOP
Review Date: 1/23/2022
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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