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Dementia Specialist

Golden Oak Medicine -  - Geriatrics

Golden Oak Medicine

Geriatrics & Adult Medicine located in Asheville, NC

If you or a loved one struggle with memory problems and you suspect dementia is to blame, turn to Golden Oak Medicine in Asheville, North Carolina. Kate Marshall, MD, Golnosh Sharafsaleh, MD, MS, AGSF, FAAFP, and their expert team can help you better manage dementia and reduce the risk of disease progression. Call the office to learn more or book an appointment online today.

Dementia Q&A

What are the symptoms of dementia?

Common dementia signs and symptoms include:

  • Memory loss
  • Getting lost while in familiar places
  • Difficulty communicating
  • Forgetting names of friends and family
  • Reduced problem-solving or reasoning skills
  • Problems completing everyday tasks
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Problems coordinating motor functions
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Personality changes
  • Agitation
  • Inappropriate behaviors

Complications that can occur because of dementia include poor nutrition, difficulty swallowing, choking, poor personal hygiene, safety challenges, and a higher risk of pneumonia.

What causes dementia?

Common causes of dementia include:

  • Nerve damage
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Blood vessel damage 
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
  • Infections
  • Immune disorders
  • Metabolic or endocrine disorders
  • Subdural hematomas
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Brain tumors
  • Some medications

Some causes of dementia are reversible, while others aren’t. See the team at Golden Oak Medicine at the first sign of memory issues. 

What are the risk factors for dementia?

Many factors can increase your risk of developing dementia. Examples include:

  • Being over 65
  • Family history of dementia
  • Down syndrome
  • Poor dietary habits
  • Lack of exercise
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • High body mass index (BMI)
  • Diabetes 
  • Depression
  • Air pollution
  • Smoking
  • Head trauma
  • Sleeping problems
  • Some medications

Your risk of developing dementia increases with low levels of vitamin B6, vitamin B12, folate, or vitamin D.

How does my doctor diagnose dementia?

To diagnose dementia and develop a treatment plan if needed, the Golden Oak Medicine team discusses your medical history and symptoms. They complete lab tests, a physical exam, cognitive and neurological evaluations, psychiatric assessments, and more if necessary.

Your specialist may recommend a CT scan, PET scan, MRI, or other imaging procedures to get a more in-depth picture of your brain’s health. 

What are the treatments for dementia?

While there’s no cure for many types of dementia, treatment can reduce symptoms and help you or a loved one better manage their disease. Examples include:

Lifestyle changes

Adopting healthy habits can reduce your risk of dementia symptoms and disease progression. Eat healthy foods, get regular exercise and plenty of sleep, keep your mind active with brain-stimulating exercises, take supplements if your doctor recommends it, and stay socially active. Avoid smoking and manage heart-disease risk factors, depression, or anxiety.


Taking certain medicines can reduce symptoms associated with dementia or delay disease progression. 


Examples of therapies commonly used to reduce dementia include occupational therapy, music therapy, pet therapy, modifying your environment, and simplifying tasks. Your geriatric specialist personalizes each treatment to ensure the best outcome.

To get evaluated or treated for dementia, call the Golden Oak Medicine office or schedule an appointment online today.