Posterior Cortical Atrophy: Diagnosis And Treatment

Posterior cortical atrophy is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects vision. Today we will discover what symptoms alert us to its presence and the possible treatments that currently exist.

Posterior cortical atrophy is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects vision entirely or only partially. It can be accompanied by slight memory leaks. In this article we will discuss this disorder in depth and discover how to identify it early.

Typically, this disorder is not diagnosed early. The reason is that, when causing visual symptoms, people usually go to an ophthalmologist instead of a neurologist (something that happens much later).

Due to this, we consider it essential to identify the symptoms that may be alerting us to the presence of posterior cortical atrophy. Here are some signs that we should not ignore.

Phases of posterior cortical atrophy

Elderly man with memory loss

The article that we have previously mentioned exposes a series of phases that posterior cortical atrophy goes through. Ideally, these symptoms should be brought to the attention of a neurologist as soon as possible for immediate treatment.

  • Gradual and slow onset of visual failure : the patient may see some specific shadows or lose vision, too, at a specific moment. The failure is so progressive and slow that it does not attract attention until it worsens.
  • Absence of ophthalmological pathology : if the patient goes to an ophthalmologist, he or she will not see any pathology that is causing these vision failures. Therefore, you will continue to lead a normal life until the symptoms get worse.
  • Small memory losses : as the disorder worsens, small memory losses occur that can be considered normal. However, when the disease progresses these will increase.
  • Principles of dementia : the patient will show hypometabolism and hypoperfusion that will be detected thanks to a test to perform a neuroimaging study. Dementia arises when the disease is in a fairly advanced state.

    Diagnosis of cortical atrophy

    As we have seen, the symptoms of cortical atrophy are very slow and progressive. Therefore, when patients go to the neurologist, it is already too late. Therefore, in the face of any vision failure to which a slight memory loss is added, we should not hesitate to put ourselves in the hands of a professional.

    The first test to diagnose cortical atrophy is to do a blood test. Through this, vitamin deficiencies can be detected, among another series of results. Afterwards, a much more complete ophthalmological exam will be performed.

    These tests to make a proper diagnosis do not stop here. To clear up any doubt, neurological tests will be performed, including MRIs and CT scans. If everything indicates that we are facing a case of posterior cortical atrophy, then there are different treatments that a patient can choose.

    Treatment of atrophy

    Elderly man playing chess

    Once the diagnosis is positive for posterior cortical atrophy, there are two possible treatments. None of them is a cure for this disorder. Well, as we have seen, it is a degenerative disease.

    • Medications : used to treat symptoms that may arise due to suffering from this disorder. The drugs are intended to reduce anxiety and improve depression in cases where it occurs.
    • Therapy : the patient can undergo cognitive therapy to preserve those skills that are not damaged and delay their loss. Also, physiotherapy will also be of great help in these circumstances.

    The two treatment options that currently exist for posterior cortical atrophy focus on improving patients’ quality of life while treating their symptoms. The objective is to delay the deterioration of abilities and skills, improving the states of anxiety and depression that this disease can cause.

    The importance of an early diagnosis

    With this article, we want you to be aware of the symptoms that surround posterior cortical atrophy so that, at the first signs, you go to the doctor as soon as possible. The goal is to have it diagnosed as soon as possible. This way, appropriate treatment can be started without delay.

    In these cases, an early diagnosis will make a big difference. So do not hesitate to go to the doctor, even if the symptoms are not alarming.

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