Overall wellness extends beyond the physical well-being of a person. When an individual becomes disabled, it includes more than just a breakdown of the physical processes. More often than not, with physical decline will come cognitive decline.
Cognitive function is a multidimensional concept that includes attention, concentration, learning, memory, problem-solving ability, visuospatial abilities, mental flexibility, psychomotor efficiency, and manual dexterity. Frequently reported deficits are difficulties with attention and concentration, learning new information, and recalling recently learned information.
These symptoms will not appear immediately, but rather will appear gradually and worsen over time. It is very common for disabled individuals to require the need to write lists, keep calendars, or require prompting from family and/or friends where such assistance was not required prior to the onset of their disability.
The effects of cognitive decline cannot be underestimated. Even minimal and subtle cognitive deficits may be profoundly and unacceptably disturbing to a person's quality of life. The effect on work performance is devastating due to declines in productivity and dependability.
Many disease processes will involve cognitive deficits including:
- Chronic Pain Syndromes - cervical or lumbar conditions, complex regional pain, facial pain, migraine headache, neuropathies, fibromyalgia etc.
- Parkinson's or Alzheimer's Syndromes
- Persons undergoing treatment therapies such as chemotherapy or medication
- Brain injuries (traumatic or stroke) or other neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis, tumors, and the like
- Conditions causing extreme fatigue such as HIV, chronic fatigue syndrome, lupus, hypothyroidism, sleep apnea/narcolepsy, and many others
- Post-surgical effects of cardiac bypass procedures
It is important that you report these problems to your treatment providers in order that they may have a full understanding of all the symptoms you are suffering. This will assist your physicians in making a full diagnostic work-up and rendering complete care for you.