Dementia – What is it, Causes, Symptoms and Treatments!

Dementia – What it is, Causes, Symptoms and Treatments that many are unaware of. Also, Dementia  is not a specific disease. Rather, Dementia  describes a group of symptoms that affect memory, thinking, and social skills severely enough to interfere with daily functioning.

Although dementia  usually involves memory loss, memory loss has different causes. So memory loss alone doesn’t mean you have dementia . Alzheimer ‘s disease is the most common cause of progressive dementia  in older adults, but there are several causes of dementia .

Depending on the cause, some symptoms of dementia  can be reversed. Dementia can be grouped into two large groups: reversible and irreversible, the latter also called degenerative. Irreversible dementias are also progressive, meaning they get worse over time. The best example of Degenerative Dementia  is Alzheimer’s disease .

The damage done to the brain in this case cannot, therefore, be stopped or reversed. Reversible dementias are those that, despite causing damage to the brain, can have their symptoms reversed. Good examples for this case are brain tumors, vitamin B12 deficiency, normotensive hydrocephalus, among others.

Causes of Dementia:  Dementia involves damage to nerve cells in the brain, which can occur in various areas of the brain. Dementiaaffects people differently depending on which area of ​​the brain is affected . Dementias are often grouped together by what they have in common, such as which part of the brain is affected or worsening over time (progressive dementias).

Some dementias, such as those caused by a reaction to medications or vitamin deficiencies, may improve with treatment. Several diseases are behind the causes of Dementia . Types of dementias that progress and are not reversible include:

  • Alzheimer’s disease. In people age 65 and older, Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia . Although the cause of Alzheimer’s disease is not known, plaques and tangles are often found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease. The plaques are clumps of a protein called beta-amyloid, and the tangles are fibrous tangles made up of tau protein. Certain genetic factors can make people more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Vascular dementia. This second most common type of dementia occurs as a result of damage to the vessels that supply blood to your brain. Blood vessel problems can be caused by stroke or other blood vessel conditions.
  • Lewy body dementia. Lewy bodies are abnormal groups of proteins that have been found in the brains of people with Lewy body dementia, Alzheimer ‘s disease and Parkinson’s disease . This is one of the most common types of progressive dementia.
  • Frontotemporal dementia. This is a group of diseases characterized by the degradation (degeneration) of nerve cells in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain , areas usually associated with personality, behavior and language. As with other dementias, the cause is not known.
  • Mixed dementia. Autopsy studies of the brains of people age 80 and older who had dementia indicate that many had a combination of Alzheimer’s disease , vascular dementia , and Lewy body dementia Studies are ongoing to determine how mixed dementia  affects symptoms and treatments.

Other Disorders: Other disorders linked to dementia  include:

  • Huntington’s Disease. Caused by a genetic mutation, this disease causes certain nerve cells in your brain and spinal cord to go to waste. Signs and symptoms, including a severe decline in thinking (cognitive) skills, usually appear around age 30 or 40.
  • Head trauma. This condition is caused by repetitive trauma to the head, as experienced by boxers, football players, or soldiers. Depending on which part of the brain is injured, this condition can cause signs and symptoms of dementia , such as depression, outbursts, memory loss , uncoordinated movement, and speech disturbances, as well as slow movement, tremors, and stiffness (parkinsonism). Symptoms may not appear until years after the trauma.
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. This common brain disorder usually occurs in people with no known risk factors. This condition could be due to an abnormal shape of a protein. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease can be inherited or caused by exposure to diseased brain or nervous system tissue. Signs and symptoms of this fatal condition usually appear by age 60.
  • Parkinson’s disease. Many people with Parkinson’s disease eventually develop symptoms of dementia ( Parkinson ‘s Disease Dementia ).

DementiaDementia-like conditions that can be reversed: Some causes of dementia  or dementia -like symptoms can be reversed with treatment. They include:

  • Infections and immune disorders. Dementia -like symptoms can result from fever or other side effects from your body’s attempt to fight an infection. Conditions like multiple sclerosis that result from the body’s immune system attacking nerve cells can also cause dementia .
  • Metabolic problems and endocrine abnormalities. People with thyroid problems, low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), too little or too much sodium or calcium, or an impaired ability to absorb vitamin B-12 may develop symptoms similar to dementia or other personality changes.
  • Nutritional deficiencies. Not drinking enough fluids (dehydration); Not getting enough thiamine (vitamin B-1), which is common in people with chronic alcoholism And not getting enough vitamins B-6 and B-12 in your diet can cause dementia -like symptoms .
  • Drug reactions. A reaction to a drug or an interaction of several drugs can cause dementia -like symptoms .
  • Subdural hematomas. Bleeding between the surface of the brain and the covering over the brain, which is common in the elderly after a fall, can cause symptoms similar to dementia  .
  • Poisoning. Exposure to heavy metals such as lead and other poisons such as pesticides, as well as alcohol abuse or recreational drug use can lead to symptoms of dementia . Symptoms may resolve with treatment.
  • Brain tumors. Rarely, dementia can result from damage from a brain tumor.
  • anoxia. This condition, also called hypoxia, occurs when organ tissues are not getting enough oxygen. Anoxia can occur due to severe asthma, heart attack, carbon monoxide poisoning, or other causes.
  • Normal pressure hydrocephalus. This condition, which is caused by enlarged ventricles in the brain , can cause walking problems, urinary difficulty, and memory loss .

Dementia Symptoms: Dementia  symptoms  varydepending on the cause, but common signs and symptoms include:

Cognitive Changes:

  • Memory loss , which is usually noticed by a spouse or other person
  • Difficulty communicating or finding words
  • Reasoning reasoning or problem solving
  • Difficulty handling complex tasks
  • Difficulty planning and organizing
  • Difficulty in coordination and motor functions
  • Confusion and disorientation

Psychological changes:

  • personality changes
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • inappropriate behavior
  • Paranoia
  • agitation
  • hallucinations

When to See a Doctor:  See a doctor if you or a loved one has memory problems or other symptoms of dementia . Some treatable medical conditions can cause symptoms of dementia , so it’s important to determine the underlying cause.

Dementia Risk Factors:  Many factors can eventually lead to Dementia . Some factors, such as age, cannot be changed. Others can be addressed to reduce risk. Risk factors that cannot be changed:

  • It was. The risk increases as you age, especially after age 65. However, dementia is not a normal part of aging, and dementia can occur in younger people.
  • Family history. Having a family history of dementia puts you at a higher risk of developing the condition. However, many people with a family history never develop symptoms, and many people without a family history do. Tests to determine if you have certain genetic mutations available.
  • Down’s syndrome. By middle age, many people with Down syndrome develop early-onset Alzheimer’s disease .
  • Mild cognitive impairment. This involves difficulties with memory, but no loss of daily function. This puts people at greater risk for dementia .

Risk factors you can change: You can control the following risk factors for dementia .

  • Heavy Alcohol Consumption. If you drink large amounts of alcohol, you may have a higher risk of dementia . Some studies, however, have shown that moderate amounts of alcohol can have a protective effect.
  • Cardiovascular Risk Factors. These include high blood pressure (hypertension), high cholesterol, accumulation of fat in artery walls (atherosclerosis), and obesity.
  • Depression. Although not yet well understood, late-life depression can indicate the development of Dementia .
  • Diabetes. If you have diabetes, you may be at an increased risk of dementia , especially if it is poorly controlled.
  • Smoke. Cigarette smoking can increase your risk of developing dementia and blood vessel (vascular) disease.
  • Sleep apnea. People who snore and have episodes where they frequently stop breathing while sleeping may have reversible memory loss .

Complications of Dementia:  Dementia can  affect many bodily systems and therefore the ability to function. Dementiacan lead to :

  • Inadequate nutrition. Many people with dementia  eventually reduce or stop nutrient intake. Ultimately, they may be unable to chew and swallow.
  • Pneumonia. Difficulty swallowing increases the risk of getting in or sucking food into the lungs, which can block breathing and cause pneumonia.
  • Inability to perform self-care tasks. As dementia  progresses, it can interfere with bathing, dressing, brushing hair or teeth, using the bathroom independently, and taking medications accurately.
  • Personal security challenges. Some everyday situations can present safety issues for people with dementia , including driving, cooking and walking alone.
  • Death. Delayed dementia  results in coma and death, often from infection.

Diagnosing Dementia:  Diagnosing dementia  and determining what type it is can be challenging. The diagnosis of dementia  requires that at least two central mental functions are impaired enough to interfere with daily life. They are memory, language skills, ability to focus and pay attention, ability to reason and problem-solving, and visual perception.

Your doctor will review your medical history and symptoms and perform a physical exam. He or she will likely ask someone close to you about your symptoms, too. No test can diagnose dementia , so doctors will likely run a series of tests that can help identify the problem.

Cognitive and Neuropsychological Tests:  Doctors will assess your thinking (cognitive) function. A series of tests measures thinking skills such as memory, orientation, reasoning and judgment, language skills and attention.

Neurological Assessment:  Doctors assess your memory, language, visual perception, attention, problem solving, movement, senses, balance, reflexes, and other areas.

Brain Exams:  CT or MRI. These scans can check for evidence of a stroke or bleeding or a tumor or hydrocephalus. PET extraction. These can show patterns of brain activity and whether amyloid protein, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease , has been deposited in the brain.

Laboratory Tests:  Simple blood tests can detect physical problems that can affect brain function, such as vitamin B-12 deficiency or an insufficient thyroid gland. Sometimes spinal fluid is examined for infection, inflammation, or markers of some degenerative diseases.

Psychiatric Assessment:  A mental health professional can determine whether depression or another mental health condition is contributing to your symptoms.

Dementia Treatments:  Most types of dementia  cannot be cured, but there are ways to manage your symptoms.

Medications:  The following are used to temporarily improve symptoms of Dementia .

  • Cholinesterase inhibitors. These drugs — including donepezil (Aricept), rivastigmine (Exelon) and galanthamine (Razadyne) — work by increasing levels of a chemical messenger involved in memory and judgment. While primarily used to treat Alzheimer’s disease , these drugs can also be prescribed for other dementias, including vascular dementia  , Parkinson’s disease dementia  , and Lewy body dementia. Side effects can include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Memantine. Memantine (Namenda) works by regulating the activity of glutamate, another chemical messenger involved in brain functions such as learning and memory. In some cases, memantine is prescribed with a cholinesterase inhibitor. A common side effect of memantine is dizziness.
  • Other medicines. Your doctor may prescribe medication to treat other symptoms or conditions, such as depression, sleep disturbances, or agitation.

Therapies:  Various dementia  symptoms and behavior problems can be treated initially using non-invasive approaches, such as:

  • Occupational therapy. An occupational therapist can show you how to make your home safer and teach you coping behaviors. The objective is to prevent accidents, such as falls; Control behavior; And prepare you for the progression of Dementia .
  • Changing the Environment. Reducing clutter and noise can make it easier for someone with dementia  to focus and function. You may need to hide objects that could threaten security, such as knives and car keys. Monitoring systems can alert you if the person with dementia  wanders.
  • Modifying Tasks. Break tasks down into easier steps and focus on success, not failure. Structure and routine also help to reduce confusion in people with dementia .

Alternative Medicine:  Various dietary supplements, herbal remedies and therapies have been studied for people with dementia . Some can be beneficial. Be careful when considering taking dietary supplements, vitamins or herbal remedies, especially if you are taking other medications.

These drugs are not regulated, and claims about their benefits are not always based on scientific research. Some alternative drugs for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia  that have been studied include:

  • Vitamin E. Evidence for taking vitamin E to delay Alzheimer ‘s is soft. Doctors warn against taking large doses of vitamin E because it may have a higher risk of mortality, especially in people with heart disease.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids. There is some evidence that eating fish three times a week can reduce the risk of dementia . However, in clinical studies, omega-3 fatty acids did not significantly slow cognitive decline in  mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease . More research is needed.
  • Ginkgo. Although ginkgo is considered safe, study results were inconsistent in determining whether ginkgo helps people with dementia .

Other therapies:  The following techniques may help reduce agitation and promote relaxation in people with dementia .

  • Music therapy, which involves listening to soothing music
  • Pet therapy, which involves using animals, such as visiting dogs, to improve mood and behavior in people with dementia
  • Aromatherapy, which uses scented vegetable oils
  • massage therapy
  • Art therapy, which involves creating art, focusing on the process rather than the result

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *