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Dementia: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments You Need to Know

There are so many questions that people ask regarding the broad term \”dementia,\” what causes it, and how to prevent it. One of the leading questions around this disease is how we can prevent it from happening to us.

Another question people often ask is if this disorder can happen to anyone at any age or if it is aging-related. Next, we take a closer look at these types of questions, the symptoms that come with this disorder, and how we can prevent it.

We will also take a look at how this disorder can be treated to help people live a full life after being diagnosed with it.

What Is Dementia?

Dementia is a broad term that is used for a variety of mental disorders, including the loss of memories and other mental abilities. Dementia is one mental disorder that encompasses many different types of mental diseases.

In reality, dementia is not really a disease, but it might be caused by many different illnesses and injuries and can range from mild to severe. For an illness or mental impairment to be considered dementia, it must affect at least two brain functions.

These affected brain functions might include the following:

●      The memory can be affected and includes memory loss.

●      Language is also one of the brain functions that are affected.

●      Judgment is affected by dementia.

●      Behavior can be affected.

●      Thinking ability can also be affected.

The following is a list of some of the most common forms of mental disorders that are described under the term \”dementia\”.

Alzheimer’s Disease

This is the most common type of dementia and makes up about 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases around the world. This is a chronic, ongoing condition where the symptoms come gradually and have a degenerative effect on the brain.

To date, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but there are treatments that can help slow down the progression. Patients with Alzheimer’s disease can have a full and meaningful life with treatment that will help improve their quality of life. 

Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia that can affect anyone, but certain people are at higher risk of getting the disease. People who are at a higher risk of getting the disease are people with a family history of mental disorders and people over 65 years of age.

Vascular Dementia

Vascular dementia is caused by reduced blood flow to the brain and might be the cause of plaque buildup in the arteries. People with this type of dementia will experience a decline in memory and problems with reasoning and judgment.

This is a group of conditions where there is a decline in a variety of cognitive skills in the patient. Because of the reduced blood flow to the brain, it might also cause a reduction in the amount of oxygen that is delivered to the brain.

When the brain is deprived of oxygen, it can cause severe damage to the brain in a very short amount of time. This is the second-most common type of dementia, and it affects many people around the world.

Lewy Body Dementia

Many experts believe that this type of dementia is the third most common type, next to Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia. This is a progressive disease that involves the deposit of the protein alpha-synuclein in the brain, which affects motor control and thinking.

This type of dementia will most likely cause stiffness of the muscles and may also cause other physical symptoms, such as tremors. These physical symptoms are some of the major differences between Lewy Body dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, and they set the two apart. 

It is estimated that this disease affects more than 1.4 million people in the US, and there is no known treatment to prevent it. The only way to treat this disease is to treat the symptoms and help people with it have a decent life.

Parkinson’s Disease

People with an advanced stage of Parkinson’s disease may develop dementia that involves problems with reasoning and judgment. They will also have an increase in feelings of paranoia and depression, as well as increased irritation.

Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disorder that affects the movement of people who have this form of dementia. According to the National Institute of Health, this disease affects more than 500,000 people in the US alone. 

The early symptoms of this type of disease can easily be missed because they appear sporadically and are not easily noticeable. Parkinson’s disease starts with the brain cells which are called neurons, which control the movements of the body.

Frontotemporal Dementia

There are many types of dementia that fall into this category of dementia, and all of them affect the front and side parts of the brain. The symptoms might include difficulty with language as well as with behavior and the loss of inhibitions.

This disease used to be called Pick’s disease after the physician who discovered it, and it is also sometimes called frontal lobe dementia. This type of dementia affects the frontal lobe of the brain, which controls many of the personalities and emotions of a human being.

The frontal lobe of the brain also controls speech and behavior, so these functions will be affected by the disease. This disorder will also cause the brain to lose brain cell function.

What Causes Dementia?

Dementia is caused by damage to the brain cells, where the damage is causing the brain cells not to communicate with each other. When the brain cells cannot communicate normally with each other, it will affect thinking and behavior, as well as feelings.

It is not fully known if dementia causes the death of the brain cells or if the death of the brain cells causes dementia. There are as many as 50 different types of diseases that are called dementia, all of which come with many different symptoms.

There are a number of causes that can cause the neurons in the brain to die, and this process is called neurodegeneration. This can be caused by a number of things, such as the following common causes of dementia and other problems:

●      Alzheimer’s disease

●      Side effects of medications

●      Parkinson’s disease

●      Chronic alcoholism

●      Different types of tumors and infections of the brain

●      Drug misuse

What Are the Symptoms Of Dementia?

There are quite a number of symptoms in the early stages of dementia, such as the following:

●      Difficulty completing everyday tasks that you have done for years

●      Difficulty coping with changes in everyday life and accepting changes in schedules and the environment

●      Confusion to the point that you do not remember people you used to know or places and events feel unfamiliar

●      Short-term memory changes where you can not remember what you had for breakfast but things from 15 years ago are clear

●      Loss of interest in hobbies and activities you used to love

●      Difficulty finding or remembering the right words to say

●      Mood changes at very regular intervals where you quickly get frustrated and easily angered

●      Repetitive storytelling, doing the same task, or even asking the same questions over and over

●      A confused sense of direction where familiar places might feel foreign and well-known driving routes might become unfamiliar

●      Struggling to follow a storyline or having difficulty following the description of a person or even a familiar place

Can Dementia Be Treated?

There are two main types of treatments that can help relieve the symptoms that come with dementia. It should also be kept in mind that the treatments for the symptoms of dementia are not a cure for this condition.

Medications For Dementia

There are two types of medicine that are used for Alzheimer’s disease.

Cholinesterase inhibitors are a type of drug that will help increase a chemical called acetylcholine. This drug helps improve judgment, can help form memories, and may also help delay the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

Memantine is a drug that is used to delay the beginning of the cognitive symptoms that are found with Alzheimer’s disease. It will help people with the disease have normal mental functions for a longer time and help them live fuller lives.

Non-Drug Therapies For Symptoms Of Dementia

These common therapies will help alleviate some of the manageable symptoms of dementia.

Occupational Therapy will help the individual be safer with everyday tasks, such as cooking, driving, and walking.

Environment modification is a therapy where certain elements that may reduce focus are removed, such as clutter and noise.

Modification of common tasks is where the therapist will break down everyday tasks, such as showering, into smaller manageable tasks.

Dementia Prevention

For many years, it was believed that dementia could not be prevented, but studies have shown that there are ways to reduce the risk of Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. There are a number of things that can be done to prevent dementia, and they are mostly lifestyle decisions.

Summary

A lot of research still needs to be done concerning dementia and the prevention of most of the common types. However, there is hope for those with the symptoms, as well as preventative measures that can be taken to provide a fuller life.