Dementia Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention
Dementia in simple words can be termed as an assembly of various signs and symptoms affecting one’s memory state, thinking ability, social activity, judgemental, and behavioural skills in daily life.
Dementia cannot be defined as a particular disease. Someone with depression and anxiety for a long time can suffer this situation. However, various diseases can lead to dementia. Certain kinds of Brain injuries and illnesses are also the cause of dementia.
Dementia is curable in a few cases but is fatal in others. Dementia syndrome is a cognitive disease which had affected more than 50 million people worldwide.
The most common form of dementia can be found in Alzheimer’s disorder. Dementia is the seventh-ranked fatal disease worldwide. One suffering from dementia gets affected psychologically, physically, socially as well as economically in their daily life which not only affects their career but also their family living with them
Although the symptom vary according to the type of dementia you have , the general and common signs you can detect in the affected person can be –
• Memory loss or forgetfulness
• Inability to communicate
• Non–organised and disoriented planning
• Visual inability
• Difficulty in performing everyday tasks ( even the simple ones).
• Sudden Personality or behavioural changes
• Sudden weight loss or weight gain
• Unable to learn something new
• Lack of restrain
When to seek medical attention ?
If you go through memory loss and this is not one time but persistent or you have too much anxiety and depression these days, you need to consult your doctor. Also, if you see any other symptoms discussed above in the article, you should u understand that this is a dementia sign and go for medications and other therapies.
Causes of dementia
The major cause of dementia is when the neuron cells get disturbed and damage the functions of the brain can lead to dementia. Dementia can also affect a person due to the following reasons –
• Vitamin deficiencies
• Too much medication
• Brain injury or infection
• Poor diet
• Not exercising regularly
• Poor sleep pattern
• Family or parental history
• Irregular sleep
• Heart, kidney or liver disorder
• Corticobasal degeneration
• nuclear palsy
Types of dementia Progressive dementia
Progressive dementia is named so because they are very rapid, and irreversible and the conditions get acute within weeks.
Some progressive dementia include –
• Alzheimer’s disease – studies and experts discover that few percentages of Alzheimer’s link themselves with genetics due to which the risk easily passes from parent to the child. Since Alzheimer’s patients are deeply affected by certain kinds of brain injuries including plaques and tangles, they lead to dementia in them.
• Vascular dementia – the blood vessels are damaged affecting the brain cells in one or other ways. Memory loss is a common symptom of vascular dementia.
Other more types of dementia includes
• Lewy dementia – Lewy body dementia can be explained as unwanted and unexpectable clumps of proteins in the human brain becoming the cause of visual hallucinations, non – coordination and other brain-related issues.
• Frontotemporal dementia – when the nerve cells and temporal lobes break down, they link with personality and other behavioural disorders.
• Mixed dementia – the several combinations of indicated dementia like Alzheimer’s diseases, vascular dementia, and Lewy body dementia cause mixed dementia.
Certain Disorders linked with dementia
• Huntington’s disease
• Traumatic brain injury
• Parkinson’s disease
• Creutzfeldt-Jakob – disease
Risk factors associated with dementia –
• Head trauma
• Nutritional deficiencies
• Vitamin deficiencies
• Consuming too many OTC sleep medications and others
• Cardiovascular factors
• Being diabetic
• Down syndrome
• Falls and broken bones
• Complete dehydration
• Inability to feed themselves
Since dementia is a mixture of many diseases, no perfect prevention is there for dementia. Dementia changes can be reduced by making certain changes in yourself. Moreover, taking care of a few things in your everyday life can help in one or other ways –
• Quit smoking and alcoholism
• Stick to a basic healthy diet
• Do regular exercise and yoga
• Stay fit ( neither underweight nor overweight)
• Do a mental exercise
• Play games
• Interact with new people
• Go for aspirin
• Have a proper amount of all the vitamins and nutrients in your everyday diet.
• Have regular and proper sleep
• Treat your cardiovascular disease
Diagnosis of dementia is a bit difficult for doctors and experts. Since dementia is a disorder caused due to mental pain, it’s hard to say if you are suffering from dementia or something else. However, due to the fortunate advanced techniques, few tests are available by which they can detect your dementia and its type. Biomarkers are one of the helping tools available currently for the detection of dementia. Some of the tests they can go for are –
• Study your medical history
• Cognitive and neuropsychological tests
• Neurological scans
• CT scan or MRI scan
• PET scan
• Blood test
• Spinal fluid examination
Treatments for dementia include therapies more than medications. They include –
• Medications like cholinesterase inhibitors like donepezil or rivastigmine, memantine like glutamate or other such prescribed medications by your doctor.
• Occupational therapies treatments
• Non–drug treatments kike environment modifications, task management and other such things are explained.
• Calendar count and maintenance
• Night-time ritual orientation
• Music or dance learning therapies
• Pet treating therapy
• Massage therapy
• Rehabilitation therapies
Certain myths created about dementia –
Fact – Alzheimer’s is a type of progressive dementia. But it is not the only dementia.
Fact – memory loss is a symptom of dementia , but it is not necessary all the time that if you have memory loss , you are suffering from dementia only. It may be because of some other reason also. diagnosis can help in this case.
Fact – dementia can be fatal if early or proper treatment is not provided. There have been a lot of cases where dementia is a leading cause of death for the person.
Frequently asked questions –
Answer – dementia is not completely fatal and neither completely preventable. It depends on your treatment , age , lifestyle and other such factors that how you handle the situation.
Answer – women have higher chances of dementia than that of men.
Answer – there is no such case or evidence which proves this till now.
Answer – most of the time , the person do not know if he/she have dementia. But the smarter person go for their regular check-up and if they find continuous memory loss in themselves , they get aware and go for diagnosis.
Answer – yes , it is quite common for a dementia patient to sleep more as they have restlessness and fatigue issues.