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Dementia is a group of cognitive conditions that affect an older individual’s brain and memories. It occurs because of cognitive deterioration. The condition is composed of different variations of dementia-like: Alzheimer’s, which make up about 75% of all cases. Contrary to popular belief, not all older seniors will develop Dementia. However, it is normal for a senior’s mind to deteriorate slowly, not at the rate of Dementia.
Neurological research is still being done to understand the exact cause of Dementia. However, from what we know, there are risk factors, including age and genetics. You are likelier to develop this cognitive condition if you have one adult relative with it as well.
It occurs because of damage to the nerve cells that connect to the brain. However, the exact reason for the damage is still being debated. Some experts believe that disturbances in your brain’s blood circulation are what lead to Dementia. But not everyone with Dementia has had disturbances in their brain.
It is known as an umbrella term for a group of cognitive diseases that affect older individuals. Some types include:
Alzheimer’s is the most common type of Dementia. It is hereditary and not completely understood. This condition mainly affects adults over the age of 65. As the condition develops, a person’s memory lapses, causing confusion and stress. The effects are not reversible. However, you can slow down the progression.
Lew Bodies is a unique type of Dementia that is rare. It occurs when clumps of abnormal protein particles attach themselves to the brain. Lew Bodies’ symptoms are similar to those you would see in Parkinson’s, but they are not related.
People with this condition often see visual hallucinations of people, places, and things that are not there.
Pick’s disease occurs with age as the brain deteriorates. However, the part of the brain that deteriorates affects emotion and language, causing unusual symptoms that are easy to spot. General signs of Picks’s disease include aggression, mood swings, irritation, repetition. People can develop Pick’s disease as young as 20; however, very uncommon and rare.
The signs and exact symptoms of Dementia differ depending on the exact type of Dementia. However, shared signs include:
It is hard to diagnose Dementia at home. It is necessary to go to a doctor for additional testing. This is because varying conditions cause memory loss, and many of those conditions share symptoms. However, they can order specific tests at a doctor’s office to know more information about your condition.
The doctor will need various scans to show deterioration or loss of nerve cells in the brain. Brain scans show damage, if any, and tests can also cross out any potential underlying causes like tumors.
Your doctor may recommend blood tests to rule out underlying health conditions that cause temporary memory effects. This way, they know how to treat the condition better.
A big portion of finding the right diagnosis is through a physical where the doctor asks questions about the symptoms, medical history, and family history.
There is no one cure for all types of Dementia. It is notoriously known for being hard to cure and treat. However, one medication helps 20% of dementia cases when the cause is reversible- it does not apply to all.
The damage or loss of cells is irreversible. However, some treatments can slow down the progression and elongate a patient’s life.
To treat the symptoms, it may be possible to prescribe depression medication to control emotions. However, some lifestyle changes are necessary to manage the condition as well. In addition, some dementia studies have shown a direct link between depression and Dementia.
Sadly, it is not always possible to prevent Dementia in patients. Since there are many types, the causes are not the same. Studies are still being conducted to understand how the condition develops and worsens.
However, if it is reversible, a diet change can manage the symptoms well. Diets that are high in saturated fats and oils can cause damage to the brain and raise a person’s blood pressure. Since drinking excessive amounts of alcohol also increases a person’s risk of developing Dementia, experts recommend drinking less than 14 units of drinks a week- extreme causes damage to lower the chance of damage.
After a diagnosis and treatment are underway for Dementia, the only thing left is to manage the care at home. Unfortunately, this is not always possible and cannot cure a patient of the disease, but it can increase their quality of life.
Creating a schedule, for instance, can instill habits that are easier to remember. There are also mentally stimulating games and exercises that can keep their minds sharp and alert. It is best for a patient with Dementia to have a task to do. This can slow down the progression and increase their happiness.
Sadly, as the person’s health and condition deteriorate, they will likely need additional care in a home. Dementia comes with detrimental effects that lead to forgetting simple, everyday tasks. When it gets to this level, the patient may need a family caregiver or nurse for additional help.
It is also best to surround a person with Dementia with all their favorite things, even if they believe they are in an entirely different place.
In conclusion, Dementia is a draining and sad condition that can affect anyone as young as 20. Although 20-year-olds can develop Dementia, the most common age group is 65+. This condition causes deterioration of the brain and memory problems. It is not uncommon to see a person with Dementia crossing their timelines and forgetting names.
The causes are still not well understood. However, there are ways to slow down someone’s progression of Dementia with medications and lifestyle changes.
Healthier Me Today is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment. Always consult with your healthcare professional. Stay healthy!