What is Dementia: Stages, Types, Causes and Treatments

Overview:

Dementia is a collective term used to characterize various symptoms of cognitive declines, such as forgetfulness.

It’s a symptom of several underlying diseases and brain disorders.

Dementia isn’t a single disease in itself, but a general term to describe symptoms of disability in memory, communicating, and thinking.

While the chance of having dementia increases with age, it isn’t a normal part of aging.

An analysis of the most recent census estimates that 4.7 million people aged 65 decades or older in the United States were living with Alzheimer’s disease in 2010.

The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that:

Only more than a tenth of people aged 65 Decades or longer have Alzheimer’s disease

This ratio rises to about a third of people aged 85 and older

Alzheimer’s accounts for 60–80% of cases of dementia

This report discusses the potential causes of dementia, the various types, and some other available treatments.

Fast facts on dementia:

There are an estimated 47.5 million dementia sufferers worldwide

One new case of dementia has been diagnosed every 4 seconds

It mainly affects older people but is not a normal part of aging

Dementia symptoms:

A person with dementia may demonstrate any of these symptoms listed under, mostly as a result of memory loss.

The hints used to compile this record are printed by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) in the journal American Family Physician.

Possible symptoms of dementia:

Present memory loss — an indication of they may be asking the same question differently.

Difficulty completing tasks that are recognizable — for example, building a beverage or ingesting a meal.

Problems communicating — a problem with speech; forgetting simple words using the wrong ones.

Disorientation — becoming lost on a previously familiar road, for example.

Problems with abstract thinking — for example, dealing with money.

Misplacing things — forgetting the location of normal things such as keys, or wallets, for instance.

Mood changes — sudden and unexplained changes in disposition or outlook.

Personality changes — perhaps becoming irritable, suspicious, or fearful.

Reduction of initiative-showing less interest in starting something or going somewhere.

As the patient ages, late-stage dementia symptoms often worsen.

Stages:

Mild cognitive impairment: characterized by general forgetfulness. This impacts many individuals as they age but it only advances to dementia for some.

Mild dementia: individuals with mild dementia may experience cognitive impairments that sometimes impact their everyday life.

Moderate dementia: everyday life becomes more challenging, and the individual may need more help.

Symptoms are similar to mild dementia however increased.

They may also reveal substantial changes in character; for example

There are also very likely to be sleep disturbances.

Acute dementia: at this phase, symptoms have worsened considerably.

There might be a reduction of ability to convey, and also the individual might need full-time care.

Simple tasks, such as sitting and holding one’s head up become impossible.

Dementia types:

There Are Numerous types such as:

Alzheimer’s disease — is characterized by” plaques” between the dying cells in the brain and” tangles” inside the cells (both are due to dietary abnormalities).

The brain tissue of a person with Alzheimer’s has progressively fewer nerve cells and relations, and the entire brain size shrinks.

Dementia with Lewy bodies — is a neurodegenerative condition associated with abnormal structures in the mind. The brain changes demand a protein known as alpha-synuclein.

Mixed dementia — refers to a diagnosis of a couple of types happening together.

For instance, an individual might show both Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia at the exact same moment.

Parkinson’s disease — is also marked by the presence of Lewy bodies.

Huntington’s disease — is distinguished by specific kinds of uncontrolled moves but also includes dementia.

Frontotemporal dementia — also known as Pick’s disease.

Normal-pressure hydrocephalus — when surplus cerebrospinal fluid collects in the mind.

Posterior cortical atrophy — looks like changes found in Alzheimer’s disease but in another portion of the brain.

Down syndrome -raises the likelihood of young-onset Alzheimer’s.

Early signs:

Early signs of dementia can include:

Changes in short-term memory.

Changes in disposition.

Trouble finding the right words.

Being persistent.

Finds it hard to follow a storyline.

Trouble completing everyday activities.

Poor sense of leadership.

Issue adapting to changes.

Dementia Causes:

It can be caused by brain cell death and neurodegenerative disorder.

But, in addition to progressive brain cell death, such as that observed in Alzheimer’s disease, dementia can be caused by a head injury, a stroke, or even a brain tumor, among other causes.

Vascular dementia (also known as multi-infarct dementia) — resulting from brain cell death caused by conditions like cerebrovascular disease, by way of instance, stroke.

This prevents normal blood flow, depriving brain cells of oxygen.

Injury — post-traumatic dementia is related to brain cell death brought on by injury.

The Proof is weak, however, that a single brain injury increases the likelihood of getting degenerative dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Dementia caused by:

Prion diseases — for example, CJD (Creutzfeldt-Jakob disorder ).

HIV infection — how the virus damages brain cells is not certain, but it is proven to occur.

Reversible variables — some dementias can be treated by reversing the effects of underlying causes, including medication interactions, depression, vitamin deficiencies, and thyroid problems.

Diagnosing dementia:

The first step in analyzing memory performance and cognitive wellness entails regular questions and activities.

Studies have proven that dementia cannot be reliably diagnosed with the standard tests below, finishing them entirely.

Now’s cognitive dementia tests are frequently used and have been confirmed as a reliable way of signaling dementia.

Cognitive dementia tests:

The abbreviated mental test score has ten questions, including:

What is your age?

What’s the time, to the nearest hour?

What’s the year?

What is your date of birth?

Each right answer gets one stage; scoring six points or fewer indicates cognitive impairment.

The General Practitioner Assessment of Cognition (GPCOG) test comprises an added element for documenting the observations of relatives and caregivers.

Designed for doctors, this form of the test may be the first formal assessment of an individual’s mental ability.

The next part of the evaluation probes somebody close to the patient and includes six questions to Discover whether the individual has:

Become less able to recall recent events or conversations.

Started struggling to find the right words or using inappropriate ones.

Discovered difficulty managing cash or medications.

Wanted more help with transportation (with no rationale being, for example, injury).

Clinical trials will identify, or rule out, treatable causes of memory loss and help to narrow down possible triggers, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

The mini-mental state exam (MMSE) is a cognitive test that measures:

Orientation to place and time

Word remembers

Language abilities

Focus and calculation

Visuospatial abilities

Treatments:

If symptoms are because of a reversible, non-degenerative trigger, however, treatment may be possible to prevent or halt further brain tissue damage.

Examples include harm, medication effects, and nutrient deficiency.

There are four medications, called cholinesterase inhibitors, approved to be used in the U.S.:

donepezil (brand name Aricept)

galantamine (Reminyl)

rivastigmine (Exelon)

tacrine (Cognex)

Cholinesterase inhibitors can also assist with the behavioral elements of Parkinson’s disease.

Additional quality-of-life care:

“Brain coaching” may help improve cognitive function and also help treat forgetfulness at the first stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

This may involve the use of mnemonics and other memory aids such as computerized recall apparatus.

Prevention:

It had certain risk factors. However, age is the biggest predictor.

Other risk factors include:

Smoking and alcohol use.

Atherosclerosis (cardiovascular disease causing the blood vessels to narrow).

Above-average blood levels of homocysteine (a sort of amino acid).

Diabetes.

Moderate cognitive impairment can sometimes, but not always, cause.

Ask your friends and loved ones for support.

If you’re feeling anxious or depressed, consider joining a support group or seeking counseling. Believe in your ability to take control of the pain…

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To ensure good health: eat lightly, breathe deeply, live moderately, cultivate cheerfulness, and maintain an interest in life.