What is Dementia?
Dementia is an overall term used for a wide range of medical issues and is not a single disease. All these mental disorders including Alzheimer’s happens due to unusual changes in the brain that are termed under dementia. There are about 50 Causes for dementia but Alzheimer’s is the most common problem. It is not senility but it is referred to as that which is incorrect. It is a neurocognitive disorder that affects the part of the brain that is used for cognitive aspects like decision making, thinking, and learning. Hence the person affected by this disorder suffers from diminished memory, thinking, and communication capabilities.
A person having dementia will exhibit the following symptoms due to loss of memory:
- Forgetting things that are done repeatedly like unable to recollect the place where keys or wallet is kept or other such everyday things.
- Asking questions repeatedly even after getting answers which is a sign of memory loss.
- Forgetting words that are simple and used quite often
- Not being able to complete even familiar tasks like making coffee or unlocking a car door.
- Feeling lost and disoriented in a familiar street
- Mood and personality changes
- Diminished abstract thinking.
The above conditions start slowly and get worse as people age. If you or someone has the above symptoms it is best to see a neurologist and know the cause.
Dementia Risk Factors
There are several factors that have been identified as Risks. They are:
- Age: The Risk of dementia especially Alzheimer’s increases as people age
- Family history/Genetics: Certain genes that are abnormal can contribute to Huntington’s Disease and other types of dementia. Also, people with a family history of Alzheimer’s are at a Higher Risk of having this Disease.
- Smoking and drinking a large quantity of alcohol increase the risk of dementia/mental decline.
- Chronic conditions like diabetes and lifestyle Diseases like atherosclerosis, cholesterol increases the chances of vascular dementia.
- Cognitive impairment: People who suffer from cognitive impairment have a higher chance of developing dementia especially those over the age of 65.
Causes of Dementia
Dementia is a neurodegenerative disease and is caused due to brain cells dying. This is a progressive condition and happens over time and not suddenly. It is still not known whether dementia Causes the death of brain cells or vice-versa. Dementia Causes can be:
- Vascular dementia: People who have high blood pressure and hardening of the arteries suffer from this condition
- Stroke: Is one of the most common causes of dementia
- Parkinson’s Disease: Dementia is common in this condition
- Alzheimer’s Disease: One of the major reasons for dementia
- Dementia with Lewy bodies: It can lead to short term memory loss
- Head injury
- Huntington Disease
- Multiple sclerosis
A dementia doctor will Diagnose the cause and type by conducting thorough research of the medical history, physical exam, and other lab tests. These tests can aid in determining the type of dementia and what caused the loss of cognitive abilities. Based on the findings the doctor can suggest medications and other treatment options. Some of the tests conducted are:
- Mental status exam: This is a dementia test to check the status of the brain
- Lab tests: It includes Vitamin b12 test, thyroid tests, CBC tests, glucose tests, AST blood tests, HIV tests, toxicology screening, antibodies test to find any autoimmune Diseases to check if the conditions can be Treated.
- Imaging tests: CT scans and MRI to rule out brain tumors. CT and PET scan to know about various forms of dementia.
Medicine for dementia may slow the progress of dementia but do not provide any cure for it. It helps to also improve mental functioning to a certain extent, behavior, or mood. In a bid to improve the quality of life palliative care is needed for severe illness. These include:
- Measures to help the person lead an independent life as long as possible
- Counseling and support: A counselor works to reduce the feeling of fear, anxiety, and anger. The patient will also need support from family and friends for emotional and physical support.
Dementia cure is more about management than Prevention and Cure.fit offers a holistic treatment that improves the quality of life of patients. Contact our experienced, qualified specialists for a one-one direct consultation through an online doctor consultation or other forms of consultation.
Dementia caused by conditions like stroke and other underlying medical conditions can be Prevented. Though there are various types of dementia that cannot be Prevented. A healthy lifestyle which includes the below can be beneficial:
- Getting enough physical exercise
- Maintain a healthy diet
- Indulge in mental exercises like learning a new language, hobby, solving puzzles, etc
- Manage chronic diseases like cholesterol, diabetes, and blood pressure.
- Do not indulge in excessive smoking or drinking alcohol
- Remain socially active by attending gatherings and events
- If you have symptoms of mild cognitive impairment address it immediately as it can lead to dementia in some cases.