Dementia: Its Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Image Source: Dementia Friendly Wyoming


Dementia is a progressive and sometimes chronic brain condition that causes problems with a person’s thinking, behavior, and memory. There are an estimated 47.5 million dementia sufferers worldwide.

Dementia itself is not a disease but a syndrome; its symptoms are common to several brain diseases. Medications might slow that decline and help with symptoms, such as behavior changes. There are many different types of dementia. The treatments depend on the type of dementia.

Dementia is not a single disease; it’s an overall term — like heart disease — that covers a wide range of specific medical conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease.


Causes

Dementia is caused by damage to brain cells. This damage interferes with the ability of brain cells to communicate with each other. When brain cells cannot communicate normally, thinking, behavior, and feelings can be affected.


Alzheimer’s Disease

Image Source: NIH


Researchers say that 60% to 80% of people with dementia have this disease. The symptoms include mild at first but get worse over several years, have problems speaking or writing, show poor judgment, have mood and personality changes, trouble planning, and doing familiar tasks.


Vascular Dementia


Image Source: Dementia


If a person gets this type of dementia, it’s usually because he’s had a major stroke, or one or more “silent” strokes, which can happen without him realizing it. The symptoms depend on which parts of his brain were affected by the stroke.

The symptoms include trouble speaking or understanding speech, problems recognizing sights and sounds that used to be familiar. Being confused or agitated, changes in personality and mood, problems walking and having frequent falls.


Dementia with Lewy bodies



Image Source: Alzheimer's Association


Lewy bodies are microscopic deposits of a protein that form in some people’s brains. They’re named after the scientist who discovered them.

The symptoms include problems thinking to make decisions or paying attention, memory trouble, seeing things that aren’t there, known as visual hallucinations, unusual sleepiness during the day, periods of “ banking out”. Problems with movement, including trembling, slowness, and trouble walking.


Parkinson’s Disease Dementia


Image Source: Medical Dialogue


People with the nervous system disorder Parkinson’s disease gets this type of dementia about 50% to 80% of the time.

The symptoms of dementia develop about 10 years after a person first gets Parkinson’s. They have the same symptoms, and people with both conditions have signs of Lewy bodies in their brains.


Frontotemporal Dementia ( FTD )


Image Source: Wikipedia


If one has an FTD he’s developed cell damage in areas of the brain that control planning, judgment, emotions, speech, and movement.

The symptoms include personality and behavior changes, sudden lack of inhibitions in personal and social situations, problems coming up with the right words for things when speaking. Movement problems such as shakiness, balance problems, and muscle spasms.


Dementia treatment and care

Treatment of dementia depends on its cause. In the case of most progressive dementias, including Alzheimer’s disease, there is no cure and no treatment that slows or stops its progression. But there are drug treatments that may temporarily improve symptoms. 

The same medications used to treat Alzheimer’s are among the drugs sometimes prescribed to help with symptoms of other types of dementias. Non-drug therapies can also alleviate some symptoms of dementia.


To read more about Dementia: dementia 


Written by - Violet Priscilla S

Edited By - Anamika Malik

 

 

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