Dementia isn’t one disease; it’s an overall term — like heart condition — that covers a good range of specific medical conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease. Disorders grouped under the overall term “dementia” are caused by abnormal brain changes. These changes trigger a decline in thinking skills, also referred to as cognitive abilities, severe enough to impair lifestyle and independent function. They also affect behavior, feelings and relationships.
Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60-80% of cases. Vascular dementia, which occurs due to microscopic bleeding and vessel blockage within the brain, is that the second commonest explanation for dementia. those that experience the brain changes of multiple sorts of dementia simultaneously have mixed dementia. There are many other conditions which will cause symptoms of dementia, including some that are reversible, like thyroid problems and vitamin deficiencies.
Dementia is usually incorrectly mentioned as “senility” or “senile dementia,” which reflects the formerly widespread but incorrect belief that serious mental decline may be a normal a part of aging.
symptoms of dementia
signs of dementia can vary greatly. Examples include:
Problems with short-term memory.
Keeping track of a purse or wallet.
Planning and preparing meals.
Traveling out of the neighborhood.
Causes of dementia
Dementia is caused by damage to brain cells. This damage interferes with the power of brain cells to speak with one another . When brain cells cannot communicate normally, thinking, behavior and feelings are often affected.
The brain has many distinct regions, each of which is liable for different functions (for example, memory, judgment and movement). When cells during a particular region are damaged, that region cannot perform its functions normally.
Different sorts of dementia are related to particular types of nerve cell damage especially regions of the brain. for instance , in Alzheimer’s disease , high levels of certain proteins inside and out of doors brain cells make it hard for brain cells to remain healthy and to speak with one another . The brain region called the hippocampus is that the center of learning and memory within the brain, and therefore the brain cells during this region are often the primary to be damaged. That’s why amnesia is usually one among the earliest symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
While most changes within the brain that cause dementia are permanent and worsen over time, thinking and memory problems caused by the subsequent conditions may improve when the condition is treated or addressed:
Medication side effects.
Excess use of alcohol.
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- Dr. Rajesh Kumar Songa is a Neurologist and Pediatric Neurologist in KPHB, Hyderabad and has an experience of 6 years in these fields. Dr. Rajesh Kumar Songa practices at Padmaja Hospital in KPHB, Hyderabad. He completed MBBS from Osmania Medical College, Hyderabad in 2011,MD – Pediatrics from Osmania Medical College, Hyderabad in 2016 and DM – Neurology from Nizam Institute of Medical Sciences, Hyderabad in 2020.
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treatment of Dementia
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.
stages of Dementia
Sometimes, dementia is roughly split into four stages:
Mild cognitive impairment: characterized by general forgetfulness. This affects many of us as they age but it only progresses to dementia for a few .
Mild dementia: people with mild dementia will experience cognitive impairments that occasionally impact their lifestyle . Symptoms include amnesia , confusion, personality changes, getting lost, and difficulty in planning and completing tasks.
Moderate dementia: lifestyle becomes tougher , and therefore the individual may have more help. Symptoms are almost like mild dementia but increased. Individuals may have help getting dressed and brushing their hair. they’ll also show significant changes in personality; as an example , becoming suspicious or agitated for no reason. There also are likely to be sleep disturbances.
Severe dementia: at this stage, symptoms have worsened considerably. There could also be a loss of ability to speak , and therefore the individual might need full-time care. Simple tasks, like sitting and holding one’s head become impossible. Bladder control could also be lost.
types of Dementia
There are several sorts of dementia, including:
Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by “plaques” between the dying cells within the brain and “tangles” within the cells (both are thanks to protein abnormalities). The brain tissue during a person with Alzheimer’s has progressively fewer nerve cells and connections, and therefore the total brain size shrinks.
Dementia with Lewy bodies may be a neurodegenerative condition linked to abnormal structures within the brain. The brain changes involve a protein called alpha-synuclein.
Mixed dementia refers to a diagnosis of two or three types occurring together. as an example , an individual may show both Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia at an equivalent time.
Parkinson’s disease is additionally marked by the presence of Lewy bodies. Although Parkinson’s is usually considered a disorder of movement, it also can cause dementia symptoms.
Huntington’s disease is characterized by specific sorts of uncontrolled movements but also includes dementia.
Other disorders resulting in symptoms of dementia include:
Frontotemporal dementia also referred to as Pick’s disease.
Normal pressure hydrocephalus when excess spinal fluid accumulates within the brain.
Posterior cortical atrophy resembles changes seen in Alzheimer’s disease but during a different a part of the brain.
Down syndrome increases the likelihood of young-onset Alzheimer’s.
Major risk factor of Dementia
Risk Factors for Dementia
Age. The risk of Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, and several other dementias goes up significantly with advancing age.
Genetics/family history. …
Smoking and alcohol use. …
Plasma homocysteine. …
Mild cognitive impairment.