Dementia symptoms and stages
Dementia is a generic word for a loss of capacity to recall, think, or make judgments that interfere with daily tasks. The most commonly experienced type of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. Dementia is not a normal or natural aspect of ageing, even though it usually impacts older people.
Dementia is rather common
In 2014, an estimated 5.0 million persons over the age of 65 had dementia, with the number expected to rise to over 14 million by 2060.
Isn’t dementia a natural part of the ageing process?
No, many senior citizens go their entire lives without ever having dementia. Muscle and bone deterioration, stiffness of arteries and veins, and age-related memory problems can all be signs of normal ageing.
-Misplacing car keys occasionally
-Having trouble memorizing a word but remembering it afterwards
-Forgetting an acquaintance’s name
-Losing track of recent events
Knowledge and experiences gained over time, old memories, and language would normally be preserved.
What are dementia’s signs and symptoms?
Because dementia is such a broad word, the symptoms can differ greatly from one person to the next. Dementia patients have issues with:
-Decision-making, reasoning, and problem-solving
-Visual perception that goes beyond age-related vision changes
Dementia can be detected by looking for the following signs:
-Becoming disoriented in a familiar area
-Referring to familiar objects using unique terms
-Forgetting a close family member’s or friend’s name
-Losing track of old recollections
-Inability to finish duties on one’s own
What factors contribute to the development of dementia?
Dementia symptoms and stages
-Aging is the strongest known risk factor for dementia, with most instances affecting those aged 65 and up.
-Those who have dementia-affected parents or siblings are more likely to get dementia themselves.
-Older African Americans are twice as likely as whites to have dementia. Hispanics are 1.5 times more likely than whites to get dementia.
-If not addressed properly, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking all raise the risk of dementia.
-Head injuries, especially severe or occur frequently, can raise the risk of dementia.
How can you know if you have dementia?
To discover the cause for concern, a healthcare provider can administer tests on attention, memory, problem-solving, and other cognitive capacities. A physical exam, blood tests, and brain scans such as a CT or MRI can all be used to figure out what’s causing the problem.
What are the most common dementia types?
- Alzheimer’s disease.
Dementia symptoms and stages
The most common cause of dementia, accounting for 60 to 80 per cent of cases, is Alzheimer’s disease. It is brought on by changes in the brain. Trouble remembering recent events, such as a conversation minutes or hours ago, is the hallmark symptom, while trouble remembering more distant memories develops later in the disease. Other issues such as difficulties walking or talking, as well as personality changes, arise later. The most significant risk factor is family history. Having a first-degree family with Alzheimer’s disease raises your chances of getting it by 10% to 30%.
- Vascular Dementia
Strokes or other problems with blood flow to the brain are associated with about 10% of dementia cases. High blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol are all risk factors. Symptoms vary depending on whatever part of the brain is affected and how large it is. The disease proceeds in stages, which means that as the person has additional strokes or mini-strokes, their symptoms will abruptly worsen.
- Lewy Body Dementia
In addition to the more common symptoms of dementia, such as memory loss, patients with this type of dementia may experience stiffness or trembling in their movements or balance. Changes in alertness, such as daytime tiredness, bewilderment, or staring spells, affect many people. They may also have difficulty sleeping or visual hallucinations (seeing people, objects or shapes that are not there).
- Fronto-temporal dementia
Because of the area of the brain it affects, this type of dementia frequently causes personality and behaviour abnormalities. People with this problem may cause embarrassment or inappropriate behaviour. A previously cautious person, for example, may make inappropriate remarks and disregard obligations at home or work. Language abilities, such as speaking and understanding, may also be an issue.
- Dementia with mixed symptoms.
Multiple types of dementia can exist in the brain simultaneously, especially in those over the age of 80. A person may have Alzheimer’s disease with vascular dementia, for example. Because signs of one kind of dementia may be more pronounced or overlap with those of another type, it is not always obvious that a person has mixed dementia. When compared to one type of dementia, disease development may be faster.
- Reversible causes
Dementia may have a reversible underlying cause, such as an adverse drug effect, elevated brain pressure, vitamin insufficiency, or thyroid hormone imbalance. Patients with dementia should be screened for reversible causes by medical professionals.
What is the treatment for dementia?
Dementia treatment is determined by the underlying cause. There is no cure for neurodegenerative dementias like Alzheimer’s disease, but drugs can help protect the brain or control symptoms like anxiety and behavioural problems. More therapeutic alternatives are being developed as a result of continuing research.
A healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise, good eating, and maintaining social contacts reduces the risk of chronic disease and may reduce the number of dementia patients.Read also: What is Alzheimer’s disease?