Dementia is a broad term referring to several brain symptoms that interfere with the normal functioning of the affected individual. It is mainly caused by damage to brain cells either due to aging or other conditions. It affects people in different ways and it is not easily diagnosed. It is mainly a disease of the old. However, if you come from a family that has a history of dementia, then you are likely to suffer from it at some point in your life.
Temporary and progressive dementia
Dementia may be a temporary condition or a progressive one. Temporary dementia is caused by reversible situations such as immune disorders, endocrine abnormalities, and nutritional deficiency. Dementia that is caused by the reaction to medications can also be reversed. Other risk factors that can be reversed include subdural hematomas, brain tumors, poisoning, anoxia and normal-pressure hydrocephalus. Some other forms of dementia are said to be progressive and therefore they are not easily reversed. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of progressive dementia. Other types include vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, mixed dementia and frontotemporal dementia. A person may have more than one type of dementia at the same time.
Signs and symptoms of dementia
A dementia patient generally experiences cognitive and psychological changes. Cognitive changes include confusion, disorientation, memory loss, communication difficulties, reasoning difficulties and inability to solve complex problems. On the other hand, psychological changes include depression, anxiety, agitation, and paranoia, among others. It is important to note right from the outset that it is not easy to identify the symptoms of dementia. Precisely, some of the most common symptoms of dementia like memory loss, emotional problems, decreased motivation and problems with language can be caused by other underlying medical conditions. Therefore the only way to confirm that you have dementia is through a doctor’s diagnosis.
Treatment of dementia
It is possible to reverse some of the symptoms of dementia depending on the source. However, some of its symptoms are associated with the natural aging process. It is therefore difficult to know whether someone is having these symptoms because of their age or dementia. Dementia comes with several treatable disorders. Some of them include Huntington’s disease, Traumatic brain injury and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and Parkinson’s disease.
Care for dementia patients
Most people suffering from dementia get specialized care from dementia clinics and hospitals. Since dementia affects the natural functioning of the affected person, dementia patients should be put under specialized care. There several caregivers for dementia patients and it should be easy to get one for your relative who is suffering from the progressive type of dementia.
In summary, dementia is not easily identified. Apart from age, downs syndrome and mild cognitive impairment, family history is a significant risk factor for this condition. You should, therefore, be on the lookout if you are faced with these risk factors. Visit your doctor at the earliest convenience so that you can get treatment in good time. This is not a life-threatening condition but it may make life very difficult for you if you ignore it.