Dementia - Symptoms, Risk factors and Treatment

Dementia is a broad term that is used to describe the loss of memory, impaired thinking ability, inability to answer logical questions, and other mental abilities. Impairment of these activities can interfere with daily life activities. 


Symptoms 


The most common sign and symptom of dementia is memory loss. At the initial stages, the person may notice it by themselves too. They may struggle in remembering little details of day-to-day events. However, the family members may notice it easily. The signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s are as follows. 


Memory loss


We all have a little loss of memory or confusion from time to time in our lives. But with dementia, it is profound memory loss. The people may keep their things at illogical places, may get lost in the streets, may be unable to reach back home on their own. Moreover, they may forget conversations, commitments, and appointments. They may also not remember what they had in their last meal, and either they have had it or not. People with dementia may repeat statements and ask the same question again and again. 


Thinking and logical reasoning 


People with dementia find it difficult to think and do logical reasoning. They find it hard to perform mathematical calculations and abstract concepts. Multitasking is difficult for them, like paying the bill and signing checkbooks at the same time.


Judgments and decision making power


Over time, people with dementia find it so difficult to pass on the right judgment and make wise decisions. They may choose inappropriate choices according to the condition, like dressing improperly according to the weather. You may find them with inappropriate dressing in winters. They may not have the right sense to dress properly according to the situation. Moreover, they may not respond appropriately to day-to-day situations, like they may not have a sense of food burning at the stove. Due to these reasons, they need someone to attend to them, accompany them. Otherwise, they may harm themselves. 


Skills 


People with dementia can not read a book or do other activities like singing, listening to music, or writing. The fine skills deteriorate as the disease progresses. 


Types of dementia


Dementia can be classified into the following types;


  • Alzheimer's disease

  • Frontotemporal dementia (Pick's disease)

  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

  • Vascular dementia

  • Dementia from Parkinson's disease and similar disorders

  • Dementia with Lewy bodies



According to the part of the brain affected, dementia can be classified as;


Cortical dementia- occurs due to a problem in the cerebral cortex- an outer layer of the brain. 


Subcortical dementia- that occurs due to problems in the areas beneath the cerebral cortex. 



Causes


The causes of dementia can be;


Neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer's disease, Huntington’s disease, and some types of multiple sclerosis. 


Vascular disease- they are the conditions that affect the blood circulation in your blood. It can occur due to;


  • Traumatic brain injuries 

  • Infections of the central nervous system such as meningitis, HIV, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

  • Long-time alcohol 

  • Long term drug use

  • Certain types of hydrocephalus



Other causes for dementia that are reversible can be;


  • Alcohol or substance use disorder

  • Tumors

  • Subdural hematomas- a condition in which a blood clot occurs beneath the outer covering of the brain

  • Normal-pressure hydrocephalus- a condition in which fluid buildup occurs around the brain

  • Metabolic disorders such as a vitamin B12 deficiency

  • Hypothyroidism- or low thyroid hormones

  • Hypoglycemia- Low blood sugar

  • HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND)


Risk factors


There is no such cause for dementia. It occurs due to the accumulation of proteins in the brain. The risk factors associated with it are;


  • Family history and genetics

  • Increasing age

  • Down syndrome

  • Female gender

  • Head trauma/ accidents

  • Mild cognitive impairment 

  • Exposure to air pollution 

  • Poor sleep patterns 

  • Lifestyle habits like lack of exercise, obesity, smoking, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, uncontrolled type II diabetes. 


Conclusion 


Dementia is often a progressive disease. Medicines may be given as symptomatic treatment. 


Doctors For Dementia

Dr. Tabinda Ilyas

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Dr. Amna Bashir

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Ms. Sana Fatima

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Ms. Jaleesha Abdul Hafeez Butt

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Ms. Masooma Ijaz

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Ms Maria Bukhari

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