Dementia: Causes, Symptoms And Treats
Dementia is a term utilized to refer to conditions denoted by a decline in memory, inability to express or understand language, sensory perception problems as well as other thought processes skills that impact an individual’s ability to carry out their daily activities. Reports indicate that one out of every twenty people of sixty years and above lives with the dementia condition. The signs and symptoms of the disease vary depending on the causes. While the condition does not have a known cure, preventative measures such as regular exercising can be taken to prevent the development of the disease or even reducing the symptoms of the disease. This paper will explore the causes and symptoms of dementia, highlight the common types of dementia, the preventative care with suggestions of how to prevent the disease as well as possible treatments.
Causes and Symptoms
Dementia disorders result from abnormal brain changes which trigger a decline in thinking skills. As people grow older, some sections of the brain which are linked to memory and executive function tend to shrink while the myelin sheaths located around neurons begin to wear away leading to a slowed signaling and at the same time arteries becomes narrower thus reducing the blood supply (Kayt and Tiffany, 2017). Genetic factors contribute to the development of many types of this condition since one is more likely to develop the disease given one of their parents or siblings are dementia patients. Dementia is also caused by Alzheimer’s disease which is a disorder that triggers the degeneration of brain cells and eventual death. For patients with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, dementia could result from the repetitive head impact which causes neuropathology changes (Greb, 2019). The common signs and symptoms of dementia include short-term memory problems, abstract thinking, losing focus, visual perception and problems with communication. Another sign of dementia is being unable to summon one’s memory following prompts (Kayt and Tiffany, 2017).
Types of Dementia
The use of the term dementia is an umbrella that denotes the symptoms of cognitive impairment. There are four common dementia types. Alzheimer’s disease is one of the largely feared conditions among Americans above fifty-five years (Whittington, 2008), with about 6 million people living with the disease across the country (Marcum et al., 2019). It is a commonly known type of dementia condition in which the brain cells dies leading to memory loss as well as cognitive deterioration. Vascular dementia, on the other hand, is characterized by problems with motor skills and balance, and impaired judgment. The likelihood of developing the disease is elevated by strokes or heart disease. Lewy’s body dementia is a type that develops as a result of Lewy body proteins and is characterized by hallucinations and sleeping patterns problems (Kayt and Tiffany, 2017). Finally, frontotemporal dementia is a disorder that begins from the age of forty-five to sixty-five. The disorder causes personality changes as well as language problems.
With the growing number of people suffering from dementia disease globally, there is a need to focus more on the disease preventative care and measures that can help to reduce the risk of developing the disease. It’s important to be aware of the risk factors to be able to control them and lead a brain-healthy lifestyle that preserves cognitive abilities. Regular exercises do not only help to reduce the disease development risk but also slows further deterioration for people that have already begun developing cognitive problems. Eating a healthy diet goes a long way in maintaining good nutrition that reduces further risks of other diseases and promotes overall health and wellbeing. According to Whittington (2008), mental exercises, as well as special diets, forms part of dementia prevention. Staying mentally alert can be achieved through aspects such as learning new hobbies and learning a new language. Also, it’s important to manage other health problems such as cardiovascular issues which can contribute to the development of dementia. Education also plays a vital role in prevention care since through brain challenges one creates a better adequate brain that can compensate for aging problems (Kayt and Tiffany, 2017). Maintenance of social connections and proper sleeping habits forms part of preventative care.
Treatments and Nursing
Currently, dementia disease does not have a cure. However, people can use treatments that help ease some symptoms of the disease. For instance, anti-psychotic medications help to control problems of behavior in dementia, anti-inflammatory drugs, estrogen and nutritional supplements which can act as a form of treatment and protective factor (Whittington, 2008). Additionally, compensatory methods with external aides are helpful to dementia patients such as hearing aid since hearing problems can cause dysfunction of parts of the brain (Marcum et al., 2019). In most cases, the prescriptions work-around treating problems brought about by dementia, for instance, irritability or trouble sleeping. Additionally, understanding the underlying potential reasons for impaired cognition is important. For instance, many of the older patients suffering delirium have also dementia and if not then they have an increased risk of developing dementia (Shenkin et al., 2014). Everyday habits including proper nutrition, exercising, engaging in activities that challenge the mind, socializing and having a good sleep goes a long way in offering relief. Kayt and Tiffany (2017), notes that a few drugs exist for treating confusion brought about by dementia. Thus dementia treatment is more of finding a solution to caring for individuals experiencing a decline in their mental faculties.
Dementia condition is generally characterized by memory declination and difficulties in cognitive functioning that compromises the performance of daily activities. Dementia is mostly attributed to the damage or loss of brain nerve cells which affect people in different ways and presents different symptoms such as short-term memory problems and communication problems. Although Alzheimer’s disease is a widely known type of dementia there are other types including vascular, Lewy body dementia and frontotemporal dementia. While dementia does not have a cure, medications such as anti-psychotic are used to ease the symptoms. Its also crucial to focus on preventative care such as regular physical exercises, healthy eating, practicing proper sleeping habits and remaining mentally alert to prevent the development of the disease.
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- Kayt, S., & Tiffany, O. (2017). Defying Dementia. New Scientist, 234 (3123), 28-33.
- Marcum, Z., Hohl, S., Barthold, D., Gray, S., Crane, P. & Larson, E. (2019). Brain Health and Dementia Prevention: Mixed-method Analysis. American Journal of Health Behavior,43(2), 300-310.
- Shenkin, S. R. (2014). Screening for dementia and other causes of cognitive impairment in general hospital in-patients. Age and Ageing, 43, 166-168.
- Whittington, F. (2008). Book Reviews: Beating Dementia. The Gerontologist, 48(1), 121-124.