WHAT MOST PEOPLE FAIL TO UNDERSTAND ABOUT DEMENTIA
Most people always think that Dementia is mostly found on elderly people, which is correct but it may sound shocking to you that Dementia can also be found on everyone as they age. knowing how Dementia begins and how to treat it is very important.
DEMENTIA IN AN ELDERLY OR AGED PERSON
Last time on how to care for the old or elderly, I made mention of Dementia as one of the challenges faced by the old or elderly. Dementia is a normal part of aging, it increases with age. Dementia is not a single disease in itself, it's a general term used to describe symptoms of impairment in memory, communication, and thinking. It's a term used to describe the various symptoms of cognitive decline like forgetfulness and brain disorders. So one should be careful enough not to refer an old person with Dementia as someone who has gone crazy. This article will give you a brief understanding of what is Dementia, it's causes, types, symptoms, as well as possible ways to manage its symptoms.
WHAT THEN IS DEMENTIA?
Dementia is a brain disease that causes a loss of thinking, remembering, and reasoning skills. Dementia is a group of conditions characterized by impairment of at least two brain functions, such as memory loss and judgment.
N/B. It should be noted that Dementia is not only found on elderly persons, but it comes as one age, so knowing some of its symptoms as well as the stages should be a general concern.
SYMPTOMS OF DEMENTIA
A person suffering from Dementia will possibly have the following symptoms;
- Recent memory loss – a sign of this might be asking the same question repeatedly.
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks – for example, making a drink or cooking a meal.
- Problems communicating – difficulty with language; forgetting simple words or using the wrong ones.
- Disorientation – getting lost on a previously familiar street, for example.
- Problems with abstract thinking – for instance, dealing with money.
- Misplacing things – forgetting the location of everyday items such as keys, or wallets, for example.
Mood changes – sudden and unexplained changes in outlook or disposition, loneliness, anxiety.
- Personality changes – perhaps becoming irritable, suspicious, or fearful.
- Loss of initiative-showing less interest in starting something or going somewhere.
Psychological: depression, hallucination, or paranoia.
Muscular: inability to combine muscle movements or unsteady walking.
Also common: memory impairment, falling, paraphasia, or sleep disorder.
STAGES OF DEMENTIA
Dementia could be examined in four (4)stages;
- Mild cognitive impairment: it can be characterized by general forgetfulness, which affects many people as they age but it only progresses to dementia for some if care is not taken.
- Mild dementia: people with mild dementia experience cognitive impairments that occasionally impact their daily life. Some possible symptoms at this stage are memory loss, confusion, personality changes, getting lost, and difficulty in planning and carrying out tasks.
- Moderate dementia: daily life becomes more challenging, and the individual may need more help. Symptoms are similar to mild dementia but increased. Individuals may need help getting dressed and combing their hair. Some significant changes in personality; like becoming suspicious or agitated for no reason. There may also be sleep disturbances.
- Severe dementia: at this stage, symptoms have worsened considerably. The individual may have a loss of ability to communicate and might need full-time care. Simple tasks, such as sitting and holding one’s head up become impossible. Bladder control may be lost.
CAUSES OF DEMENTIA
- Dementia is caused by damage to brain cells. This damage interferes with the ability of brain cells to communicate with each other. When brain cells cannot communicate normally, thinking, behavior, and feelings can be affected.
- Vascular dementia (also called multi-infarct dementia): Dementias could be as a result of brain cell death, and neurodegenerative disease – progressive brain cell death that happens over time – is associated with most dementias. However it is not known if dementia causes brain cell death, or brain cell death causes dementia. Brain cell death caused by conditions such as cerebrovascular disease, for example, stroke, which prevents normal blood flow, depriving brain cells of oxygen.
- Post-traumatic dementia: it is directly related to brain cell death caused by injury on the head.
- Dementia can also be caused by a brain tumor.
- Age and genetics can also be one of the causes of Dementia
CAN DEMENTIA BE TREATED?
Treatment of dementia depends on its cause. In the case of most progressive dementias, progressive means it starts out slowly and gets worst, including Alzheimer's disease, there is no cure and no treatment can slow or stop its progression. While most changes in the brain that cause dementia are permanent and get worst over time, thinking and memory problems caused by the following conditions may improve when the condition is treated or addressed:
- Medication side effects.
- Excess use of alcohol.
- Thyroid problems.
- Vitamin deficiencies.
Talking about how to diagnose Dementia, it should be noted that ;
There hasn't been any test to determine dementia in a person. But a careful medical history, a physical examination, laboratory tests, and the characteristic changes in thinking, day-to-day function, and behavior associated with each type. Doctors can determine that a person has dementia with a high level of certainty. But it's difficult to determine the exact type of dementia because the symptoms and brain changes of different dementias can overlap.