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Dementia Care and Cure

Dementia – Treatment, Causes and Prevention

October 11, 2016 -

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“Even a well person might get distracted and forget to watch a child for a little while. People with dementia, however, might forget all about the child and just leave the house for the day.”

What is Dementia?

Dementia is a loss of brain function that occurs with certain diseases. It affects memory, thinking, language, judgment, and behavior.

Memory loss is an example. Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia (60% to 80%).

Dementia is not a specific disease. It’s an overall term that describes a wide range of symptoms

Dementia is often incorrectly referred to as “senility” or “senile dementia,” which reflects the formerly widespread but incorrect belief that serious mental decline is a normal part of aging.

Memory loss in dementia can be serious enough for the person to forget where they are, even on their home street.

Symptoms of Dementia

The symptoms of dementia experienced by patients, or noticed by people close to them, are exactly the same signs that healthcare professionals look for.
Therefore, detailed information on these is given in the next section about tests and diagnosis.
A person with dementia may show any of the following problems, mostly due to memory loss – some of which they may notice (or become frustrated with) themselves, while others may only be picked up by carers or healthcare workers as a cause for concern.
The signs used to compile this list are published by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) in the journal American Family Physician.

  • Recent memory loss – a sign of this might be asking the same question repeatedly, forgetting about already asking it.
  • Difficulty completing familiar tasks – for example, making a drink or cooking a meal, but forgetting and leaving it.
  • Problems communicating – difficulty with language by forgetting simple words or using the wrong ones.
  • Disorientation – with time and place, getting lost on a previously familiar street close to home, for example, and forgetting how they got there or would get home again.
  • Poor judgment
  • Problems with abstract thinking – for example, dealing with money.
  • Misplacing things – including putting them in the wrong places and forgetting about doing this.
  • Mood changes – unlike those we all have, swinging quickly through a set of moods.
  • Personality changes – becoming irritable, suspicious or fearful, for example.
  • Loss of initiative – showing less interest in starting something or going somewhere.

Also see: 10 Signs of Dementia (PDF)

Causes of Dementia

All dementias are caused by brain cell death, and neurodegenerative disease – progressive brain cell death that happens over a course of time – is behind most dementias.

Some common causes are listed below:

  • Dementia can be caused by a head injury, a stroke or a brain tumor, among other causes.
  • Prion diseases – from certain types of protein, as in CJD (Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease) and GSS (Gerstmann-Straussler-Scheinker syndrome).
  • HIV infection – when the problem is simply termed HIV-associated dementia. How the virus damages brain cells is not certain.
  • Reversible factors – some dementias can be treated by reversing the effects of underlying causes, including medication interactions, depression, vitamin deficiencies (for example, thiamine/B1, leading to Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, which is most often caused by alcohol misuse), and thyroid abnormalities.
  • Brain cell death caused by conditions such as cerebrovascular disease, for example stroke. This prevents normal blood flow, depriving brain cells of oxygen.
  • Injury – post-traumatic dementia is directly related to brain cell death caused by injury.

Alzheimer’s is thought to be caused by “plaques” between the dying cells in the brain and “tangles” within the cells (both are protein abnormalities: a build-up of “beta-amyloid” in plaques and the disintegration of “tau” protein in tangles).

Prevention of Dementia

Avoiding the following things can help prevent the disease:

  • Smoking and alcohol use
  • Atherosclerosis (cardiovascular disease causing the arteries to narrow)
  • High levels of “bad” cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein)
  • Above-average blood levels of homocysteine (a type of amino acid)
  • Diabetes, which is also a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and stroke, which may lead to vascular dementia
  • Mild cognitive impairment, which can sometimes, but not always, lead to dementia.

Dementia Care – Treatment of Dementia

Dementia care offers catered memory care services, attention and medication management, often in a secure assisted living or nursing home setting.

Often in later stages of dementia, it’s too difficult for a family to take care of their loved ones as they need more specialized, expert care from trained professionals.

Noble Care Malaysia provides specialized care services for dementia patients. We have trained professionals for caring of dementia.

Noble Care Malaysia is well known because of its wide range of care services offered for old folks (elderly care).

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