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Dementia

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Dementia can cause changes in a person's mood, behavior and personality. One of the early symptoms of dementia is a person's lack of ability to remember things. As it worsens, the person becomes unable of taking care of himself. Even worse, the difficulties of taking care of this person can be extended to his family. The person becomes prone to mood swings and disruptive behavior which can be very hurtful to loved ones.

Cortical dementia affects the outer layer of the brain. This is also called the cortex. This type of dementia can affect a person's social behavior, thinking, language and memory. Another type of dementia is subcortical dementia which as the name implies affects parts of the brain below the cortex. This can lead to memory, movement and emotional problems.

Progressive dementia, on the other hand, doesn't involve a specific part of the brain. Instead, it describes the progression of the disease wherein the person loses more cognitive abilities as the illness becomes worse.

DEMENTIA CAUSES

Primary dementia is not caused by another disease. An example of this is Alzheimer's disease which is experienced by people from 65 to 85 years old. Sometimes, the onset of AD can come earlier. In these cases, it is usually caused by a genetic defect. Secondary dementia, on the other hand, is usually caused by a disease or injury.

Contrary to most beliefs, dementia cannot be classified as a specific disease because it is merely a term used to describe the symptoms that can be brought about by other disorders that affects the brain or destroys the brain.

Dementia can happen because of disease and brain injury. Vascular dementia, for example, is usually caused by cerebrovascular or cardiovascular problems in the form of strokes. This can also be caused by genetic heart problems, endocarditis or the infection of the heart valve or the build up of amyloid protein in the brain's blood cells. For such cases, the illness is irreversible.

As mentioned earlier, there are cases wherein dementia is not caused by another disease or brain injury. It becomes the symptom of a disease. Alzheimer’s disease, for example, is the most common illness acquired by the aged.

Dementia can also be caused by the long-term use of drugs. Sometimes, some medications can bring about some side effects that can mimic dementia. This can be brought about by just one drug or the interaction of a combination of drugs. Alcohol can also play a role in bringing about this condition.
dementia
Image: Dementia


Some people become victims of this illness because of hormonal imbalance. Thyroid problems, for example, can lead to depression and dementia. Since we need glucose to facilitate neural functions, people with hypoglycemia can also lead to dementia in the form of confusion or personality changes. People with too much or too little sodium or calcium in their bodies can also end up with dementia.

People who lack certain nutrients in their bodies can also be prone to dementia. Those who are deficient in thiamine or vitamin B1 usually end up becoming chronic alcoholics, impairing a person's memory. Not having enough vitamin B6 in the body, on the other hand, can lead to a neurological disease called pellagra. One of the symptoms of this disorder is dementia.

Another cause of dementia is subdural hematoma or the bleeding of the brain can also bring about symptoms that mimic dementia. The development of tumors in the brain can also cause changes in a person's personality. It can also cause problems in speech as well as the occurrence of psychotic episodes.

In situations wherein drug consumption, metabolic problems or tumors cause the onset of dementia, the illness is reversible.

All of us do forget things once in a while. But, that isn't a sign of dementia. When you have this illness, you won't remember the things that you've forgotten. People with dementia can forget family members and lose the ability to recognize them. They may also repeat questions because they have forgotten that they have asked these questions. They even forget activities that they have just done. Think about a person who decided to knit a sweater for you. The person may finish knitting the sweater but she will forget why she knitted the sweater. Worse, she might not even remember knitting the sweater.

DEMENTIA SYMPTOMS

Another sign that a person has dementia is when he forgets how to use a simple word or ends up using the wrong words when they are explaining something. For this reason, it becomes difficult for other people to understand him. This can be very difficult for his family and friends. People with dementia may even forget what a number looks like.

People who suffer from dementia usually become disoriented. Sometimes, when they travel to a place they can forget where they are going on their way to their destination. They end up becoming lost and unable to go home. This can cause a lot of worry in their relatives and loved ones.


Another dangerous thing about people with dementia is that they can misplace objects and forget about them. Imagine what would happen if they end up putting bleach into their coffee instead of cream? Mood swings and changes in personality are also very common for people with dementia. They also tend to become very passive and may sometimes avoid company or hide from people.

DEMENTIA TREATMENT

The treatment of dementia really depends on the cause of the illness. If the illness was caused by a hormonal imbalance like hyperthyroidism, the doctor may recommend a thyroid hormone replacement. For people with Alzheimer's disease, on the other hand, a group of medications called acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, is given to the patient. These medications can boost the levels of the acetycholine, a chemical that sends messages to the brain, leading to the increase in intensity of the signals sent to the brain.

In some cases, patients who have dementia are given some drugs that could restore their cognitive functioning. Examples of these drugs are donepezil, rivastigmine and galantamine.
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Medication commonly used for these disease:

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