What is Dementia? Symptoms, Causes, Treatment 

You would have come across some people and talking to them didn’t make any sense to you, and you ask yourself what they’re talking about. Today, we’ll discuss what is dementia; its symptoms, causes, and treatment.

What is Dementia? 

Dementia is a term used for a person exhibiting a group of symptoms like illogical reasoning, not paying attention, losing memory and thinking capabilities, and other mental issues. The changes are so strong and severe that impact your personal and professional life.

Dementia also goes by the name of the neurocognitive disorder, and it is not a disease. It comprises a group of symptoms that the other conditions are causing it. According to an estimate, approximately 5-8% of the people above the age of 65 experience some form of dementia. The figure gets doubled up every five years after the age of 65. Approximately half of the people aging 80 years old have some form of dementia.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. Roundabout 60-80% of the people with dementia have got Alzheimer’s disease.

Symptoms of Dementia 

Some of the main symptoms of dementia are as follows;

Cognitive Changes

  • Disorientation and confusion
  • Difficulty with motor functions and coordination
  • Trouble organizing and planning
  • Difficulty in dealing with various complex tasks
  • Issues with problem solving and reasoning
  • Problems with spatial and visual capabilities and getting lost while driving
  • Difficulty in finding words and communication
  • Losing memory that others can easily notice it

Psychological Changes

  • Hallucinations
  • Agitation
  • Paranoia
  • Inappropriate behavior
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Personality changes

Causes of Dementia 

Loss and damage of nerve cells and their connections can cause dementia. Dementia could impact various people differently depending on the damaged area of the brain. It’s a group that has something in common like the proteins deposited in the brain or the affected part of the brain. However, some conditions seem like dementias but are actually caused by deficiencies of vitamins or the reaction to the medication.

Types of Dementias 

Some of the main types of dementias that are irreversible are as follows;

Alzheimer Disease

One of the most common forms of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, and researchers don’t know all causes of Alzheimer’s disease. But they do believe that a small percentage of it is due to the mutation of three genes, and parents pass down those genes to their children. Several genes could cause the condition, but one gene that could amplify the risk is apolipoprotein E4 (APOE).

Studies have shown that patients with Alzheimer’s disease have got tangles and plaques in their brains. Plaques are clumps of protein that you can call beta-amyloid, and tau protein make up the fibrous tangles and tangles. Many believe that those clumps destroy the healthy neurons and the connecting fibers.

Vascular Dementia

Vessels that supply blood to the brain get damaged. Problems in the vessels could impact your brain in many ways and cause stroke, and it damages the fiber-containing white matter of the brain. Some of the main signs of vascular dementias are unorganized, losing focus, slow thinking, and difficulty in solving problems. It becomes more noticeable than losing memory.

Lewy Body Dementia

Lewy body comprises balloon-like clumps of protein, and you can find them in the brain of Lewy body dementia patients. One of the most common forms of Lewy body dementia is Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. However, some of its common signs are not paying attention, difficulty in focusing, hallucinations, acting out in the sleep, rigidity (parkinsonism), tremors, and slow and uncoordinated body movements.

Frontotemporal Dementia

It’s a group of diseases outlined by the breakage of nerve cells and their connections in the temporal and frontal lobes of the brain. It is the area of the brain that deals with language, behavior, and personality. Some of its common symptoms are issues with movement, language, judgment, thinking, personality, and behavior.

Mixed Dementia

Autopsy studies have shown that people above the age of 80 years that had dementias were because of many causes like Lewy body dementias, vascular dementias, and Alzheimer’s disease. Many research studies are still going on to find out how having mixed dementia impacts treatment and symptoms.

Diagnosis of Dementias 

Your doctor would conduct a thorough physical examination, review the patient’s history, and perform various tests. Some of the main tests for dementias are as follows;

  • Spinal fluid analysis
  • EEG (electroencephalogram)
  • CT or MRI Scanning (brain scanning)
  • Chest X-ray
  • Urine and blood test

Some of the main criteria they use to diagnose the dementias condition are as follows;

  • Spatial skills, motor, and language function
  • Judgment
  • Memory
  • Orientation
  • Attention impairment

Treatment of Dementias 

In order to treat dementias, doctors have to identify the cause and treat it accordingly. Approximately 20% of causes of the dementia are reversible. If the causes of the person are irreversible, then the focus of the treatment is on managing the symptoms like managing concerns and agitation.

Aduhelm is the first medicine approved by FDA, and people have been using it for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Other medicines that could slow down the progression of the cognitive changes are;

  • Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors
  • Galantamine
  • Donepezil

Conclusion: What is Dementia? Symptoms, Causes, Treatment 

After an in-depth study of what is dementia; its symptoms, causes, types, diagnosis, and treatment; we have realized that dementias could badly impact your life. It’s a type of condition that you have to find a way to live with it and manage its symptoms.