Dementia is not a disease in itself, but rather a term that is used to describe a combination of symptoms involving impairments of the brain cells. Problems with memory, communication and thinking are all associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease is the cause in a majority of cases. These are the facts on dementia……
- Although the chances of having dementia increase as we age, it is not a normal part of aging.
- Close to 50 million people in the world suffer from dementia.
- It is caused by damaged and dying brain cells.
- Dementia is often confused with Alzheimer’s disease but there are other forms that are not related to AD, such as infections, vitamin deficiencies, thyroid problems and Parkinson’s disease to name a few.
- Dementia is a progressive and frustrating syndrome to suffer from. The sufferer for the most part knows what they want to say and do but they have an inability to communicate or act on it. This can often result (understandably) in anger and frustration.
- Later stages of dementia require constant supervision and care because of the patients inability to perform basic functions like getting dressed or using the bathroom.
Signs, Symptoms and Stages of Dementia
There are several warning signs and symptoms that may indicate dementia. It is important to consult with your doctor if you notice any of the following:
- Impaired judgement, problem solving and faulty reasoning.
- Memory loss and disorientation to time and place.
- Balance and motor movement problems.
- Inappropriate behaviour and difficulty communicating.
- Personality changes frustration and irritability.
- Not able to follow directions and having trouble reading.
- No interest and neglecting personal hygiene and proper eating.
- Inability to function normally.
- Frequently losing or misplacing things and forgetting appointments or events.
Occassionaly searching for words and some forgetfulness is a normal occurrence as we age, but repeatedly asking the same questions or having trouble with familiar tasks and places could be warning signs of dementia.
Dementia can be caused by disease, infections, problems with the central nervous system, lack of oxygen to the brain caused by stroke, or even single trauma injuries to the brain.
Poor diet and vitamin deficiencies can progressively cause deterioration of the brain cells resulting in dementia. Conversely, it is possible to reduce or eliminate these types of.dementia by treating and improving diet and vitamin intake.
A proper diagnosis by your doctor will be aided if you can document signs and symptoms and their frequencies. Document troubling behaviour such as memory loss occurrences in yourself or those that you suspect may have early signs of dementia.This will go a long way in diagnosing the cause and help to develop a game plan to treat and minimize how dementia will affect your lifestyle.
As with many ailments the best way to prevent dementia may be in the form of long term healthy lifestyle. Avoid smoking and drink alcohol in moderation, eat a well balanced diet consisting of mostly whole foods, avoid stress, get plenty of sleep and exercise regularly. In addition to the healthy lifestyle it is recommended to also exercise your mind on a regular basis. Read, do crosswords, play games and challenge your mind in other ways. The brain is the same as muscles in the body. Use it or lose it is a popular expression.