Dementia is the decline in cognitive function is it is not a disease, Dementia may be caused by a variety of illnesses and injuries, a mental impairment may range from mild to severe and Dementia may also cause personality change. Does Dementia Kill? If yes, why? So today let’s learn about Dementia its symptoms, stages, causes, types, and prevention.
Dementia, what is it?
Dementia isn’t a specific disease, but several other diseases can cause dementia. The term dementia is used to describe a group of symptoms affecting memory, thinking, and social abilities harshly enough to interfere with our daily life. One early sign for the condition is memory loss, having memory loss alone doesn’t mean you have dementia. There are several different causes for memory loss.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of progressive dementia in older adults, but there are several other causes of dementia. Depending on the cause, some dementia symptoms might be reversible. Dementia is a decline in cognitive function. To be considered dementia, mind impairment must affect two brain functions.
How does Dementia Kill you?
Towards the end of the illness, they lose muscle control and may be unable to chew and swallow. Without nourishment, individuals can become frail and weak and at risk of falls, fractures, and infections, which could lead to death.
Dementia may affect:
In its first stages, dementia can cause symptoms, such as:
- Not coping well with change. You may have a hard time deferring changes in plans or environment.
- Slight changes in short-term memory-making. You can recollect the events of 15 years ago like it was yesterday, but you can’t remember what you had for lunch.
- Catching up with the right words. Recollection or association of words may be more difficult.
- Being repetitive. You may ask the same question, complete the same task, or tell the same story multiple times.
- Troubled sense of direction. Places you know well may now feel foreign.
- Struggling to follow storylines. You may find following a person’s story or description difficult.
- Alterations in the mood. Depression, frustration, and anger are common for people with dementia.
- Loss of interest. Apathy may occur in people with dementia. You lose interest in hobbies and activities that you enjoy.
- Confusion. People, places, and occasions may no longer feel familiar. You will not remember people who know you.
- Difficulty completing everyday tasks. You may struggle to recall how to do tasks you’ve done for many years.
Types of dementia
Most cases of dementia are a symptom of a particular disease. Different diseases cause varied types of dementia. The most common types of dementia include:
- Alzheimer’s disease The most common type of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease makes up 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases.
- Vascular dementia This type of dementia is caused by reduced blood flow in the brain. It may be the result of plaque buildup in arteries that feed blood to the brain or a stroke.
- Lewy body dementia Protein deposits in nerve cells prevent the brain from sending chemical signals. This results in lost messages, delayed reactions, and memory loss.
- Parkinson’s disease Individuals with advanced Parkinson’s disease may develop dementia. Symptoms of this particular type of dementia include problems with reasoning and judgment, as well behavioral irritability, paranoia, and depression.
- Frontotemporal Dementia Several types of dementia fall into this category. They’re each affected by changes in the front and side parts of the brain. Symptoms include difficulty with language and behavior, as well as loss of inhibitions.
Stages of Dementia
In most cases, dementia is progressive, getting worse over time. Dementia progresses contrarily in everyone. Still, most people undergo symptoms of the following stages of dementia:
Mild cognitive impairment
Older individuals may develop mild cognitive impairment (MCI) but may never proceed to dementia or any other mental impairment. People with MCI experience forgetfulness, trouble recalling words, and short-term memory problems.
At this stage, people will be able to function independently. Symptoms include:
short-term memory fails personality changes, including anger or depression misplacing things or forgetfulness difficulty with complicated tasks, or problem-solving struggling to convey feelings or ideas
At this stage, people impacted will need help from a loved one or care provider. That’s because dementia may now deter with daily tasks and activities. Symptoms include:
1. Poor judgment
2. Surging confusion and frustration
3. Memory loss that reaches further into the past
4. Needing help with tasks like dressing and bathing
5. Notable personality changes
At this late stage, the mental and physical symptoms of the condition continue to deteriorate. Symptoms include:
1. Inability to maintain bodily functions, including walking and eventually swallowing and controlling bladder
2. Inability to communicate
3. Needing full-time assistance
4. Increased danger for infections
Causes for Dementia
Dementia is caused by damage to or loss of nerve cells and their connections in the brain. Depending on the area of the brain that’s damaged, dementia can affect people contrarily and cause varied symptoms. Dementias are often grouped by what they have in common, such as the protein or proteins deposited in the brain or the part of the brain that’s affected. Some diseases look like dementias, such as those caused by an outcome of medications or vitamin deficiencies and they might improve with treatment.
Types of dementias that progress and aren’t reversible include:
This is the most common cause of dementia. Experts do know that a small percentage are related to mutations of three genes, which can be passed down from parent to child. While several genes are possibly involved in Alzheimer’s disease, one important gene that increases risk is Apolipoprotein E4 (APOE). Although not all causes of Alzheimer’s disease are known. Alzheimer’s disease, patients have plaques and tangles in their brains. Plaques are clumps of a protein called beta-amyloid, and tangles are fibrous tangles made up of tau protein. It’s supposed that these clumps damage healthy neurons and the fibers connecting them.
This type of dementia is caused by damage to the vessels that supply blood to your brain. Blood vessel problems can cause strokes or affect the brain in further ways, such as by damaging the fibers in the white matter of the brain. The most common signs of vascular dementia include difficulties with problem-solving, slowed thinking, and loss of focus and organization. These tend to be more noticeable than memory loss.
Other disorders linked to dementia
Huntington’s disease. Caused by a genetic mutation, this disease causes certain nerve cells in your brain and spinal cord to waste away. Signs and symptoms, including a severe decline in thinking (cognitive) skills, usually appear around age 30 or 40.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI). This condition is most often caused by repetitive head trauma. Boxers, football players, or soldiers might develop this condition Depending on the part of the brain that’s injured, this condition can cause dementia signs and symptoms such as depression, explosiveness, memory loss, and impaired speech. TBI may also cause parkinsonism. Symptoms might not appear until years after the trauma.
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. This rare brain disorder usually occurs in people without known risk factors. This condition might be due to deposits of infectious proteins called prions. Signs and symptoms of this fatal condition usually appear after age 60.
Parkinson’s disease. Many people with Parkinson’s disease ultimately develop dementia symptoms (Parkinson’s disease dementia).
Dementia can affect many body systems and, hence, the ability to function. Dementia can lead to:
Poor nutrition. Many people with dementia eventually lessen or stop eating, affecting their nutrient intake. Ultimately, they may be unable to chew and swallow.
Pneumonia. Difficulty swallowing intensifies the risk of choking or aspirating food into the lungs, which can block breathing and cause pneumonia.
Incapacity to perform self-care tasks. As dementia progresses, it can interfere with bathing, dressing, brushing hair or teeth, using the toilet independently, and taking medications as directed.
Personal safety challenges. Some day-to-day situations can present safety issues for people with dementia, including driving, cooking, and walking, and living alone.
Death. Late-stage dementia results in coma and death.
There’s no certain way to prevent dementia, but there are steps you can take that might help. Further research is needed, but it might be helpful to do the following:
Keep your mind active. Mentally stimulating activities, such as reading, solving puzzles and playing word games, and memory training might curb the onset of dementia and reduce its effects.
Be physically and socially active. Physical activity and social interaction might inhibit the onset of dementia and reduce its symptoms. Aim for 150 minutes of exercise a week.
Quit smoking. Some studies have shown that smoking in middle age and beyond might increase your risk of dementia and blood vessel conditions. Quitting smoking might reduce your risk and will improve your health.
Get enough vitamins. Some research suggests that people with low levels of vitamin D in their blood are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. You can get vitamin D through certain foods, supplements, and sun exposure. More study is needed before an increase in vitamin D intake is recommended for preventing dementia, but it’s a good idea to make sure you get adequate vitamin D. Taking a daily B-complex vitamin and vitamin C also might help.
Manage cardiovascular risk factors. Treat high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Lose weight if you’re overweight.
High blood pressure might lead to a higher risk of some types of dementia. More research is needed to determine whether treating high blood pressure may reduce the risk of dementia.
Dementia vs. Alzheimer’s disease
Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) are not the same. Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a collection of symptoms related to memory, language, and decision-making.
AD is the most common type of dementia. It causes difficulty with short-term memory, depression, disorientation, behavioral changes, and more. Dementia causes symptoms such as forgetfulness or memory impairment, loss of sense of direction, confusion, and difficulty with personal care. The exact constellation of symptoms will depend on the type of dementia you have.
AD can also cause these symptoms, but other symptoms of AD may include depression, impaired judgment, and difficulty speaking. Likewise, treatments for dementia depend on the type you have. However, AD treatments often overlap with other non-pharmacological dementia treatments.
In the case of some types of dementia, treating the underlying cause may help reduce or stop memory and behavior problems. However, that is not the case with AD.
Fast Dementia Scale
What is the Fast Scale?
FAST stands for Functional Assessment Staging Tool. This scale was developed by Dr. Barry Reisberg, who is a leading expert in Alzheimer’s disease. It’s was used to help doctors, medical professionals, and family members understand, talk about and follow the progression of dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease.
How does the FAST scale determine a person’s level of functioning?
Unlike other scales that focus primarily on cognitive declines, such as the GSD, FAST focuses on a person’s ability to function and perform tasks of daily living.
How does the FAST Scale break out the stages of dementia?
You have more than likely heard of the three overarching stages of dementia: early or mild stage, middle stage, and late stage. The FAST scale goes deeper into each of these stages and breaks them down into more comprehensible and detailed descriptions.
What are the FAST Scale categories?
The FAST Scale divides the dementia journey into seven numbered stages. These are:
1. or normally functioning adult
2. or normal functioning, senior adult
3. or early dementia
4. or mild dementia
5. or mid-stage dementia
6. or moderately severe dementia
7. or severe (end stages) of dementia
As we get to see that Dementia is not a disease but a compilation of a variety of illnesses and injuries. There is no proper way to prevent Dementia but few healthy habits like keeping your mind active being physically and socially active, quitting smoking, consuming enough vitamins, may reduce the risk of Dementia.