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I need more information about dementia?

Abu Maryam The word dementia comes from the Latin ‘d’e meaning “apart” and mens from the genitive mentis meaning “mind”. Dementia is the progressive deterioration…

Abu Maryam

The word dementia comes from the Latin ‘d’e meaning “apart” and mens from the genitive mentis meaning “mind”. Dementia is the progressive deterioration in cognitive function – the ability to process thought (intelligence). Progressive means the symptoms will gradually get worse. The deterioration is more than might be expected from normal aging and is due to damage or disease. Damage could be due to stroke while an example of a disease might be Alzheimer’s.

Dementia is a set of signs and symptoms
Dementia is a non-specific syndrome in which affected areas of the brain function may be affected, such as memory, language, problem solving and attention. Dementia, unlike Alzheimer’s, is not a disease in itself. When dementia appears, the higher mental functions of the patient are involved initially. Eventually, in the later stages, the person may not know what day of the week, month or year it is, he/she may not know where he/she is, and might not be able to identify the people around him/her. Dementia is significantly more common among elderly people. However, it can affect adults of any age.

What are the symptoms of dementia?
1.      Memory loss – the patient may forget his/her way back home from the shops. He/she may forget names and places. He/she may find it hard to remember what happened earlier on during the day.
2.      Moodiness – the patient may become more and more moody as parts of the brain that control emotion becomes damaged. Moods may also be affected by fear and anxiety – the patient is frightened about what is happening to him/her.
3.      Communicative difficulties – the affected person finds it harder to talk, read and/or write.
4.      As the dementia progresses, the patient’s ability to carry out everyday tasks diminishes and he may not be able to look after himself/herself.

Diseases that cause dementia
1.      Alzheimer’s disease – This is by far the most common cause of dementia. The chemistry and structure of the brain of a person with Alzheimer’s disease changes and his/her brain cells die prematurely.
2.      Stroke (Vascular problems) – this means problems with blood vessels (veins and arteries). Our brain needs a good supply of oxygen-rich blood. If this supply is undermined in any way our brain cells could die – causing symptoms of vascular dementia. Symptoms may appear suddenly, or gradually. A major stroke will cause symptoms to appear suddenly while a series of mini strokes will not.
3.      Dementia with Lewy bodies – spherical structures develop inside nerve cells. Brain cells are nerve cells; they form part of our nervous system. These spherical structures in the brain damage brain tissue. The patient’s memory, concentration and ability to speak are affected.
4.      Fronto-temporal dementia – this includes Pick’s disease. The front part of the brain is damaged. The patient’s behavior and personality are affected first, later his memory changes.
Diagnosis of dementia
Although there are some brief tests, a more reliable diagnosis needs to be carried out by a specialist.

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