Dementia is a very loose word, as there are several different types of it. It is not specific in description, but rather a catch-all term used as a symptom in many cases. What we do know is that it impairs the thoughts of the brain. This impairment affects many, if not all, aspects of life. It affects our day-to-day living, our intellect, our behavior, and our relationships just to name a few.
People with dementia may experience behavioral changes, become more agitated, not remember what was second nature to them, and even hallucinate. These changes may come and go as well. You cannot be too sure what they are thinking and need supervision at all times to avoid putting them at risk to themselves.
A diagnosis of dementia is established by a physician. The physician determines this diagnosis based on the symptoms of two or more malfunctioning processes of the brain. These processes include the victim’s perception, memory, reasoning, judgment, and/or language skills.
In dementia, nerve cells just cease to function as they once did. These nerve cells die off and cannot make the connection to the other neurons. Classifications of dementia include cortical and subcortical dementia, primary and secondary dementia, and progressive dementia.
One of the most common types of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. This type of dementia is seen in persons over the age of 65. It is not uncommon to know someone with this form of dementia as it affects approximately 4 million people in the United States alone. In some cases, a defect in the genes produces an early onset form of the disease.
Alzheimer’s disease does not appear overnight, but rather over the course of many years. Little by little more signs develop and Alzheimer’s disease is then suspected. We all forget occasionally or even more than that, but this does not mean it is dementia. Dementia comes with other symptoms as noted above. Memory loss is just one of the symptoms.
Abnormalities in the brain depict dementia. Inside the brain of a person with dementia you will find amyloid plaques in the tissues of the nerve cells. You will also find neurofibrillary tangles, which are twisted filaments that are located within the neurons. These plaques and filaments are made up of protein that interferes with the communication between its nerve cells and therefore death of the cells is inevitable.
Treatment for dementia consists of medications. However, there is no cure and progression can only be slowed down. Research regarding Alzheimer’s disease, as well as other types of dementia is being done all the time.
There are ways to help yourself to attempt to avoid dementia. By practicing good health measures, such as in diet, nutrition, fitness, and lifestyle habits, and seeing your physician for regular check-ups you can maintain optimum physical and mental health. As well, keeping your mind sharp is important. Make sure that you give your brain a good workout every day. You can do this by using your writing skills, playing games, doing crossword puzzles, and reading. By keeping yourself in good health, both physically and mentally you can be the best you possible.