Dementia is most common after the age of 60, although it can occur at earlier ages. Dementia occurs when brain function is lost, in which there is deterioration in memory, thinking, behavior and the ability to carry out everyday activities. The progression of the condition can be stopped or reversed in some cases, especially when dementia is due to medications, vitamin deficiency, alcohol abuse, depression, heart or lung disease, and infection. The most common types of dementia are, however, progressive in nature. Prompt medical care should be sought if you notice difficulty with memory, thinking, talking, comprehension, writing or reading; increasing confusion; incapable of caring for yourself and your daily needs; changes in mood, personality or behavior; or other symptoms that are bothering you.
Common symptoms include
Symptoms that might signal that the problem is serious, include altered judgment, changes in mood, personality, or behavior, lack of social skills, inability to care for oneself, difficulty carrying out complex tasks, and difficulty with memory, thinking, talking, comprehension, writing or reading.
Some conditions that cause dementia run in families, while others have specific risk factors.
Disease Causes– Many progressive diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s disease, Lewy Body dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis are known to cause dementia.
Other Causes– Some other conditions that can cause dementia include stroke, brain tumors, alcohol or substance abuse, cardiovascular disease, head injury or trauma, electrolyte imbalance, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (a degenerative brain disorder that leads to dementia and death), and nutritional deficiencies, such as deficiency in Vitamin B12.
Dementia Risk Factors:
There are some factors that increase the likelihood for someone to develop the condition, though not all people with risk factors will get dementia. The risk factors include advancing age, alcohol abuse, hypertension, smoking, family history of the condition, diabetes, certain medications like antidepressants and antianxiety drugs, and high cholesterol.
Reducing your Risk:
You cannot prevent progressive diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, but some types of dementia like those connected with stroke or cardiovascular disease, may be preventable. You can significantly lower your risk by quitting smoking, exercising regularly, keeping blood sugar and blood pressure in check, eating a diet low in fat, and limiting alcohol consumption.
Dementia treatment starts with seeking regular medical care throughout one’s life, which will allow your doctor to provide early screening tests, and also give them the opportunity to promptly assess symptoms and risks for you to develop the condition.
Medications to curb the progression of symptoms– Your doctor may prescribe medications to help slow the degenerative changes seen with Alzheimer’s disease, which include cholinesterase inhibitors, such as donepezil (Aricept), galantamine (Razadyne), and NMDA receptor antagonists such as memantine (Namenda).
Medications to control behavioral changes– Antianxiety medications such as buspirone (Buspar); Antipsychotics, such as haloperidol (Haldol); Antidepressants, such as citalopram (Celexa), fluoxetine (Prozac), and stimulants such as methylphenidate (Methylin, Ritalin) that can help improve sleep disorders.
Complementary Treatments– Complementary treatments, such as yoga, massage therapy, acupuncture, and nutritional dietary supplements, herbal remedies, tea beverages, and similar products- can help some individuals to better deal with the condition. These treatments are used in combination with traditional medical treatments, not as an alternative.
Most types of dementia are progressive, causing significant memory loss, loss of ability to perform activities of daily living, and loss of the ability to socialize, which might necessitate advanced care in the form of assisted living care and support at acclaimed assisted facilities in order for individuals to lead active lives.