Dementia refers to a decline in cognitive abilities, such as memory, thinking, reasoning, and communication skills, that is severe enough to interfere with daily functioning. It is not a specific disease itself, but rather a syndrome caused by various underlying conditions or diseases. The most common cause of dementia is indeed Alzheimer's disease, accounting for approximately 60-70% of all cases.
Loading the player...What Causes Dementia As You Get Older? <p> <a href="https://www.healthchoicesfirst.com/practitioner-type/neurologist">Neurologist</a>, discusses dementia and what causes it.</p>
Neurologist, discusses dementia and what causes it.
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Neurologist, discusses how dementia is diagnosed.
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Neurologist, discusses the symptoms of dementia.
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Family Physician discusses Dementia and How It Changes A Person
What is Dementia?
Dementia refers to a group of symptoms characterized by a decline in cognitive abilities, such as memory loss, language difficulties, impaired judgment, and changes in behavior and personality. It is not a specific disease itself, but rather a syndrome caused by various underlying conditions.
Alzheimer's disease is indeed the most common cause of dementia, accounting for around 60-80% of cases. It is a progressive neurological disorder that affects brain functions, including memory, thinking, and behavior. Other common causes of dementia include vascular dementia, which occurs due to reduced blood flow to the brain, and Lewy body dementia, which is characterized by the presence of abnormal protein deposits in the brain.
There are also several other less common causes of dementia, such as frontotemporal dementia, Parkinson's disease dementia, Huntington's disease, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, among others. Each of these conditions has distinct features and underlying mechanisms that contribute to the development of dementia.
It's important to note that while dementia is often associated with older age, it is not a normal part of aging. Some forms of dementia can occur in younger individuals as well, although they are relatively rare.
If someone is experiencing symptoms of dementia, it is essential to consult a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and to determine the underlying cause. Early detection and appropriate management can help improve the quality of life for individuals with dementia and their caregivers.
Alzheimer's disease is a progressive neurological disorder characterized by the accumulation of abnormal protein deposits in the brain, leading to the death of brain cells and the subsequent decline in cognitive function. Other than Alzheimer's disease, there are several other causes of dementia, including:
Vascular dementia: Caused by reduced blood flow to the brain, typically due to strokes or other vascular problems affecting the blood vessels.
Lewy body dementia: Characterized by the presence of abnormal protein deposits called Lewy bodies in the brain. It shares some symptoms with both Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.
Frontotemporal dementia: Involves the degeneration of the front and sides of the brain, affecting behavior, personality, language, and executive functions.
Mixed dementia: A combination of different types of dementia, often Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia occurring together.
Parkinson's disease dementia: Some individuals with Parkinson's disease may develop dementia as the condition progresses.
Huntington's disease: A genetic disorder that leads to the progressive breakdown of nerve cells in the brain, resulting in cognitive decline and movement problems.
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease: A rare, degenerative, and fatal brain disorder caused by abnormal prion proteins.
There are also other less common causes of dementia, such as HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders, traumatic brain injury, certain infections, and nutritional deficiencies.
It is important to note that dementia is a complex condition, and the specific symptoms and progression can vary depending on the underlying cause. Diagnosis and appropriate management of dementia require a comprehensive evaluation by healthcare professionals.
So people often wonder what’s the difference between Alzheimer’s and dementia, well Alzheimer’s is really a type of dementia, just like you’d say a car and then you have a Ford or a Chevrolet.
So dementia involves difficulty with your thinking skills, it could be a progressive memory problem like Alzheimer’s, it could be another problem like a behavioural problem you might see with a frontal lobe dementia or you can also get a dementia from other things such as having a bad head injury or having something like a stroke, or a brain tumour can also give you a dementia kind of problem.
Well you can have a number of different causes for dementia, and some of the other things that can cause dementia are previous brain infections, or new brain infections can cause a dementia problem.
You can also have inflammation problems in the brain that can cause dementia, you can also sometimes see dementia associated with other conditions such as multiple sclerosis can at times cause progressive loss of thinking skills and produce a dementia problem.
So dementia is a general term that really means that you have some cognitive difficulties and you’re also not functioning as well as you used to function. And any condition that affects the brain can produce that.
You sometimes even see dementia problems that are reversible, for example people who have a very bad depression can sometimes show up like they have a dementia but when you treat the depression it reverses. So there are a few cases where you can see a recovery in which case it’s not a permanent dementia, it’s just a temporary situation.
Well if you’re concerned about any of these symptoms or about somebody that might have dementia that’s close to you, you should probably speak to your family doctor as a first contact, and they may send you on to see somebody else, such as a specialist like a neurologist or a geriatric psychiatrist or a geriatrician. Depending on what the main symptoms are and how old you are and they may also arrange for other types of assessments so sometimes people can come into the home and look at how you function such as an occupational therapist. Often seeing a local family physician or a physiotherapist in conjunction with a registered dietitian and athletic therapist is a great option to take control of this condition.
Things You Can Do To Help Prevent Dementia
You are correct in stating that dementia is not a specific disease but rather a broad term used to describe a group of conditions characterized by a decline in cognitive abilities. It is often associated with memory loss, but it can also involve various other cognitive impairments such as language difficulties, problems with problem-solving and decision-making, and a decline in overall functional abilities.
Dementia can be thought of as a form of brain failure because it involves the progressive deterioration of brain function over time. Different types of dementia, such as Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, and frontotemporal dementia, have distinct underlying causes and may manifest with varying symptoms. However, they all share the common feature of a decline in cognitive abilities.
The most commonly recognized symptom of dementia is memory loss, particularly short-term memory loss. People with dementia may struggle to remember recent events, names of familiar individuals, or important information. However, as the condition progresses, they may also experience difficulties in other areas such as language, problem-solving, attention, and carrying out daily tasks.
It's important to note that dementia is not a normal part of aging but rather a result of underlying brain changes or diseases. While certain age-related changes in memory and cognitive function are expected, dementia represents a more significant decline that interferes with a person's daily life and functioning.
If you or a loved one is experiencing concerns related to memory or other cognitive functions, it is advisable to seek medical evaluation and consultation to determine the cause of these symptoms. Early diagnosis and intervention can help in managing the condition and providing appropriate support and treatment.
It can have a number of causes, some of which are reversible. So, it's important to seek medical attention if you have concerns about somebody – either yourself or a loved one – having dementia.
One of the things that your primary healthcare provider will do is rule out reversible problems, like, for example, problems with your thyroid, deficiency in Vitamin B12 – but it can also have metabolic problems. If your calcium levels or other functions in your body aren't working properly, it does affect your memory and your brain's functioning.
Just remember that treatment for your condition will vary with the individual and the condition they may have. So, always consult your primary healthcare provider for more information.