Ailment Dementia

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FAQ's For Dementia

Causes of dementia include damage to or loss of nerve cells which connect to the brain. The main cause of progressive dementia is Alzheimer’s disease.

On average, a person can live 4 to 8 years after diagnosis, depending on the condition of the patient. However, some patients can live up to 20 years.

The tell-tale warning signs of dementia include short-term memory loss, frequent forgetfulness, confusion with time or place, problems with speaking, reading and writing, challenges with panning and problem solving, difficulty with completing familiar tasks, poor judgement, changes in personality, and withdrawal from social settings.

Though dementia is degenerative in nature and cannot be cured, symptoms can be effectively managed with medication.

There is no known cure for dementia. However, symptoms can be effectively managed with medication.

Dementia is a degenerative disease affecting the thinking, memory, and social abilities of an individual. It is not a specific condition, but rather a number of diseases under one term. Dementia is caused by multiple conditions, but the main cause of progressive dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. Depending on the cause, symptoms of dementia can be irreversible in nature and only get worse with time. However, various treatment plans can help slow the progress of the disease and make life more comfortable for the patient.

Causes of dementia include damage to or loss of nerve cells which connect to the brain.

Common symptoms of dementia include:
Cognitive conditions like:
Confusion and disorientation
Memory loss, which is usually recognized by a close family member
Difficulty communicating or finding words
Difficulty with coordination and motor functions
Difficulty with visual and spatial abilities
Difficulty with problem-solving and reasoning
Difficulty handling complex tasks
Difficulty with planning and organizing day-to-day activities

It also causes psychological conditions like:
Depression
Paranoia
Hallucinations
Anxiety
Inappropriate behavior
Agitation
Personality changes

Based on symptoms and parts of the brain that are affected, there are 5 main types of dementia:
Alzheimer’s disease
Lewy body dementia
Vascular dementia
Frontotemporal dementia
Mixed dementia

Though the condition progresses differently in each patient, there are 4 stages of dementia. They are as follows:
MCI (Mild Cognitive Impairment)- It affects older people and is characterized by forgetfulness, misplacing things often and not being able to find the right words.
Mild Dementia- This causes memory loss of recent events, forgetting where one is, personality changes, difficulty with problem-solving, planning, organization and completing complex tasks.

Moderate Dementia- This stage will require patients to seek assistance for day-to-day tasks like bathing, eating, and grooming, usually from a family member or nurse. It causes loss of long-term memories, increased confusion, poor judgement, restless sleep, significant personality changes such as increased suspicion and agitation.

Severe Dementia- In this stage, patients experience severe decline in mental abilities and worsening physical abilities as well. This results in complete dependency on a caregiver for basic tasks. It causes a loss of communication abilities, bowel functions, and eventually the ability to swallow. Physical tasks like walking, sitting upright, and holding the head up also become difficult. This stage also makes patients more susceptible to infections like pneumonia.

Though dementia is not curable, there are many ways in which patients can manage symptoms. The following are effective medications for dementia symptoms:
Memantine-It works by regulating the activity of a chemical messenger called glutamate, which is involved in proper brain function
Cholinesterase inhibitors – They work to increase levels of chemical messenger involved with memory and judgement. (Donepezil (Aricept), rivastigmine (Exelon) and galantamine (Razadyne))

Other dementia medication can be prescribed to mitigate the effects of depression, anxiety, hallucinations and paranoia.

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