Dementia


HOW TO GET HELP?

Dementia- Symptoms, Diagnosis, Causes, Treatment

Dementia is not a specific disease, instead, it is an overall term describing a wide range of symptoms associated with a decrease in thinking skills and memory severe enough to decline a person's ability in performing day to day activities.

According to the research studies, About 10 percent of the world's population aged between 65 and 74 years and one-fourth people aged above 85 have some or other form of dementia. It is estimated that the number of people being diagnosed with such a debilitating is increasing.

Hence, gaining an in-depth knowledge about the illness, such as what signs to look for, dementia causes, types and information about dementia treatment can help in early interventions.

Dementia Symptoms:

Dementia can point up to specific symptoms that include-
  • Recent memory loss (usually short-term initially)- one of the sign can include asking the same question repeatedly
  • Difficulty performing familiar tasks - for example, cooking a meal or making a drink
  • Language and communication problems- a difficulty with language; using wrong words or forgetting simple words/ difficulty in finding the right words
  • Disorientation - getting lost on an earlier familiar street
  • Problems with general thinking - for instance, dealing with money.
  • Misplacing things - misremembering the location of everyday items such as keys, or wallets, for example
  • Mood changes - Change in emotions and behaviours. Also unexplained sudden changes in outlook
  • Personality changes - irritable, fearful, suspicious
  • Loss of energy - showing less interest in beginning something or going somewhere.
  • Poor judgment and reasoning skills
  • Inability to pay attention or focus on tasks
  • A decline in visual perception.

Managing tasks- such as carrying or planning out various steps to complete a task- may become difficult, and orientation of day, time, date or location may decline. The illness is typically progressive that can lead to a decline in the functioning of the person over time. While dementia symptoms can vary greatly, the condition can be significantly be based on what is causing dementia.

Dementia Causes:

There is no one cause of dementia. The condition may result from degeneration of brain cells/ neurons or due to the disturbances in the body that affect how these cells function. Neurodegenerative means that cells gradually stop to function thus resulting in dysfunction.
Also other there are other conditions such as structural brain disorders, metabolic disorders, such as vitamin B-12 deficiency, and also liver and kidney diseases can cause the condition.

Types of Dementia

There are different types of dementia that include Alzheimer's disease, Huntington’s disease, Lewy body dementia, frontotemporal degeneration, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, vascular disease, and Parkinson’s dementia. Each of them shows up different symptoms and behaviours. A brief explanation about each of them are given below-

To know in more detail about the types of dementia click here.

Stages of Dementia:

The illness progresses uniquely in everyone. People experience signs of the following dementia stages-

Mild cognitive impairment

Adults may develop mild cognitive impairment but may never progress to mental impairment. People with mild cognitive impairment commonly experience trouble recalling words, forgetfulness, and short-term memory difficulties.

Mild dementia

People at this stage of illness may be able to function individually. Symptoms include:

  • Short-term memory lapse
  • Personality changes (depression or anger)
  • Problems with general thinking - for instance, dealing with money.
  • Forgetfulness or misplacing things
  • The difficulty with problem-solving and complex tasks
  • Struggle to express ideas or emotions.

Moderate dementia

Adults impacted with this stage of dementia may need assistance/ help from a care provider. That’s because the illness may now interfere with daily activities and tasks. The symptoms are:

  • Poor judgment skills
  • Increased frustration and confusion
  • Memory loss
  • Require help with simple tasks like bathing, dressing or eating
  • A significant change in personality

Severe dementia

This is the last stage of dementia. Here the physical and mental symptoms of the disease continue to decline. Symptoms include:

  • Inability to keep bodily functions, including walking
  • Inability to communicate
  • Increase in the risk of infections
  • Requiring full-time assistance

Understanding the stages of dementia can assist you prepare for the future of your loved one.

Dementia Treatment:

Dementia is preventable and it will be reassuring to know that there are treatments available to improve the memory and brain functions. Dementia treatment includes:

  • Medications: There are drugs available for improving brain functioning. A combination of medication such as antipsychotics medications, antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications can help in the improvement of behavioural and cognitive symptoms. Antipsychotic medication for dementia treatment can be effective in overcoming persistent feelings of aggression. Anti-anxiety medication help reduce feelings of agitation and restlessness. Likewise, antidepressant medication eases the symptoms of depression in someone with dementia.
  • Psychotherapy: Particularly, behavioural approaches and therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy can help in reducing the severity of problematic and uncertain behaviours in people with dementia, such as aggression. It even recognises the triggering elements of this behaviour and helping with devising an intervention and coping strategy that can be effective in managing them.
  • Support groups: These are a popular form of assistance and guidance for family members who are also serving as the primary caretaker of a loved one with dementia. They allow members to share their experiences, and even more importantly, provide a break to socialize themselves with others in similar circumstances.
  • Occupational therapy: It teaches all the coping behaviours. The purpose is to prevent events, such as falls; manage behaviour; and prepare your loved one for dementia progression.

Diagnosis & Treatment of Dementia in the Elderly- at Cadabam’s Hospitals

Diagnosing dementia can be challenging. A diagnosis of dementia requires that at least two core reasoning functions be impaired enough to intervene with daily living. They are language skills, memory, ability to pay attention and focus, problem-solve, ability to reason and visual perception. No single test can diagnose the problem, so a series of tests are run to help recognize the problem. Those include-

  • Neurofeedback- Neurofeedback is a treatment method that helps improve brain function through intensive brain training activity. Though the technology is advanced, the method itself is painless and simple. It is much similar to learning through practice and feedback.
  • rTMS treatment- Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is a relatively improved and non- invasive way to use magnetism to affect the brain. It is handled by transmitting magnetic pulses through the brain. It helps to evaluate your language, memory, visual perception, problem-solving, attention, movement, reflexes, senses, balance, and other areas of the brain regions.

Know the risk factors

There are certain risk factors which are found to be associated with the illness. However, age is the significant predictor. The others include:

  • Smoking and substance abuse cases
  • Atherosclerosis (cardiovascular disease)
  • Higher levels of bad cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Genetic factors
  • Mild cognitive impairments can seldom, but not always, leads to dementia
  • Biological and environmental factors.

How you can be a support to someone with dementia?

Getting a diagnosis for such a debilitating illness can be overwhelming. Many things have to be taken into consideration to ensure the safety of your loved one with the condition as it progresses. Here are a few suggestions to be there and help them when time demands-

  • Enhance communication: When communicating with your loved one, have eye contact. Speak gently in simple sentences.
  • Encourage exercise: Exercise helps everyone, including people with dementia. The foremost benefits of exercise include cardiovascular health and improved strength. Evidence shows that exercise protects the brain from developing dementia.
  • Encourage activity: Plan activities for the person with dementia such as Dancing, gardening, painting, cooking, and others to help you connect with them, and which can help them improve their impaired thinking.
  • Encourage having a calendar: This might help someone with dementia remember daily activities, upcoming events, and medication schedules.
  • Seek external assistance: Support groups, family members, legal advisers, and others might be able to help.

Dementia Rehabilitation:

Dementia is a progressive disorder and the symptoms start slowly and get worse gradually if left untreated. If you or someone you love is experiencing difficulty with memory and thinking, don't ignore them.

Reach out to Cadabam's Hospitals to determine and know more about the illness. Also, an early professional evaluation may detect a treatable condition. And an early diagnosis also allows a person to get the maximum benefits from dementia treatment and it also provides time to plan for the future. Talk to a counsellor today and know about the coping techniques for dementia and how to help someone with dementia manage their condition and live well. We are happy to assist you. You can email your queries to info@cadabamshospitals.com or call us at +91 97414 76476. You can also visit us at Cadabam’s Hospitals.