Understanding Dementia: Causes and Symptoms
Dementia is an incurable neurodegenerative condition that causes cognitive impairments, such as memory and reasoning. It may also lead to disability and functional impairment. According to World Health Organization’s estimates, there are over 50,000,000 people with dementia worldwide. And it is expected that this number will triple. It is a major concern for public health. Understanding dementia treatment, symptoms, and causes is important for early detection and diagnosis.
Dementia symptoms vary depending on what type of dementia you have and how far along the disease has progressed. However, there are some common symptoms.
- Memory Loss: Memory loss is the first and most prominent symptom of Alzheimer’s disease. Dementia can cause individuals to forget recent events, names, or familiar locations. They may repeat stories and questions over and over again, as well as have difficulty learning new material.
- Difficulty Completing Routine Tasks: Dementia affects completing routine tasks such as cooking, driving, or dressing. Alzheimer’s patients may have trouble completing simple tasks.
- Disorientation: Dementia can lead to a loss of spatial awareness or orientation. Individuals may need to keep track of the time, location, or directions. They can become disoriented in familiar surroundings or have difficulties navigating unfamiliar environments.
- Changes in Mood or Personality: Dementia causes mood and character changes, including depression and anxiety. Other symptoms include irritability, aggression, and apathy. The individual may become more withdrawn and lose interest socially or in hobbies.
- Poor Decision-Making & Judgment: People with dementia are more vulnerable to scams or financial abuse. They may also engage in risky behaviors. They may have problems with planning, prioritizing, and organizing their tasks.
- Loss of initiative: Dementia is known to reduce motivation and entrepreneurship, which can cause individuals to lose interest in starting new projects or pursuing goals. They might become more passive and dependent on other people.
Dementia results from damage to brain tissue that affects the cells’ communication ability. There are numerous causes of brain damage, including:
- Genetics: Certain types of dementia, such as Huntington’s or familial Alzheimer’s early onset, are inherited. Most dementias are sporadic and have no clear genetic cause.
- Lifestyle Factors: Certain lifestyle factors can increase the likelihood of dementia, including poor diet and sedentary habits, excessive drinking, smoking, and poor nutrition. Studies have shown a healthy, balanced lifestyle, including physical exercise, social engagement, and a balanced, nutritious diet, can reduce dementia and cognitive decline.
- Environmental Factors: Exposure to toxic substances or pollutants like lead or pesticides damages brain cells and increases the risk of developing dementia. Other environmental influences like living near high-pollution areas or experiencing chronic stress may also impact brain health.
- Substance Abuse and Medications: Certain medications like anticholinergic can cause cognitive impairment and increase your risk of developing dementia. Substance abuse (especially alcohol and drugs) can also cause brain cell damage, increasing the risk of cognitive degeneration.
Conclusion:At South Valley Neurology, we offer comprehensive dementia care and treatment plans. Our team of experienced professionals can provide a full range of services from diagnosis to support for caregivers. With our focus on providing quality care that meets the medical needs of our patients, we strive to ensure that each individual receives the attention they need. If you or someone you know is struggling with dementia, please contact us to learn more about how we can help.