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Key Information About Dementia

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Overview

Dementia is the loss of cognitive functioning and behavioral abilities to such an extent that it has a negative impact on the affected person's daily life and activities.

Majority of people affected by dementia experience rejection, loneliness and shame, and feel less competent.

key-information-about-dementia

Types

About 60 percent to 80 percent of all dementia cases are Alzheimer’s disease. Other types of dementia include Lewy body dementia, vascular dementia and frontotemporal dementia.

Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease. This means that gradually, over time, more parts of the brain are damaged. As this happens, more symptoms develop, and they also get worse.

Causes

Dementia is usually caused by degeneration in the cerebral cortex, the part of the brain responsible for thoughts, memories, actions, and personality.

Progressive brain cell death that happens over time is associated with most dementias.

Breakdown of nerve cells and their connections in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain leads to dementia.

Processed cheeses, processed meats, beer, white foods and microwave popcorn increase the risk of dementia.

A long-term study found that midlife obesity raises the risk of dementia in women. The study was led by Sarah Floud, Ph.D., Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford, UK.

The team's findings were published in the journal Neurology in the year 2019.

A buildup of amyloid plaques and tau tangles in the brain is associated with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

Air pollution may increase risk of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD).

In February 2022, a study surrounding the topic of sleep churned out results that suggest that an erratic sleeping schedule may lead to the development of dementia in adults beyond the age of 60.

The study was conducted by a team of research scientists at the University College London, and INSERM.

A research study conducted in April 2022 indicated that the left atrial dysfunction could be a risk factor for the future development of dementia. The study was published in JAMA Network.

There has been scientific speculation that shingles may increase a person's risk of dementia. However, a research study has found that shingles is not associated with an increased risk of dementia. The study was published in the June 8 2022 online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Symptoms

Memory issues (especially loss of memory of recent events), changes in behavior, apathy, inability to focus, confusion, difficulty in learning new information, changes in personality and depression are some symptoms of dementia.

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“For someone to be diagnosed with dementia, they have to have significant decline in more than one cognitive area, and those changes have to affect their daily living,” says Elise Caccappolo, Ph.D., an associate professor of neuropsychology at Columbia University Irving Medical Center.

People with dementia may have listening issues in quiet and noisy environments.

"Feelings of anxiety and depression are common in people living with dementia and mild cognitive impairment," said Dr Kamal Kant Kohli.

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One of the greatest challenges, when it comes to Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, is coping with difficult behaviors.

— Leslie Kernisan, MD MPH

Diagnosis

People displaying symptoms of dementia are given tests to check their mental abilities like memory and thinking. These tests are called cognitive assessments. They may be done initially by your doctor.

Treatment

There are no medicines to cure dementia. Doctors usually prescribe medication that provides relief from symptoms.

Medicines prescribed include donepezil, rivastigmine, galantamine and memantine.

Unfortunately research on medicines that can be used to treat various forms of dementia and causes has been slow.

According to a study conducted by Richmond Villages Willaston, it was found that providing independence to dementia patients in their day to day functions not only helped them live well, but also made them manage their condition better and more efficiently.

key-information-about-dementia

Prevention

A study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Development found having an optimistic spouse might reduce the risk of developing dementia.

According to a research study conducted in the year 2021 at the University of Bordeaux in France, diet can play a key role in lowering dementia risk.

The MIND diet plan was created by researchers at Rush University in Chicago, to help prevent dementia.

It is a combination of two diets: the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet.

Consumption of flavonoid-containing foods like concord grape juice is associated with a reduced risk for dementia.

Dementia is the greatest health challenge of our time.

— Alzheimer's Research UK

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2019 Srikanth R

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