Follow us

Search
Hoodaya - Hyper Local Digital Community Bulletin Board with all the information you need to know about Solivita in one place.

Hoodaya

  /  Health   /  Dementia Overview
Hoodaya - Hyper Local Digital Community Bulletin Board with all the information you need to know about Solivita in one place.

Dementia Overview

Overview

Balance exercises can help you maintain your balance — and confidence — at any age. If you’re an older adult, balance exercises are especially important because they can help you prevent falls and maintain your independence. It’s a good idea to include balance training along with physical activity and strength training in your regular activity.

Dementia is a term used to describe a group of symptoms affecting memory, thinking, and social abilities severely enough to interfere with your daily life. It isn’t a specific disease, but several diseases can cause dementia.

Though dementia generally involves memory loss, memory loss has different causes. Having memory loss alone doesn’t mean you have dementia, although it’s often one of the early signs of the condition.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of progressive dementia in older adults, but there are a number of other causes of dementia. Depending on the cause, some dementia symptoms might be reversible.

Causes

Dementia is caused by damage to or loss of nerve cells and their connections in the brain. Depending on the area of the brain that’s damaged, dementia can affect people differently and cause different symptoms.

Dementias are often grouped by what they have in common, such as the protein or proteins deposited in the brain or the part of the brain that’s affected. Some diseases look like dementias, such as those caused by a reaction to medications or vitamin deficiencies, and they might improve with treatment.

Symptoms

Dementia symptoms vary depending on the cause, but common signs and symptoms include:

Cognitive changes

  • Memory loss, which is usually noticed by someone else
  • Difficulty communicating or finding words
  • Difficulty with visual and spatial abilities, such as getting lost while driving
  • Difficulty reasoning or problem-solving
  • Difficulty handling complex tasks
  • Difficulty with planning and organizing
  • Difficulty with coordination and motor functions
  • Confusion and disorientation

Psychological changes

  • Personality changes
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Inappropriate behavior
  • Paranoia
  • Agitation
  • Hallucinations

Diagnosing dementia and its type can be challenging. To diagnose the cause of the dementia, the doctor must recognize the pattern of the loss of skills and function and determine what a person is still able to do. More recently, biomarkers have become available to make a more accurate diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.

Your doctor will review your medical history and symptoms and conduct a physical examination. He or she will likely ask someone close to you about your symptoms as well.

No single test can diagnose dementia, so doctors are likely to run a number of tests that can help pinpoint the problem.

  • Cognitive and neuropsychological tests
  • Neurological evaluation
  • Brain scans
  • Laboratory tests
  • Psychiatric evaluation

Complications

Dementia can affect many body systems and, therefore, the ability to function. Dementia can lead to:

  • Poor nutrition. Many people with dementia eventually reduce or stop eating, affecting their nutrient intake. Ultimately, they may be unable to chew and swallow.
  • Pneumonia. Difficulty swallowing increases the risk of choking or aspirating food into the lungs, which can block breathing and cause pneumonia.
  • Inability to perform self-care tasks. As dementia progresses, it can interfere with bathing, dressing, brushing hair or teeth, using the toilet independently, and taking medications as directed.
  • Personal safety challenges. Some day-to-day situations can present safety issues for people with dementia, including driving, cooking, and walking & living alone.
  • Death. Late-stage dementia results in coma and death, often from infection.

Prevention

There’s no sure way to prevent dementia, but there are steps you can take that might help. More research is needed, but it might be beneficial to do the following:

  • Keep your mind active. Mentally stimulating activities, such as reading, solving puzzles and playing word games, and memory training might delay the onset of dementia and decrease its effects.
  • Be physically and socially active. Physical activity and social interaction might delay the onset of dementia and reduce its symptoms. Aim for 150 minutes of exercise a week.
  • Quit smoking. Some studies have shown that smoking in middle age and beyond might increase your risk of dementia and blood vessel conditions. Quitting smoking might reduce your risk and will improve your health.
  • Get enough vitamins. Some research suggests that people with low levels of vitamin D in their blood are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. You can get vitamin D through certain foods, supplements, and sun exposure.

More study is needed before an increase in vitamin D intake is recommended for preventing dementia, but it’s a good idea to make sure you get adequate vitamin D. Taking a daily B-complex vitamin and vitamin C also might help.

  • Manage cardiovascular risk factors. Treat high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Lose weight if you’re overweight.

High blood pressure might lead to a higher risk of some types of dementia. More research is needed to determine whether treating high blood pressure may reduce the risk of dementia.

  • Treat health conditions. See your doctor for treatment for depression or anxiety.
  • Maintain a healthy diet. A diet such as the Mediterranean diet — rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and omega-3 fatty acids, which are commonly found in certain fish and nuts — might promote health and lower your risk of developing dementia. This type of diet also improves cardiovascular health, which may help lower dementia risk.
  • Get good-quality sleep. Practice good sleep hygiene, and talk to your doctor if you snore loudly or have periods where you stop breathing or gasp during sleep.
  • Treat hearing problems. People with hearing loss have a greater chance of developing cognitive decline. Early treatment of hearing loss, such as the use of hearing aids, might help decrease the risk.

Therapies

Several dementia symptoms and behavior problems might be treated initially using nondrug approaches, such as:

Occupational therapy. An occupational therapist can show you how to make your home safer and teach coping behaviors. The purpose is to prevent accidents, such as falls; manage behavior and prepare you for dementia progression.

Modifying the environment. Reducing clutter and noise can make it easier for someone with dementia to focus and function. You might need to hide objects that can threaten safety, such as knives and car keys. Monitoring systems can alert you if the person with dementia wanders.

Simplifying tasks. Break tasks into easier steps and focus on success, not failure. Structure and routine also help reduce confusion in people with dementia.

Lifestyle and Home Remedies

Dementia symptoms and behavior problems will progress over time. Caregivers and care partners might try the following suggestions:

Enhance communication. When talking with your loved one, maintain eye contact. Speak slowly in simple sentences, and don’t rush the response. Present one idea or instruction at a time. Use gestures and cues, such as pointing to objects.

Encourage exercise. The main benefits of exercise in people with dementia include improved strength, balance, and cardiovascular health. Exercise might also help with symptoms such as restlessness. There is growing evidence that exercise also protects the brain from dementia, especially when combined with a healthy diet and treatment for risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

Some research also shows that physical activity might slow the progression of impaired thinking in people with Alzheimer’s disease, and it can lessen symptoms of depression.

Engage in activity. Plan activities the person with dementia enjoys and can do. Dancing, painting, gardening, cooking, singing, and other activities can be fun, can help you connect with your loved one, and can help your loved one focus on what he or she can still do.

Establish a nighttime ritual. Behavior is often worse at night. Try to establish going-to-bed rituals that are calming and away from the noise of television, meal cleanup, and active family members. Leave night lights on in the bedroom, hall, and bathroom to prevent disorientation.

Limiting caffeine, discouraging napping, and offering opportunities for exercise during the day might ease nighttime restlessness.

Keep a calendar. A calendar might help your loved one remember upcoming events, daily activities, and medication schedules. Consider sharing a calendar with your loved one.

Plan for the future. Develop a plan with your loved one while he or she is able to participate that identifies goals for future care. Support groups, legal advisers, family members, and others might be able to help.

You’ll need to consider financial and legal issues, safety and daily living concerns, and long-term care options.

Alternative Medicine

Several dietary supplements, herbal remedies and therapies have been studied for people with dementia. But there’s no convincing evidence for any of these.

Use caution when considering taking dietary supplements, vitamins or herbal remedies, especially if you’re taking other medications. These remedies aren’t regulated, and claims about their benefits aren’t always based on scientific research.

While some studies suggest that vitamin E supplements may be helpful for Alzheimer’s disease, the results have been mixed. Also, high doses of vitamin E can pose risks. Taking vitamin E supplements is generally not recommended, but including foods high in vitamin E, such as nuts, in your diet.

Alternative Medicine

Several dietary supplements, herbal remedies and therapies have been studied for people with dementia. But there’s no convincing evidence for any of these.

Use caution when considering taking dietary supplements, vitamins or herbal remedies, especially if you’re taking other medications. These remedies aren’t regulated, and claims about their benefits aren’t always based on scientific research.

While some studies suggest that vitamin E supplements may be helpful for Alzheimer’s disease, the results have been mixed. Also, high doses of vitamin E can pose risks. Taking vitamin E supplements is generally not recommended, but including foods high in vitamin E, such as nuts, in your diet.

Other Therapies

The following techniques may help reduce agitation and promote relaxation in people with dementia.

 

  • Music therapy, which involves listening to soothing music
  • Light exercise
  • Watching videos of family members
  • Pet therapy, which involves the use of animals, such as visits from dogs, to promote improved moods and behaviors in people with dementia
  • Aromatherapy, which uses fragrant plant oils
  • Massage therapy
  • Art therapy, which involves creating art, focuses on the process rather than the outcome
  • Coping and support
  • Receiving a diagnosis of dementia can be devastating. You’ll need to consider many details to ensure that you and others are as prepared as possible for dealing with a condition that’s unpredictable and progressive.

You can read the original article here and here.

Disclaimer: No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians. Hoodaya may receive payment for clicks from this site.

Write a Comment

Register

Have an account?