Dementia is a term that describes a group of conditions that are characterized by limitations in thinking and social activity. Some of the brain functions that may be impacted include memory and judgment. Social skills may be limited to the point that an individual cannot carry out routine daily tasks or hold a conversation. Dementia can be quite dehumanizing. For instance, those who have dementia may forget how to get home and get lost, lose the sense of time, and forget loved ones’ names. Dementia Insider is a wonderful resource for those seeking to understand Dementia in more detail. Below are a few pointers that can help you understand this condition, which, according to the World Health Organization, affects approximately 50 million people worldwide and has nearly 10 million new cases each year.
1. Forms of dementia
One of the most common forms of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. This disease is progressive and destroys memory and other brain functions. It is also characterized by brain cell degeneration and death. There also exists vascular dementia, alcohol-related dementia, and HIV-associated dementia.
2. Common signs and symptoms of dementia.
Dementia is characterized by several symptoms such as
- Memory loss and forgetfulness progressively worsen and become more frequent. Dementia patients get to a point where they forget the names and faces of their loved ones.
- Inability to perform regular everyday tasks such as walking.
- Withdrawal from people and loss of interest in activities one typically enjoys.
- Confusion leading to asking the same question over and over.
- Personality changes may lead to aggression.
3. Diagnosing dementia
To diagnose dementia successfully, various steps have to be taken. The doctor has to check on the medical history of the patient. In the diagnosis process, looking into the family medical history helps a lot. Laboratory tests are conducted to ensure that other conditions do not cause symptoms. On top of that, cognitive testing assesses attention, problem-solving, language, and thinking abilities. Further brain imaging to look at the brain structure, and rule out such things as brain tumors must also be done. Lastly, psychiatric assessments are also recommended to manage other mental health issues that may accompany dementia.
4. Treatment and Care for dementia
Although there are numerous clinical trials ongoing to get a cure for dementia, none currently exists. Some strategies used in caring for those with dementia include: treating other illnesses that the patient might have, early detection, and treatment of some behavioral and physiological issues that may arise. Those diagnosed early are also encouraged to eat a balanced diet and work out to keep the mind fit for longer.
5. Preventing dementia
Eating healthy, well-balanced diets helps prevent dementia. Maintaining healthy body weight and blood pressure are also important as obesity and type 2 diabetes increase the likelihood of developing dementia. Reducing alcohol intake and stopping smoking are essential too in slowing down the onset of dementia. Finally, ensure that your mental health is good by treating depression and any mental illnesses. It is also important to surround yourself with people you care about and participate in activities that you enjoy.