What is Dementia? Is it treatable? - Seeker's Thoughts

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What is Dementia? Is it treatable?


What is Dementia? Is it treatable?

Dementia in which there is a progressive loss of memory, and reduction in cognitive ability occurs. Alzheimer is other disease with neural disorder. With the age, the structure of the brain changes. Buy Seeker's Thoughts Magazine for April 2020- Corona Special Edition
 The part which is associated with learning, acquiring, and maintaining memory it has neural cells. These neural cells get damaged or reduced.  


In simple words, dementia is a term for ‘diseases and conditions’ characterised by a decline in memory, language, problem solving ability to perform everyday’s  activity. Memory loss is also an example of dementia.


How to recognize, if a person has dementia?

Early signs of dementia can include:
  • Changes in short-term memory.
  • Changes in mood.
  • Trouble finding the right words.
  • Apathy.
  • Confusion.
  • Being repetitive.
  • Finds it hard to follow a storyline.
  • Trouble completing everyday tasks.
  • Poor sense of direction.
  • Difficulty adapting to changes.

Is Alzheimer similar to dementia?

No. Alzheimer can be the most common cause of dementia, but as it is mentioned earlier that dementia can be a group of diseases too.


What are the causes of dementia?

Dementia is often associated with the degeneration of neurological cell, which can be due to Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.

Dementia is not a single disease in itself, but a general term to describe symptoms of impairment in memory, communication, and thinking.

However, the following diseases can be causing the dementia-
  1. Alzheimer's disease
  2. Vascular cognitive impairment
  3. Dementia with Lewy bodies
  4. Frontotemporal dementia
  5. Parkinson’s disease
  6. Huntington’s disease
  7. HIV
  8. Traumatic brain injury


How many stages are of Dementia?

Forgetting your key and wallet often make you feel like you are losing your memory, however, these can be very normal habits.
However, when it comes to dementia, there are seven stages associated to it.

Stage 1- No impairment

Everyone starts at stage 1. There are no symptoms of cognitive impairment, mental function is normal.

Stage 2- Very mild cognitive decline

This stage can vary between typical age-related memory problems that most seniors face (such as forgetting certain dates) or could include some of the beginning signs of Alzheimer’s disease. Some of the side effects that correspond with this stage include:
·      forgetting everyday phrases
·      forgetting the location of important objects (such as where your father left his keys)

Stage 3- Mild Cognitive Decline

Stage 3 is where symptoms of dementia or Alzheimer’s can become more noticeable to friends and family. This stage won’t have major impact on your loved one’s day-to-day life, but you may notice these signs:
·      Impaired work performance
·      Memory loss/forgetfulness
·      Verbal repetition
·      Poor organization and concentration
·      Trouble with complex tasks/problem solving
·      Difficulty driving

Stage 4- Moderate Cognitive Decline

This stage is commonly defined as early on set Alzheimer’s or dementia. Symptoms of cognitive decline are apparent and your loved one should be seeing a health care professional. Signs at this stage include:
·      Social withdrawal
·      Moodiness
·      Non-responsive
·      Trouble with routine tasks
·      Denial

Stage 5- Moderately Severe COnginitive Decline

Stage 5 is when your loved one is likely to need help with routine tasks like dressing or bathing, requiring a home caregiver or a move to a memory care community. Other symptoms include:
·      Confusion/forgetfulness
·      Memory loss of personal details and current events
·      Reduced mental acuity and problem-solving capacity

Stage 6: Severe Cognitive Decline

Also known as middle dementia or moderately severe Alzheimer’s disease, this stage will find your loved one requiring help for Activities of Daily Living (ADL’s) such as using the bathroom or eating. Your loved one may also experience difficulty sleeping, increased paranoia or delusions, anxiety, and difficulty recognizing loved ones.



Stage 7: Very Severe Cognitive Decline
Stage 7 is severe Alzheimer’s disease or late-stage dementia. Your loved one is unable to care for themselves, lives with severe motor and communication impairment, and may lose the ability to speak or walk.

Fast facts on dementia
  • there are an estimated 47.5 million dementia sufferers worldwide
  • one new case of dementia is diagnosed every 4 seconds
  • dementia mostly affects older people but is not a normal part of aging

Why does dementia happens?

Reason for Dementia

Biologically,  if the neural cells which are associated with learning, memory-if these cells could be saved the disease associated with memory would fade away.

However, there are some studies suggest that a ‘risk gene’ called APOE4, and another one termed presenilin might be causing dementia.

A more important finding, and likely causative factor, comes from the imaging of the brain. This has found the hippocampus and some other parts of the brain to be tangled a bit, with some insoluble sheet-like ‘plaques’ which interfere with signal transmission in the brain.

Other reports have suggested the role of a protein called brain-derived neurotropic factor or BDNF; when its level falls below optimum, dementia results.


Adult Hippocampal Neurogenesis or AHN
 The part is which is associated with learning and memory is known as hippocampus. It contains neuro- progenitor cells which continue to generate new neurons. The Process is called as Adult Hippocampal Neurogenesis or AHN.

Is there any cure for dementia?

Although some dementias may be impossible to prevent, progress has been made in identifying brain-healthy lifestyle factors that can delay brain cell destruction related to cerebrovascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease among other dementia-producing disorders.

To treat dementia, doctors will treat whatever is causing it. About 20% of the causes of dementia are reversible.

Causes of dementia that may be reversible include:
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Tumors
  • Subdural hematomasblood clots beneath the outer covering of the brain
  • Normal-pressure hydrocephalus, a buildup of fluid in the brain
  • Metabolic disorders such as a vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Low levels of thyroid hormones, called hypothyroidism
  • Low blood sugar, called hypoglycemia
  • HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND)
These forms of dementia are partially manageable, but they aren't reversible and get worse over time:
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Vascular dementia
  • Dementia from Parkinson's disease and similar disorders
  • Dementia with Lewy bodies
  • Frontotemporal dementia (Pick's disease)
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

Helmet use and other monitoring advances and safety precautions are important tools for preventing brain injury associated with falls, motor vehicles, and sports.

Attention to disease management, nutrition, physical activity, social interaction, stress reduction, and adequate restorative sleep are additional steps we can all take to keep our aging brains resilient and disease-resistant.

Vaccination or immune therapy did not work well with the neuron re- generation.  However, exercise helped.

 The Exercise stimulates neurogenesis – or the generation of the new cells, these were finding of a research.  During Exercise in case of a rodent which has Alzeheimer, the experiment was done with exercise, and the result was positive- 

1.       ANH was increases, more nerve cells were seen to be made
2.      The plaques in the brain of the animal were reduced
3.      The level of molecule BDNF went up 
4.      There was some improvement in memory.

Life expectancy has increased due to availability of medicines but at the same time the problems related to age have also grown in numbers. The challenges in societies are to find the cure. Exercising helped in 'creation of new cells' and that is remarkable finding in itself

Prevention of dementia
Certain risk factors are known to be associated with dementia. However, age is the biggest predictor. Other risk factors include:
  • Smoking and alcohol use.
  • Atherosclerosis (cardiovascular disease causing the arteries to narrow).
  • High levels of “bad” cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein).
  • Above-average blood levels of homocysteine (a type of amino acid).
  • Diabetes.
  • Mild cognitive impairment can sometimes, but not always, lead to dementia.

Therefore, having a better diet and exercising may be very useful in preventing dementia.

Dementia types

There are several types of dementia, including:
  • Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by “plaques” between the dying cells in the brain and “tangles” within the cells (both are due to protein abnormalities). The brain tissue in a person with Alzheimer’s has progressively fewer nerve cells and connections, and the total brain size shrinks.
  • Dementia with Lewy bodies is a neurodegenerative condition linked to abnormal structures in the brain. The brain changes involve a protein called alpha-synuclein.
  • Mixed dementia refers to a diagnosis of two or three types occurring together. For instance, a person may show both Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia at the same time.
  • Parkinson’s disease is also marked by the presence of Lewy bodies. Although Parkinson’s is often considered a disorder of movement, it can also lead to dementia symptoms.
  • Huntington’s disease is characterized by specific types of uncontrolled movements but also includes dementia.
Other disorders leading to symptoms of dementia include:
  • Frontotemporal dementia also known as Pick’s disease.
  • Normal pressure hydrocephalus when excess cerebrospinal fluid accumulates in the brain.
  • Posterior cortical atrophy resembles changes seen in Alzheimer’s disease but in a different part of the brain.
  • Down syndrome increases the likelihood of young-onset Alzheimer’s.


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