“Anything that damages blood vessels anywhere in your body can damage blood vessels in your brain”

Emobileclinic Trending Topic: Dementia

Do you forget things easily? You cannot quickly recall event?; you may be suffering from dementia. Dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life. Memory loss is an example. It is not a specific disease. It is an overall term that describes a wide range of symptoms associated with a decline in memory or other thinking skills severe enough to reduce a person’s ability to perform everyday activities. 

Dementia is often incorrectly referred to as “senility” or “senile dementia,” which reflects the formerly widespread but incorrect belief that serious mental decline is a normal part of aging.

Symptoms of Dementia

Loss of Memory

Communication and language

Ability to focus and pay attention

Reasoning and judgment

Visual perception

Causes

Dementia is caused by damage to brain cells. This damage interferes with the ability of brain cells to communicate with each other. When brain cells cannot communicate normally, thinking, behavior and feelings can be affected. The brain has many distinct regions, each of which is responsible for different functions (for example, memory, judgment and movement). When cells in a particular region are damaged, that region cannot carry out its functions normally. High levels of certain proteins inside and outside brain cells make it hard for brain cells to stay healthy and to communicate with each other.

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The brain region called the hippocampus is the center of learning and memory in the brain, and the brain cells in this region are often the first to be damaged. That’s why memory loss is often one of the earliest symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

While most changes in the brain that cause dementia are permanent and worsen over time, thinking and memory problems caused by the following conditions may improve when the condition is treated or addressed:

Depression

Medication side effects

Excess use of alcohol

Thyroid problems

Vitamin deficiencies

Diagnosis of Dementia

There is no one test to determine if someone has dementia. Doctors diagnose Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia based on a careful medical history, a physical examination, laboratory tests, and the characteristic changes in thinking, day-to-day function and behavior associated with each type.

 Doctors can determine that a person has dementia with a high level of certainty. But it is harder to determine the exact type of dementia because the symptoms and brain changes of different dementias can overlap. 

Treatment and Care

Treatment of dementia depends on its cause. In the case of most progressive dementias, including Alzheimer’s disease, there is no cure and no treatment that slows or stops its progression. But there are drug treatments that may temporarily improve symptoms. The same medications used to treat Alzheimer’s are among the drugs sometimes prescribed to help with symptoms of other types of dementias. Non-drug therapies can also alleviate some symptoms of dementia.

Risk and Prevention

Some risk factors for dementia, such as age and genetics, cannot be changed. But researchers continue to explore the impact of other risk factors on brain health and prevention of dementia. Some of the most active areas of research in risk reduction and prevention include cardiovascular factors, physical fitness, and diet.

Cardiovascular risk factors: the brain is nourished by one of your body’s richest networks of blood vessels. Anything that damages blood vessels anywhere in your body can damage blood vessels in your brain, depriving brain cells of vital food and oxygen. Blood vessel changes in the brain are linked to vascular dementia. They often are present along with changes caused by other types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease and dementia with Lewy bodies. These changNes may interact to cause faster decline or make impairments more severe. You can help protect your brain with some of the same strategies that protect your heart – don’t smoke; take steps to keep your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar within recommended limits; and maintain a healthy weight.

Physical exercise: regular physical exercise may help lower the risk of some types of dementia. Evidence suggests exercise may directly benefit brain cells by increasing blood and oxygen flow to the brain.

Diet: the food you eat may have its greatest impact on brain health through its effect on heart health. The best current evidence suggests that heart-healthy eating patterns, such as the Mediterranean diet, also may help protect the brain. A Mediterranean diet includes relatively little red meat and emphasizes whole grains, fruits and vegetables, fish and shellfish, and nuts, olive oil and other healthy fats.

 



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