Dementia is a condition of memory impairment and a decline of thinking skills that reduces one’s ability to function in everyday life. It is not to be mistaken with senility. People can become a bit forgetful as they age, but under no circumstances is dementia a normal stage of aging. There are 47.5 million diagnosed people worldwide and every 4 seconds a new case gets diagnosed. Unfortunately, there is no cure for dementia, but there are different ways the condition can be managed. This is why it’s important for all of us to learn about it in order to be able to recognize the symptoms and stages in ourselves or the people in our surroundings.
Some characteristic symptoms include asking the same questions repeatedly or having trouble remembering simple words used daily. Generally, not being able to complete familiar tasks such as making a meal or a drink you used to prepare often, getting lost on familiar routes, as well as often misplacing keys, wallets and other daily used items can also be signs of dementia. In addition, losing the ability of abstract thinking can point to this condition. For instance, people often lose the sense of dealing with money or numbers in general. They can no longer remember or estimate the value of things.
The condition itself is unpredictable and it worsens in time, but at a different rate depending on each case individually. However, it can roughly be divided into four stages. Mild cognitive impairment is the first stage and it represents general forgetfulness. The second stage is mild dementia which includes short-term memory loss, difficulty in carrying out daily tasks, as well as disorientation and personality changes. Moderate dementia is much stronger and it requires outside help. The person needs help conducting daily tasks and taking care of themselves. At this point, they should have professional help from some of the best dementia home care facilities. This leads us to the final stage of severe dementia where one must be under 24-hour care as they may not be able to eat or control their bladder and other systems.
Types of dementia
There are several “famous” types of dementia. We’ve all heard of Alzheimer’s disease where the brain tissue shrinks and nerve cells die rapidly. There’s also dementia with Lewy bodies, which is a neurodegenerative disease connected to abnormal structures in the brain. Parkinson’s disease is also in relation to Lewy bodies. Although it’s known as a disorder of movement, it can also have elements of dementia. There’s also mixed dementia that is a combination of several known types of dementia.
It is still unclear what exactly causes this condition. Basically, it is closely connected to progressive brain cell death. However, we don’t know whether it is a cause or a consequence of dementia. Nevertheless, dementia can also be caused by a head injury or a stroke, as well as brain tumours and some other diseases. For instance, HIV can also cause dementia as the disease can behave in a way that damages brain cells. However, some causes of dementia can be reversed and thusly, people can be cured. Depression and vitamin deficiencies are completely fixable, for example.
Unfortunately, dementia cannot be cured yet. So far, the best we can do is learn about the symptoms and stages and get medical assistance as soon as possible. It’s important to have a person or a team taking care of the patient. These should be professionals who are able to commit and who can keep track of the progress of the disease. There are treatments and therapies that are being studied and some of them have been proved successful. So, be brave and tackle the problem as soon as you see it. The earlier you notice, the better the person’s chances of longer sanity and slow disease progress will be.