Dementia is a very common disorder. It can affect many different kinds of people, but is most commonly seen in those that are aging. This is because as the brain ages, it also deteriorates and may cause loss of memory. This article will help explain more in depth about what dementia is.
What is Dementia?
Dementia is characterized as a loss of mental functions. This can include memory and thinking, as well as reasoning. Loss of reasoning can be severe enough that it interferes with a person’s day-to-day life. A common myth is that dementia is a disease. However, it is not a disease but a group of symptoms that can be caused by various conditions or other diseases. These symptoms can also include changes in behavior, mood, or even personality. Sometimes, dementia can be treated and cured because the cause is treatable. Dementia is not only limited to loss of brain function in aging adults, but can also be caused by substance abuse, vitamin imbalances, or prescription medications. In some cases people with severe depression may appear to have dementia because they are apathetic toward any sort of emotion or feeling, and become quiet, which is a characteristic of dementia.
Dementia occurs solely in the brain. The parts of the brain that are involved with language, learning, decision-making and memory are affected by a variety of infections or diseases. The most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, which is also commonly mistaken for dementia on its own.
The frequency of treatable dementia is about 20% of cases. Knowing this, it is important that your doctor is very thorough when making a diagnosis of this problem, because it may possibly be a treatable condition.
Common causes are:
- Toxic reactions to excessive drug or alcohol use
- Diseases that cause loss of nerve cells or degeneration of those cells in the brain, i.e. Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, or Alzheimer’s.
- Nutritional deficiencies, such as folate or vitamin B12 deficiency
- Diseases that affect the blood vessels, such as a stroke.
- Head injury – severe or chronic smaller injury, i.e. like those that can occur from boxing
- Certain types of hydrocephalus, or an accumulation of brain fluid that can result from tumors, infections, injuries, or developmental abnormalities.
- Illnesses other than in the brain, such as liver, kidney, and lung diseases can lead to dementia.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of dementia can vary greatly from patient to patient, but it is a widely accepted view that at least two of the following mental functions must be impaired in order to be considered as dementia.
- Problems with Memory
- Difficulty with communication and language
- Impairments with reasoning and judgement
- Difficult with visual perception
- An inability to focus or pay attention
People affected by dementia may have problems with their short-term memory, remembering to pay their bills, planning and preparing meals, or keeping track of their wallet.
How Common is Dementia?
Dementia that is caused by a disease of the nervous system is an increasingly frequent malady in the US today. Some researchers say that as many as half of all adults over the age of 80 will develop Alzheimer’s disease. Come to Urgent Care in Las Vegas to learn more.