What is Dementia?

Dementia is a broad term that indicates a set of symptoms. It includes loss of thinking ability, attention, memory, logical reasoning, and social abilities. The condition can be serious enough to adversely affect daily activities. The changes will limit your social and occupational functioning too. 


In the medical world, dementia is not a term that specifies a single disease. It covers a wide range of medical conditions resulting from abnormal brain changes. These changes will gradually accelerate a steady decline in cognitive abilities, which will impair your capacity to function independently in regular life.

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Dementia is a broad term that indicates a set of symptoms. It includes loss of thinking ability, attention, memory, logical reasoning, and social abilities. The condition can be serious enough to adversely affect daily activities.

Red flags for dementia:

With aging, it is absolutely normal to forget a few things in a while. Memory loss itself is never a direct symptom of dementia. But you should know the difference between occasional forgetfulness and the type of forgetfulness that can become a concern. It should be definitely a matter of grave concern when you face situations where

  • you forget who someone is
  • you forget how to do the common chores. For instance, you can't remember the location of your home or how to answer the telephone call.
  • you are unable to comprehend or retain information that you received very clearly.


Seeking immediate medical attention is mandatory if you are experiencing any of the above conditions or similar conditions. It is not natural to forget how to do the familiar works in the normal aging process. 


Symptoms of dementia: 

If you are a victim of dementia, you will start facing problems with thinking and remembering things that help you lead a normal daily life. Here goes a list of the signs that you should watch for:

  • Problems with short-term memory include forgetting where you kept something just a few minutes back or repeatedly asking the same question.
  • Inability to apprehend your location.
  • Communication problems like the inability to find the right words to express simple things.
  • Trouble while doing familiar works like paying bills or cooking meals.
  • Personality disorders, like agitation, depression, frequent mood swings, and paranoia. 
  • Forgetting what you said immediately.


Primary causes:

Damage to the brain cells is the basic cause of dementia. The damage will interfere with the ability of the brain cells to inter-communicate. Lack of normal functioning of these brain cells will directly impact how you think, behave, and feel.

Often, degenerative neurological diseases become the cause. Such diseases include:

  • Parkinson's disease
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Huntington's disease
  • Types of multiple sclerosis


Sometimes, vascular disorders affect the blood circulation in the brain, causing dementia: 

  • Long-time use of drugs and alcohol intake.
  • Traumatic brain injuries from accidents, concussions, falls, and more.
  • Infections in the central nervous system including meningitis, Creutzfeldt- Jakob disease, and HIV.
  • Certain types of hydrocephalus causing a build-up of fluid in the cerebral hemispheres.


The right time to see the physiotherapist: 


Most of these symptoms of dementia are progressive. The signs start slowly but gradually worsen over time unless you start seeking medical help at the early symptoms. So you should never ignore the early symptoms when you feel abrupt changes in your thinking skills. An early visit to the doctor will aid in a quicker diagnosis of the condition. 


Professional evaluation is mandatory to detect whether the condition is treatable. If the medical evaluation suggests that you are suffering from the condition, starting the therapies early can help. It will also help you enhance the mental strength to accept the fact and control the frequent emotional outbursts. 


Risks factors: 


The probability of a person to suffer from the symptoms increases with certain physical and lifestyle factors. You are more susceptible to the condition with the following factors: 

  • Aging
  • Case of dementia in the family
  • Depression
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Illness including Down's Syndrome, Diabetes, Sleep apnea, Cardiac problems, and Multiple sclerosis.
  • Heavy smoking and regular alcohol consumption with poor diet and lack of exercise. 
  • Strokes
  • Brain infections like meningitis and syphilis.


How to prevent dementia: 


Some risk factors like genetics and aging are not under your control. But researchers are continuing to explore the different avenues and find out ways to prevent the condition. Improving your lifestyle can be a good way to start minimizing the risk of the condition. You can easily lower the alcohol consumption level and regular exercise to protect the brain cells from damages. Eat healthily, and exercise to stimulate cognitive skills. 


What are the treatment options: 


As dementia is not a disease, there are only ways to treat the cause. As more than 20% of cases of the condition are reversible, the doctors will try their level best to control the causes. If the condition of the patient is irreversible, then the focus of the treatment will be to manage the symptoms, particularly the emotional issues and agitations.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the fundamental types of dementia?
There are two basic groups of symptoms depending on the part of the brain that has the impairment. Cortical dementias happen due to problems in the cerebral cortex. Subcortical dementias arise due to problems in part beneath the cortex of the brain.
2. When can dementia worsen?
If you ignore the symptoms and don’t visit the therapist at time, the impact will be more. As the therapy controls the deterioration, it is better to visit the doctor before it’s too late.
3. How do researchers justify more women suffering from the symptom?
Through some scientific studies, researchers showed that more women suffer from the condition rather than men. It is mostly because women have a comparatively longer lifespan on average. As dementia is related to aging, women are at a higher risk zone.

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