Dementia

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Dementia

Dementia is observed in 5%-8% of people aged above 65 and this incidence rate is two times higher after every five years.

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Dementia is defined as the loss of cognitive functioning, such that it affects daily life activities. Dementia is associated with a group of symptoms that impair thinking, memory, reasoning, personality, mood and behaviours.

Dementia is caused by various brain infections or diseases affecting learning, memory, decision making and language abilities. Alzheimer is the most common cause of dementia. Basically, dementia is not a natural result of ageing.

Who are at risk for dementia?

Dementia is more likely to develop in elderly. Dementia is observed in 5%-8% of people aged above 65 and this incidence rate is two times higher after every five years. It is predicted that dementia is present in more than a half of people aged 85 and above.

What are types of dementia?

Dementias are generally divided into two categories; Alzheimer type and non-Alzheimer type.

Alzheimer type dementias are associated with memory loss and speech disorder.

Non-Alzheimer type dementias are manifested by speech disorder and emotional and behavioral problems. In both types, memory loss is relatively minimal at advanced stages.

What is the underlying cause of dementia?

Basically, dementia is secondary to brain disorders and general causes are as follows:

Degenerative neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s diseae, Parkinson’s disease and Huntington disease.

Vascular disorders resulting from multiple strokes

HIV and mad cow disease affecting central nervous system

Prolonged drug abuse or alcohol consumption

Depression

Some types of hydrocephalus, developmental anomalies in the brain, infections, injuries or fluid accumulation caused by brain tumor

What are symptoms of dementia?

Forgetting the recent events or knowledge

Repeating comments or questions within a very short time

Misplacing commonly used objects

Inability to remember dates and times

Difficulty founding correct words

Change in mood, behavior or fields of interest

Signs that indicate progression of dementia

Reduced ability to remember and make decision

Difficulty speaking and founding correct words

Daily life activities such as brushing teeth, making coffee, switching on the television, cooking and paying bills become difficult

Reasoning and ability to solve problem decrease

Sleep pattern changes

Anxiety, confusion, frustration, depression

Hallunications (seeing nonexistent people or objects)

How is dementia diagnosed?

Verification of diagnosis of dementia may be difficult as its symptoms are similar to many other conditions. However, doctors are able to make diagnosis through investigating personal history, current symptoms, neurological and cognitive tests, laboratory tests and imaging studies (CT, MRI, PET) and making relevant examinations.

Can dementia be treated?

For almost all types of dementia, drugs and supportive therapies are available to manage symptoms.

Can dementia be Prevented?

Even if dementia cannot be prevented, maintaining a healthy life can reduce risk factors for some types of dementia. Controlling cholesterol, maintaining normal blood pressure, monitoring blood glucose, maintaining ideal body weight-being healthy as much as possible- can support the brain with oxygen and nutrients at maximum level.

When should you visit your doctor?

Please consult your doctor if you or your family members notice the below mentioned changes:

Alteration in memory

Abnormal cognitive functioning

Inability to perform daily life activities

Personal changes

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