Dementia is an umbrella term for many neurological diseases, the main sign of a general deterioration in brain function. It’s a condition observed in humans for hundreds of years. Before the twentieth century, dementia was relatively uncommon since fewer individuals lived to old age in pre-industrial civilization. It wasn’t until the mid-1970s that dementia was described in the way we know it today. Dementia is increasingly recognized as a medical sign rather than a natural aspect of aging or a single type of disease.
Over 100 disorders have been linked to dementia. Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, and dementia with Lewy bodies are the most frequent causes of dementia. Although the chance of developing dementia increases with age, persons in their 40s and 50s can also suffer from it. Any dementia identified in adults under the age of 65 is called ‘younger onset dementia.’
This is the most familiar and most well-studied form of senile dementia. When a loved one has Alzheimer’s, it can be heartbreaking for the family members since the afflicted usually seem to be in pain or discomfort most of the time. Anyone can get Alzheimer’s disease, though some identified factors have been shown to increase the chances of contracting the illness. These include genetic predisposition, physical inactivity, smoking, diabetes and hypertension, obesity, and many more.
Loved ones suffering from Alzheimer’s would greatly benefit by moving into a senior living community with memory care amenities. Here, they can be taken care of by team members who are Alzheimer’s disease specialists. Their goal is usually to reduce the chances of rapid disease progression and improve their quality of life. They are also provided with team members to help them achieve simply daily tasks such as hygiene and putting on clean clothes.
This is a common type of dementia caused by impaired blood flow to parts of the brain. These factors include multiple strokes, untreated high blood pressure, or diabetes. All these conditions damage the microvasculature in the brain, causing progressive dementia. It is essential to treat the underlying cause of the vascular damage, if possible, to arrest the progress of dementia in these cases. Living a healthy lifestyle and avoiding drugs and alcohol greatly reduce the chances of developing vascular dementia. It is also important to get an annual physical to identify any underlying conditions that have not manifested physically so that they can be treated more effectively.
Lewy Body Disease
Lewy body disease results from the brain’s spontaneous degeneration of nerve cells. The underlying cause is the presence of abnormal proteins known as Lewy bodies. These grow within nerve sheaths and interfere with the transmission of information from one brain cell to another. They also prevent blood flow to the nerves, resulting in damage and death of the cells. This condition is rarely reversible, and there are no known causes or risk factors that increase the chances of developing Lewy bodies. The only way to identify Lewy bodies is by inspecting brain tissue.