Dementia( or dementia) is not a specific disease. This is a general term for a combination of symptoms caused by a number of diseases that destructively affect the brain. Most often they occur in elderly people( from 65 years and older).But at the same time, dementia is not considered a specialist by the normal form of aging. People with dementia suffer significant impairments in intellectual functioning, which interferes with their normal life. They also lose the ability to solve problems and maintain emotional control, can experience personality changes and behavioral problems such as arousal, delirium, hallucinations, etc. Loss of memory is one of the main symptoms of dementia, but the loss of memory as such does not mean that a person suffers from dementia. Doctors put this diagnosis only if several brain functions( such as memory, thinking, reasoning, learning, problem solving, language skills, changes in personality and behavior) are significantly impaired.
There are many diseases that cause dementia in the elderly. Some of them lead to a progressive loss of mental functions. But there are types of dementia, the progression of the symptoms can be stopped or reversed with appropriate treatment.
- 1 Symptoms
- 1.1 Alzheimer's Disease
- 1.2 Vascular Changes
- 1.3 Parkinson's Disease
Dementia is a serious brain disorder that affects a person's ability to perform daily tasks. Due to the fact that dementia is constantly progressing, early signs and symptoms can be vague and very ambiguous, which in turn makes it difficult to diagnose early.
The most common symptoms of dementia in the elderly are:
- frequent and progressive memory loss;
- language difficulties;
- inability to perform routine tasks;
- difficulties with abstract thinking;
- fast mood swings;
- apathy, lack of initiative.
While there are some common symptoms of dementia, it is important to remember that the underlying symptoms of dementia in the elderly vary depending on the disease it is caused to. Dementia has many different causes. Some of them can be reversible, for example, certain infections, intoxication and liver diseases. But most often in older age groups, there is dementia caused by Alzheimer's disease, as well as vascular diseases, which can not be completely cured.
Disease is the most common cause of dementia in people of older age( 65 years and over).In most people, the symptoms appear exactly when they reach this age. However, there are some forms of the disease associated with certain gene changes that may occur at an earlier age( from 30 years).
In the early stages of this type of dementia, patients may experience memory impairment and minor personality changes. In the course of the progression of the disease, memory disorders and language problems are exacerbated. They may lose their orientation in space and time, may suffer from delusional ideas and, perhaps, become irritable and hostile. At later stages of the disease, patients lose the ability to control motor functions. They have difficulty swallowing and lose control of urination. Over time, patients no longer recognize family members and speak.
With further progression, the disease begins to affect human emotions and behavior. In most cases, patients eventually develop symptoms such as aggression, depression, insomnia.
Statistically, patients with Alzheimer's dementia live 8-9 years after diagnosis. However, in some cases, the life expectancy of the patient may be up to 20 years.
The most common vascular change associated with age is the accumulation of cholesterol and other substances in the walls of blood vessels. This leads to thickening and hardening of the walls, as well as narrowing of the vessels, which can lead to a decrease or even complete cessation of blood flow in the brain areas.
The main symptom of patients with vascular dementia is memory problems. The following signs are also observed:
- difficulties with organizing and solving complex problems;
- slowing down thinking;
- changes in mood or behavior( depression, irritability, apathy);
- in some cases, patients may experience hallucinations.
If the onset of dementia is associated with Parkinson's disease, the elderly person may experience symptoms such as movement problems, spatial orientation, and tremor and weakness of one of the two sides of the body.