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What is Dementia? Early Warning Signs, Symptoms, Causes, and Types

Dementia is a group of brain disorders that make it difficult for people to remember, think, make decisions, or control their emotions. It can be caused by illnesses or injuries and may range from mild to severe. Some people may also experience changes in personality as a result of these disorders. Some types of dementia are progressive, meaning they get worse over time. Some are treatable or reversible, while others are considered to be irreversible.

There are different types of dementia, and Alzheimer's disease is one of them. It is a disease that affects the part of the brain that is responsible for learning and memory. As the disease progresses, the person affected may have problems with these areas of their lives.

Dementia affects people aged 85 and over but it is important to remember that dementia isn’t a normal part of aging. A lot of seniors aged 90 and up function without any signs of dementia. Age-related memory decline may manifest as forgetting the names of acquaintances, forgetting a certain word but remembering it later, misplacing objects from time to time, and not remembering events that happened most recently. Habits, knowledge, or experiences that have been built over time such as language and old memories would stay intact as a person ages.

Signs and Symptoms of Dementia

Dementia is a group of brain disorders but is used as a general term so the symptoms may vary from person to person here are problems that are commonly found in people with dementia:

  • Attention

  • Memory

  • Reasoning, Problem-Solving, and Judgment

  • Difficulty understanding, speaking, reading and writing, or expressing thoughts

  • Wandering

Signs of dementia may include

  • Taking a longer time to complete daily tasks

  • Memory loss, confusion, and poor judgment

  • Trouble with handling finances responsibly

  • Getting lost in familiar places

  • Using unusual words when referring to familiar objects

  • Apathetic toward other people’s feelings

  • Impulsive actions

  • Loss of interest in daily activities or events

  • Problems with balance and mobility

Seniors with intellectual and developmental disabilities can develop dementia as they age, making it difficult to recognize the signs.

What can Cause Dementia?

Changes in specific brain regions that lead to the malfunction of neurons (nerve cells) and their connections result in dementia. Researchers are looking into why some people experience these changes but not others as they have linked changes in the brain to specific forms of dementia. Rare genetic variants that cause dementia have been found in a small number of people. A few factors can cause dementia such as:

  • Excessive alcohol consumption

  • Liver, thyroid, and kidney problems

  • Mental health issues such as depression, stress, or anxiety

  • Deficiencies in vitamin B12 and vitamin D

What are the Types of Dementia?

Through a progressive and irreversible loss of neurons and brain function, various neurodegenerative diseases and factors play a role in the emergence of dementia. There is currently no treatment for dementia of any kind. There are various types of dementia, a few include:

Alzheimer’s Disease

The most typical form of dementia is Alzheimer's disease. According to the Alzheimer's Association, this disease is to blame for between 60 and 80 percent of dementia cases. Memory loss, disregard for personal hygiene, changes in mood and personality, disorientation, and other symptoms are some of the early warning signs of Alzheimer's disease. Although depression can be an early sign of Alzheimer's disease, it must be treated separately as a disorder because it is not a component of the disease.

Lewy Body Dementia

Protein buildup in nerve cells results in Lewy body dementia, also known as Lewy body dementia. Memory loss and confusion result from this disruption of chemical signals in the brain. Additional to experiencing visual hallucinations, individuals with this form of dementia also have difficulty falling asleep at night or waking up unexpectedly in the middle of the day. Additionally, they might pass out, get lost, or become confused.

Vascular Dementia

Vascular dementia ranks as the second most frequent type of dementia. It results from inadequate blood supply to the brain. As you get older, vascular dementia may develop and be linked to other conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and atherosclerotic disease. Vascular dementia is commonly caused by stroke.

Living with dementia is difficult, especially as people living with the disease age. Being knowledgeable and understanding with lots of patience and compassion will go a long way when caring for seniors with dementia.

In Need of Assistance?

Unified Pledge Home Health provides a FREE consultation. Talk to them about your situation and explore your options.

Hiring professionals from Unified Pledge comes with the following advantages:

  • Level II FBI background checks of all staff

  • Driving history checks

  • Constant communication to patients, family, and care team

  • Registered Nurse supervision is ongoing with every care plan

Contact us today for a FREE consultation by a Supervisory Nurse at 561-910-8770.



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