Dementia Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Dementia is a syndrome that is associated with the decreased ability of brain function such as the reduce memory, decrease the ability to think, understand and consider something, understand language, and the decrease of mental intelligence. This syndrome generally affects elderly people over 65 years. Dementia cannot be cured, but early treatment can help relieve and slow the development of dementia symptoms.

Dementia Symptoms

People with dementia will generally experience various dementia symptoms such as depression, mood swings, and behavior, difficulty socializing until hallucinating. The patients are unable to live independently and need the support of others. However, not everyone who experiences memory loss or decreased brain function can be associated with dementia.

Dementia Causes

Dementia is caused by damage to brain nerve cells in certain parts. It is reducing the ability to communicate with other body nerves and resulting in the appearance of symptoms in accordance with the area of the brain that was damaged. There are various conditions in this syndrome such as:

Progressive Dementia

Progressive dementia is a condition that caused by damage to certain brain nerve cells and can worsen over time. This condition generally cannot be completely restored. Some types of progressive dementia include:
  • Alzheimer's disease. It is the most common cause of dementia
  • Vascular dementia. This brain blood vessel disorder is the second highest cause of dementia
  • Lewy body dementia. It is the clotting of abnormal proteins in the brain, which can also be found in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's
  • Frontotemporal dementia. A group of diseases that characterized by frontal and temporal brain cell degeneration
  • Mixed dementia. Generally, it is experienced by elderly people over 80 years without a clear cause

Risk Factors of Dementia

According to its nature, the risk factors that can increase the risk of dementia are divided into two, namely factors that are out of control and factors that can be controlled. Risk factors that are out of control and irreversible include age, family health history, and health problems such as mild cognitive impairment and Down syndrome.

While the risk factors for dementia that can be controlled or avoided such as smoking and consuming alcohol, depression, sleep apnea, diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol, hypertension, and atherosclerosis.

Dementia Symptoms

People with this condition generally experience dementia symptoms according to the cause of cognitive and psychological changes as the main symptom. Dementia symptoms that are generally felt in terms of cognitive include:
  • Memory loss
  • Communication difficulties
  • Difficulty in speaking
  • Difficult to solve problems or plan something
  • Concentration decreases
  • Difficult to assess the situation and make decisions
  • Difficult to coordinate body movements
  • Feeling confused

While the dementia symptoms in terms of psychological include:
  • Depression
  • Restless
  • Behavioral and emotional changes
  • Feeling scared (paranoid)
  • Agitation
  • Hallucinations

In severe conditions, the patients can experience advanced symptoms such as paralysis on one side of the body, unable to withstand urination, decreased appetite, to difficulty swallowing.

Dementia Treatment

Not all cases of dementia can be cured. The dementia treatment can be done to relieve symptoms and avoid complications. The treatment of dementia includes the administration of drugs, therapy, for surgery.

Using Drugs

Some types of drugs commonly used to treat dementia symptoms are:
  • Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors. It is to relieve symptoms of mild Alzheimer's disease, Lewy bodies, and hallucinations as a cause of dementia
  • Memantine. It is to slow down chemical reactions in the brain
  • Antipsychotics. It is to relieve an aggressive patient's behavior or experience severe agitation
  • Antidepressants. It is to relieve symptoms of depression that commonly occur in people with dementia

Therapy

Some psychological therapies are done to relieve dementia symptoms, such as:
  • Cognitive stimulation and reality orientation therapy, to stimulate memory, problem-solving abilities, language skills, relieve mind disorientation, and to increase patient confidence
  • Behavioral therapy, to suppress uncontrolled behavior that occurs due to depression or hallucinations
  • Occupational therapy, to teach sufferers how to conduct daily activities safely and adapt to their conditions, while also teaching how to control emotions
  • Validation therapy, by showing empathy and understanding the condition of the patient so as not to experience depression

Besides the therapies above, there are also a number of support therapies that can be done at home, such as music therapy, aromatherapy, massage, playing with pets, to doing art activities.

Surgery

In cases of dementia that is caused by a brain tumor, brain injury, or hydrocephalus, then surgery can be recommended. If there is no permanent damage to the brain, surgery can help restore symptoms.

Conclusion

Dementia is a syndrome that is associated with the decreased ability of brain function such as the reduce memory, decrease the ability to think, understand and consider something, understand language, and the decrease of mental intelligence.

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