Dementia is a group of signs which influence memory power, thinking ability and socializing capacity to cope with everyday life functioning. It is not one particular health problem.
Even though dementia relates to memory loss, but only memory loss is not mean that you have dementia.
Older people who are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease can also experience dementia, but there could be other causes watch out.
In other words, Dementia is a mental health syndrome linked with continues brain functions decline. It is related to problems such as
- Thinking speed
- Memory loss
- Mental sharpness and quickness
- Difficulties in doing daily activities
Difference between Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
As I have mentioned above dementia is not a particular disease but a group of symptoms. The Alzheimer’s disease is one of the common causes of dementia followed by 50 to 70% of dementia cases. Alzheimer’s is a particular disease which shows symptoms such as impaired speech, impaired thought, and confusion.
Another important difference is Alzheimer’s doesn’t have any cure, and it is a degenerative disease. But in the case of dementia, some of its forms such as vitamin deficiency, drug interaction can be temporary or reversible.
How genes linked to dementia?
Genes are the characteristics which pass through families. Basically, genes are the units of inheritance which developed from DNA. It provides the features to develop and maintain our body.
Genes are available in every cell of your body such as a pair structure describe as chromosomes. Generally, everyone has two different copies of genes, and each one belongs to each parent like one gene from father and another gene from mother.
While majorly every DNA is the same, but the genes are slightly different for every person. These slight gene differences are responsible for physical appearance which found uniqueness in each person. Genes are also responsible for developing chances of common diseases.
Genes perform a crucial role in the progress of dementia. However, the effect is complex, and it passes through a parent with different inheritance patterns.
The gene considerably affects differently on a different person. For example, the genes affected in a greater way in frontotemporal dementia than vascular dementia.
As you know children often resemble parent or grandparents such as physical characteristics, because genes, come to children from parents that are 20,000 different genes.
However, whatever genes types you have got, still you can prevent growing chances of dementia with a healthy lifestyle.
Types of Dementia
The term Dementia means the changes in the brain which cause memory loss. These changes hugely affect the everyday life of an individual and cause a change in personality and behavior.
There are different types of dementia which includes:
Alzheimer’s disease one of the foremost type of dementia. Nearly 60 to 80% dementia cases shown the result due to this health ailment said by Alzheimer’s Association.
Alzheimer’s disease early signs include depressed mood, depression, forgetting recent events and names.
However, only depression is not a sign of Alzheimer’s disease because only depression is a different disorder which needs separate treatment.
Sometimes older people with depression get misdiagnosed as Alzheimer’s disease, so you need to be careful.
This disease characterized by the death of cells accompanied with walking and speaking. It is more common in older people, but 5 % of people are at risk of developing this disease at their 40s or 50s.
Vascular dementia is another type of dementia. It happens due to insufficient blood flow to the brain. This disease will occur as you begin to age and link with stroke and atherosclerotic disease.
You may experience the symptoms of vascular dementia such as disorientation, confusion. The symptoms may occur slowly or also suddenly which depend on the cause. Gradually the symptoms will create trouble for concentrating or completing the task.
Vascular dementia also effects on vision problems and hallucinations.
Dementia with Lewy bodies
Lewy body dementia occurs by protein build-up in nerve cells. This problem will interrupt the chemical messages to the brain from other body parts and cause disorientation and memory.
During this type of dementia, you will get visual hallucination and trouble in sleep. You may find the problem to sleep in the night and fall sleep in the daytime.
This type of dementia may show the symptoms of Alzheimer disease and Parkinson.
For example, you may develop shaking problem in hands, trouble walking and feel weak.
The people who are experiencing from Parkinson’s syndrome will have raised chances of growing dementia.
You will encounter the early signs such as understanding and reasoning problems when Parkinson’s dementia is attacking you.
An individual also undergoes a visual understanding problem, facing difficulty to remember the simple everyday task. There are also signs of hallucinations and frightening or confusing.
During this type of dementia, an individual can feel irritable, depressed or paranoid as the ailment begin to progress. Some people also experience forgetting words during conversation.
It is a term which describes different types of dementia with one common symptom. They usually affect the side and front parts of the brain which control the behavior and language. It is also described as Pick’s disease.
This type of dementia affects individuals at the age of 45 years. Scientists were unable to get the exact cause, but it comes from families, and people who have genes mutation said by Alzheimer’s Society.
In this dementia type, individuals will experience loss of motivation and inhibitions and impelling behavior. It also causes forgetting common words and speech problem.
NPH-Normal-pressure-hydrocephalus is a term occur when an individual experiencing from accumulated excess fluid in the ventricles of the brain. The brain ventricles are areas which contain an amount of fluid. It benefits to protect the spinal cord and the brain to manage correctly.
In the case of extra fluid accumulation, it put pressure on your brain which causes damage and results in dementia. It will have the following symptoms such as bleeding, infection, injury, brain tumor.
During dementia, when your doctor unable to find the cause of NPH, then it will have the symptoms of mood change, poor balance, frequent fall, forgetfulness, loss of bladder control and bowels.
Consulting your doctor is a better idea to prevent further damage.
CJD-Creutzfeldt Jakob disease is a rare type of dementia. According to Alzheimer’s Association every year, only one person in one million people get a diagnosis of this disease. This disease develops quickly, and an individual with this disease may die after a year of diagnosis.
This disease may have symptoms of depression and agitation. There will be symptoms of memory loss and muscle stiffness.
This disease is also a genetic condition which can cause dementia. It can develop in adults as well as juvenile. The juvenile type of Huntington’s disease occurs during adolescence or childhood.
The adults may have symptoms of Huntington’s disease at the age of 30 or 40. This condition induces premature breakdown in the nerve cells of the brain which result in impaired movement and dementia.
Huntington’s disease and dementia symptoms include focus difficulty, trouble speaking, unable to learn new thing, difficulty walking, jerking or swallowing problem.
Wernicke Korsakoff syndrome
Wernicke’s disease also describes as Wernicke’s encephalopathy which is a kind of disorder in the brain. It occurs due to lack of vitamin B-1 and results in bleeding in the lower part of the brain.
In this type of disease, you will experience muscle loss, double vision. The untreated condition of Korsakoff syndrome (memory disorder) can occur by increased Wernicke ailment.
These two forms are linked with each other and grouped as one condition which defines as Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. Technically it is not a type of dementia, but due to its signs, it is correlated with dementia.
Suffering from multiple dementia called mixed dementia. It is a common ailment with a combination of Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia. Nearly 45% of people suffer from mixed dementia while suffering from dementia and unaware of it.
Mixed dementia shows different signs in different people. Some people suffer from memory loss, behavior change, mood change, and disorientation.
In some cases, people suffer from walking and speaking trouble as the disease grows.
Stages of dementia
Most of the dementia cases get worse with time. Dementia develops differently for different people. However, there will be different symptoms in the following dementia stages.
Stage 1: Mild cognitive impairment
Aged people will experience mild cognitive impairment, but it may not develop as complete dementia or other mental disability. During mild dementia stage an individual may get the following symptoms:
- Difficulty recalling words
- Forgetting information
- Short-term memory loss
- Misplacing things
- Short memory lapses
- Anger and depression
- Finding a problem to express emotions
Stage 2: Moderate dementia
During moderate dementia, the affected individual will require help from family and friend to care them moderate dementia begin to interfere in everyday activity. Its symptoms include:
- Frustration with confusion
- Poor judgment
- Need help from family to bath or dress
- significant personality changes
Stage 3: Severe dementia
During the severe stage of dementia, the physical and mental condition’s symptoms begin to decline and have the following symptoms.
Inability to manage body functions such as walking, swallowing and bladder controlling.
- Communication failure
- Need all time assistance from others
- Raised risk of diseases
How to prevent dementia?
Even though aging is a major risk factor of dementia, there are important lifestyle changes which can help to decrease the risk of dementia.
Here are the positive changes you need to practice.
Stay physically active
Perform regular physical activity which is an excellent way to lessen your risk of dementia. Physical activity helps to keep good weight and heart health. It also boosts blood circulation and mental wellbeing.
Apart from your everyday routine, the physical workout is essential in everyday life. You can start slowly and increase the exercise gradually. Even starting with 10 minutes of exercise also helps. Make sure to avoid sitting for a long time.
You can also try doing aerobic workouts every week by aiming 150 minutes of moderate activity such as riding a bike, brisk walking or lawnmower pushing.
Try doing vigorous aerobic exercise for 75 minutes such as fast swimming, jogging and bike riding up to the hill.
You can also perform resistance activities which need muscles to work to get the strength two times every week such as sit-ups, push-ups, and gardening with digging activity.
Apart from that participate the activities such as netball, running, football and circuit training.
A balanced, healthy diet is always helpful for reducing dementia risk and other health conditions such as obesity, cancer, stroke, heart disease, and cancer.
- Add five portions of vegetables and fruits per day.
- Eat plenty of proteins such as beans, oily fish, eggs, pulses, and meat twice a week.
- Reduce your sugar and salt intakes. Check for product wrap for the hidden salt content.
- Add starchy foods in your diets such as potatoes, bread, and pasta.
- Reduce your saturated fat and eat healthy fats such as olive oil, Flaxseed oil, coconut oil, Avocado oil, Walnut oil, and Sesame oil.
- Drink enough water like 6 to 8 glasses as per your health requirement.
Try to avoid smoking to prevent the high risk of dementia. The smoking also a risky problem which contributes to developing cancer, infertility, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and lung cancer.
Smoking is harmful which limit the blood circulation in the entire body including the heart, blood vessels, lungs, and the brain.
- Get help from your pharmacist or GP to stop smoking.
- Try to stop smoking as a new year resolution motivation.
- Use harmless alternative without the content of nicotine such as gum, e-cigarettes, and lozenges.
- You can also use smokefree aid service such as an app, helpline, and local service to stop smoking.
You need to do the mental activity which helps to reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Regularly keeping your brain active helps stimulate the signals between brain and cells by developing cognitive reserve.
Generally, aging causes brain cells-death, but research tells that regular mental activity helps to develop new cells. The brain develops a new connection with cells and creates a buffer which helps to compensate the cognitive functions loss and prevent dementia. This new cell connection buffer allows the better cognitive reserve to reduce the symptoms of cognitive decline in people who have a less cognitive reserve.
Try to practice challenging mental activity which develops the brain ability to manage the diseases. Practice something which seems challenging to your brain and keep doing it regularly such as:
- Get educated without caring about your age.
- Add new language in your learning.
- Solve crosswords, puzzles, and quiz
- Play board games and card games
- Write or read challenging fiction or non-fiction.
- Keep communicating with other people. Try to keep up with important people such as family and friends.
- Join club, community or volunteer a group and get social.
Getting social also helpful to prevent the risk of dementia. Having a wide network of friends helps to lower the dementia symptoms. Less socializing means more depression which occurs due to isolation.
Social interaction is essential for brain health as it helps to stimulate the signals between brain cells. Combined social activities work effectively for preventing dementia.
For example: Walk with your friend to solve some issue is better than just walking. Go park for a morning walk and make new friends. Try to play with children at your home.
If you are a retired person, then consider joining social clubs and participate in social activities.
Increased alcohol consumption also develops the risk of dementia. You should aim to consume only 14 units of alcohol per week. If you drink more than 14-unit alcohol, then it will cause you brain damage. Even you need to spread the 14 units in three days a week.
- Track your alcohol consumption and cut down.
- Drink low or complete alcohol-free drinks.
- Prevent your alcohol cravings by switching with healthy drinks such as fruit juice.
Life expectancy with Dementia
The person who gets diagnosed with dementia can live for many years if you have a healthy lifestyle. However, the severe stage of dementia may cause problems.
It can be difficult to predict the life expectancies while having dementia. Moreover, the risk factor of dementia influences the length of life expectancy differently for each person.
There are some crucial risk factors which raise the possibility of death in the dementia patient. Here are the risk factors:
- Being male gender
- Increased age
- Reduced functionality and capabilities
- Additional health conditions such as cancer or diabetes.