Have you ever observed an individual with momentary cognitive decline or composing journals to recollect things? Heard about the syndrome “dementia”? In simple terms, dementia is a progressive loss of the brain’s cognitive ability beyond what might be expected from normal aging. It is often caused due to the atrophy of the brain and is not a disease, but a group of symptoms that are associated with a decline in thinking, reasoning, and/or remembering. It can be classified as a psychological disorder or also as one of the symptoms of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is one of several brain disorders under the broad category of dementia. Sometimes an individual has forgetfulness due to old age, but this is not the same as dementia or AD and at the same time its’ not just about memory loss!

So what’s the difference? Why do people often confuse the terms?

Alzheimer’s disease is considered to be the most common type of dementia, but it is only one of many possible causes. Alzheimer’s occurs due to physical changes in the brain, including a build-up of certain proteins and nerve damage whereas dementia is an overall term used to describe the symptoms that impact memory, communication abilities, and performance of daily activities. Dementia can also be used as an umbrella term for Parkinson’s illness, Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Vascular Dementia (VaD), Lewy Body Dementia (LBD), and Frontotemporal dementia. So in a nutshell, AD is just one of the types of dementia, albeit the most common type by far, making up 60 to 80 percent of cases.

The difference is real!

The frequent, cognitive decline that upsets your life is one of the first or more-conspicuous indications of dementia. I had come across an individual named Ross who was diagnosed with early-onset dementia when she was 52 and she mentions,” Once I was in a shop looking to buy a freezer when a seizure came on. I froze, eventually someone helped me and asked me what I was looking for; I don’t know but I’ll remember when I see it. They showed me around the shop and when we got to the freezers I said – that’s it.” 

The key point to note here is that while many, especially older people often experience forgetfulness, it is not termed as dementia unless it is severe and begins disrupting your daily life like it did for Ross. 

Facts and Care for Dementia

According to data, globally 47 million individuals are living with dementia out of which almost 4.1 million individuals are from India. (Source: http://dnai.in/gAvJ) With the booming population of India, the current case numbers are expected to double in the next 20 years. This causes various care bodies and organizations across the country to help families understand dementia and its care through relevant links and resources offline and online. ARDSI (Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders Society of India) is perhaps one of the greatest associations created with the point of offering help in the form of information and creating awareness. Also, in attempting to define what dementia friendliness means, the Dementia Friendly Community (DFC) has conducted various workshops in different parts of the country: Trivandrum, Chennai, Bengaluru, New Delhi and Cochin. After all, having support systems in place and the use of non-pharmacologic behavioural interventions can improve the quality of life for both people with dementia and their caregivers and families.

Risk factors and the symptoms associated with dementia

Researchers across the globe have identified a couple of common risk factors that impact the likelihood of developing one or more kinds of dementia. Some part of these risks is modifiable, while others are definitely not. 

Factors that can’t be changed are:

Age – the danger ascends as you age, particularly after the age of 65. Nonetheless, dementia is not a normal part of aging, and it can happen in youthful individuals too.

Family history – having a family background of dementia puts you at more serious danger of inheriting the condition.

Down syndrome – by middle age, numerous individuals with this disorder often begin to show symptoms of the early stage of Alzheimer’s disease.

Apart from these, you might be able to control some risk factors such as; cardiovascular risk factors, depression, diabetes, smoking, sleep apnea, and vitamin and nutritional deficiencies by keeping a well-balanced and healthy diet and lifestyle.

Symptoms:

  • Loss of memory 
  • Language and communication problem
  • Misplacing things
  • Changes in personality or sudden mood swings.
  • Difficulty doing familiar tasks

These symptoms and risk factors can vary based on people’s health, age and type of dementia. Experts now believe that the risk of dementia is not limited to old age, but in fact can start in the brain long before symptoms are detected, often in middle age as well. 

In an interesting read, I came across an individual named Sheri who shares her experience about how being diagnosed with dementia at the age of 38 changed certain misconceptions about it. With treatment and early detection, she has managed to combat the disease while maintaining her psychological capabilities intact as well. She also says, “I want to adapt up to the ever-changing condition and adjusting to better approaches to empower to live better for longer with dementia. The world needs to know more and be considerate towards dealing with such diseases.”

Current and future treatment of dementia

There is currently no cure for dementia. But there are medicines and other treatments that can help with dementia symptoms. A specialist may endorse various drugs as dementia advances. These remedies include donepezil (Aricept), rivastigmine (Exelon) and galantamine (Razadyne) that work by boosting levels of a compound dispatch related to memory and judgment.

The future of dementia treatment thus appears to lie in prevention rather than cure. 

Conclusion

Dementia regularly, however not generally, begins with a mellow decrease in the capacity to think, and Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, and this terminal, progressive brain disorder has no known cause or cure. Despite the fact that the disease isn’t curable yet with opportune treatment, it can help diminish indications and oversee behavioral changes. Medication, physical exercise, and an appropriate healthy eating routine can hinder the advancement of dementia. Along with this, keeping sharp through engaging mind activities can decrease your danger of building up Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. 

iCardin’s expert neurologists and psychologists can help with any questions associated with dementia so, drop us a line don’t forget to check the link below to know more.  https://fb.watch/GqWLOrkZd/