Causes and Treatment of Dementia

As indicated by the wiktionary.org dementia is "A progressive decline in cognitive function due to damage or disease in the brain beyond what may be expected from normal aging.

To simply put, dementia is a problem in the brain of a person that affects the person's ability to learn, remember and communicate. The major signs of dementia are asking the same question repetely, getting lost in familiar places, inability to follow directions, disorientation about time, people and place, change in mood, neglect personal safety and hygiene.

There are many kinds of Dementias named on the condition or the cause they emerge from –

Senile Dementia – This is a condition where in the functioning of the brain impairs due to old age. It is caused by the degeneration of the brain cells that result in loss of memory and mental abilities, and noticeable personality changes.

Early Dementia – This term is used to describe people who are under the age of 65 with any form of dementia. The major symptoms include loss of memory, intellect, rationality, social skills and normal emotional reactions.

Dementia in the elderly – Elderly dementia occurs due to various untreated diseases like Alzheimer's disease, frontal lobe atrophy, Lewy body dementia and multi-infarct (stroke related) dementia.

Lewy / Louie Body Dementia – this is a progressive kind of dementia ie abnormal structures in some of the nerve cells in the brain. The major symptom related to this kind of dementia is visual hallucinations which may grow to confusion, tremor and memory loss.

Frontotemporal Dementia – The term describes a group of uncommon disorders that primarily affect the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. The major sections of the brain affected are responsible for personality, behavior and language.

Alcohol Dementia – This is a form of dementia caused due to excessive drinking of alcohol which results in neurological damage and memory loss.

Dementia as a disease related to the brain has many causes, mostly reasons that affect the nerve system.

• A very common cause for dementia is Alzheimer. Mostly Alzheimer is a disease that is hereditary. In this disease the cells in the areas of the brain that control memory and mental functions are destroyed by abnormal protein deposits in the brain. Alzheimer disease is not reversible, and no known cure exists. But, certain medications can slow its progress.
• Other diseases that cause damage to the nerve cells like Parkinson's and Huntington's can also cause Dementia
• Diseases affecting the blood vessels like stroke can cause a form of dementia called multi-infarct dementia
• Excessive alcohol or drug use
• Deficiency of particular nutrients in the body like vitamin B12 and folate
• Infection affecting the brain and spinal cord like AIDS dementia complex and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease are also major causes for dementia
• Injury of the head be it single single head injury or longer term smaller defects can cause Dementia

Dementia treatment depends on the cause of the disease. Many conditions are irreversible and treatment can be give to control the symptoms and further damage. However, there are some cases that can be rented. The basic treatments prescribed by doctors are –

• Intake of vitamins for cases with deficiency of vitamin B12
• Administration of thyroid hormones for hypothyroidism
• Surgery can be connected if the cause of dementia is a tumor
• Incase dementia is a result of the side effects of a medicine then the medicine will be stopped or changed
• Medicines are prescribed to treat infections affecting mental state
• Treatment for reversible conditions caused by AIDS
• Medicines like Cholinesterase inhibitors, Memantine (Namenda), Antidepressants and Medicines to ease anxiety, agitation, aggression, and hallucinations can be administered to the patient.

Herbal options to improve memory and alertness are also a great way of treating the disorder. Herbs like Gingko Biloba, St. John's Wort, Bacopa extract and Vinpocetine help immensely in dealing with memory loss and other brain ailments. A natural treatment is always a better and a healthier way to regain health as they are completely free from any side effects.

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