Jan 04 2010

Dementia: Types, Signs and Symptoms

Dementia is associated with memory loss or loss of mental abilities usually combined with evidence of more widespread disordered cognitive function (problems with memory, language, behavior and emotions). It is common for elderly and those people over 65. It is a symptom of disease rather than a single disease entity.

When occurring under the age of 65, it is labeled “presenile” dementia. This is due to cerebrovascular disease occurring “stroke by stroke”. All types of dementia show a tendency to be accelerated by changes of the environment, intercurrent infection or surgical procedures. Dementia recognized as a major public health problem as it affects million people, and the number is expected to rise.

DementiaTypes of dementia include:

a.    Primary dementias are diseases that directly attack brain tissue and cause the behaviors associated with dementia. It is irreversible and they can only be treated symptomatically and can not be cured. The common is Alzheimer’s disease and classified including Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease.

b.    Secondary dementia or pseudodementia refers to disease that do not directly attack brain tissue but result in symptoms described as characteristic of dementia. It may result with diabetic ketoacidosis, drug intoxication, severe nutritional imbalance, severe infection and depression.

Most prominent symptoms of dementia are cognitive dysfunction including in memory, learning, attention, judgment, orientation and language skills. All patients experience a steady decline in cognitive and physical abilities. On the last stages of this disease patients are unable to communicate, are incontinent and may be unable to walk.

People with dementia often suffer from severe memory loss, especially linked to more recent events. In the early stages they misplace objects or tend to forget what they were planning to do. Problems are connected with finding the correct words, concentration, learning new ideas or skills, etc. Psychological problems such as irritability, saying or doing inappropriate things and becoming depressed, paranoid or aggressive can take place, as well as severe mental and physical problems including loss of speech, immobility and incontinence.

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