Clinical Conditions

Dementia

Dementia what is it?

Dementia is defined as a clinical condition characterised by impaired thinking and memory. It results in gradual decline in cognitive functioning from aging.

Alzheimer’s Disease what is it?

According to the Center for Disease Control, Alzheimer’s disease is the commonest cause of dementia. 50 to 70% of all dementia cases are Alzheimer’s. Symptoms of Alzheimer’s include impairment in thought & speech, and confusion. While there is no single diagnostic test a variety of screening tests are used to determine the cause of dementia including blood tests, mental status evaluations and brain scans.

Dementia

Symptoms of dementia?

There is difficulty remembering newly learned information, since brain changes seen in areas that affects learning, these are the earliest symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

As Alzheimer's progresses it leads to increasingly severe symptoms, including disorientation, mood and behaviour changes; deepening confusion about events, time and place; unfounded suspicions about family and friends.

Symptom severity increases as Alzheimer's progresses; including disorientation, mood and behaviour changes; profound and deepening confusion about events, time and place; suspicions about family and friends.

Memory loss, behaviour changes; and difficulty speaking, swallowing and walking occurs in the most advanced cases

Is it Progressive?

Alzheimer's disease is a progressive condition. The symptoms of dementia gradually worsen over a number of years. Initially there is mild memory loss, but as it progresses into late stages individuals are unable to carry on a conversation and even respond to their environment meaningfully. The average survival with Alzheimer’s disease ranges from 4-20years, with an average life expectancy of 8years once symptoms are noticed.

The stages of Alzheimer’s Disease?

The disease can be classified based on the symptomatology and how cognitive abilities change, Alzheimer’s disease is classified into three categories, the symptoms do overlap and may be difficult to differentiate;

  • Mild
  • Moderate
  • Severe

The early signs for Alzheimer’s

Symptoms mentioned below could be considered as early indicators for Alzheimer’s disease;

  • Memory loss affecting activities of daily living
  • Challenges in planning or solving problems
  • Increasing difficulty in completing familiar tasks at home or at office
  • Confusion with time or place
  • Difficulty with speech and writing new words
  • Inability to find things and forgetting them.
  • Gradual withdrawal both social and occupational.
  • Frequent mood changes and gradual change in personality

Other causes of dementia:

Alzheimer’s is the commonest but not the only cause of dementia there may be other too like;

  • Vascular Dementia
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
  • Huntington's Disease

Treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease?

Treatments currently available for Alzheimer's slow the worsening of dementia symptoms, improve quality of life but cannot stop Alzheimer's from progressing.

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