Conditions that lead to a decline in cognition, memory, communication skills, and social behavior, severe enough to disrupt one’s day-to-day functioning, are put under an umbrella called Dementia, including Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that leads to Dementia; however, not all Dementia is Alzheimer’s. Generally, Alzheimer’s involves weakened social skills, cognition impairment, and changes in behavior, but dementia patients exhibit other physiological and cognitive changes such as aggression, inappropriate behavior, and anxiety besides memory loss.
Alzheimer’s is the most known form of Dementia. It’s like a time machine that takes you back to the old days. It starts with short-term memory loss, the disease slowly advances, and the cognition starts to deteriorate. The patient keeps repeating things often as they lose track of time and don’t remember what they’ve just said or done. People with Alzheimer’s don’t remember anything of the present, so they keep going back in time and revisiting old memories.
While the long-term memory remains intact, the short-term memory begins to decline. This is why in most cases, the patients refuse to recognize their partners. For instance, if they are currently 80 years old but their memory is stuck when they were in their 40’s they may outrightly refuse to identify with their spouses. Alzheimer’s patients exhibit trouble reasoning or making simple day-to-day decisions, and they have no sense of time. It is divided into seven stages and begins with simple delusions, and as it progresses, they lose the ability to do other tasks.
Lewy Body Dementia
It is yet another type of the most commonly occurring Dementia. However, it goes unchecked the majority of the time. LBD dementia patients exhibit symptoms of both Parkinsons’ and Alzheimer’s. One of the beginning signs of LBD is hallucinations besides stiffness or rigidity of the body. Such patients usually hallucinate smaller insects or people; it may not trouble them, though.
They have trouble sleeping at night; they are generally awake through the night or act as if they just woke up from a dream. LBDs have fluctuating cognition, which implies they have moments of clarity and make sense, but there are times when they act nonsensical and confused. LBDs are extremely sensitive to antipsychotic medicines. However, the same treatment can help people with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Vascular dementia is post-stroke dementia which is quite unlike Lewy body dementia. Vascular dementia is associated with brain damage due to cardiovascular ailments or mini-strokes that lead to bleeding or reduced brain activity. Some of the striking signs of vascular dementia are sudden changes in thinking or reasoning right after a stroke, depending upon the part of the brain affected. Difficulty paying attention, analyzing the situation, and organizing thoughts are all symptoms of vascular dementia. In addition, the medication slows down the rate at which the disease may progress and damage the brain further.
Frontal Temporal Dementia
Deterioration of the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain causes FTD. The patient exhibits difficulty in communicating, drastic changes in social behavior, etc. The temporal lobe has to do with how a person behaves. In contrast, the frontal lobe dominates cognition, voluntary movements, and emotional processes—planning, analyzing, judging at all functions in the frontal lobe. People with FTD slowly start to withdraw from the outside world. Their behavior may be shocking at times. As the FTD advances, they completely lose interest in the world around them, including people. They lose emotional values and fail to understand their own and others’ feelings. Verbal communication also declines with time.
There are various kinds of Dementia known and researched thoroughly. In total, there are about 100 types of Dementia treated today. For example, years of substance abuse can lead to Dementia. In addition, traumatic brain injuries and Parkinson’s causes Dementia. Therefore, a proper diagnosis and treatment are of utmost critical for dementia patients.
Early Signs Of Dementia
There are about ten early signs of Dementia. While memory loss may not necessarily mean Dementia, it could be associated with aging, but one must always be watchful. At least two faculties must be impaired to call it out as Dementia: memory loss, along with difficulty in reasoning or communicating.
Given below are ten early symptoms of Dementia:
- Short-term memory loss, such as forgetting what they ate for lunch, where they kept something, or what they were supposed to do that day
- Trouble performing their daily tasks even if simple to do
- Finding difficulty to express their feelings
- Difficulty in learning new things, or losing interest in their hobbies
- Mood swings, depression, and drastic change in the social behavior
- Confucianism begins to forget familiar faces.
- Losing sense of direction
- Repeating phrases, tasks, or questions
- Difficulty following along the dialogues in the tv programs
- Fear and trouble adapting to new environment or difficulty in accepting changes
If anyone in your family is beginning to exhibit the above-given symptoms, consult a doctor immediately for a proper diagnosis and treatment.
What Are The Stages Of Dementia?
The phases of Dementia vary from person to person and depend on the types of Dementia too. Typically Dementia progresses in these seven stages;
- Medical tests might reveal a health issue, but still no signs.
- Not so noticeable changes in behavior and independence continue.
- Noticeable moderate decline in behavior, including forgetting events, repeating statements, and fluctuations in thought process
- The intermediate decline implies difficulty recalling events and dealing with money.
- Severe decline starts, moderate to severe, wherein dementia patients forget names and are unsure of the time of day, and require assistance with regular daily chores.
The decline in health condition is severe; patients forget their spouse’s name, their individuality is modified, and they require support in going to the bathroom and eating food.
The very severe phase of dementia, wherein the patient cannot walk, not speak out their feelings and thoughts, and most of the time they spend in the bed.
The disease progresses slowly and has multiple phases. Finally, memory loss starts reflecting in all the activities, from minor to big tasks. The memory decline is life-changing for all the members of the family. Therefore, take great care of a dementia patient. However, medical assistance and memory care programs handle dementia patients with life and sustenance.