Dementia is a common term that refers to a number of neurological disorders leading to a gradual deterioration in the healthy functioning of the brain. It is considered to be an old age disease, where more than half of the people suffering from dementia are above the age of eighty-five. The disease is progressive and grows gradually leaving you with no recognizable signs at the early stages. Usually it’s accompanied by symptoms that are common for all types of dementia; they are: memory loss, finding it hard to concentrate on a particular topic, learning new skills, and problems with communication.
Causes of Dementia:
The progressive damage and death of brain cells is the one and only cause of dementia but the factors that contributes to it may differ for each type of dementia. Some dementia may be because of the medical conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, which progressively attacks the brain cells, where as some may be because of illness to the central nervous system or accidents which led to brain injury.
Types of Dementia:
The dementia can be categorized in to the following types based on the way each affects the brain cells.
1. Mild cognitive impairment
2. Fixed cognitive impairment
3. Alzheimer’s disease:
4. Vascular dementia
5. Dementia with Lewy bodies
6. Fronto-temporal dementia
7. Progressive supranuclear palsy
8. Corticobasal degenerative
9. Rapidly Progressive
Mild cognitive impairment:
The mild cognitive impairment is the type of dementia or a very initial stage of dementia where the memory loss to the person may be of higher level when compared with the persons of same age but is not affecting his or her daily life activities.
Fixed cognitive impairment:
This is the type of dementia caused by sudden injuries but will not grow with time nor is it irreversible. It’s because of the permanent injury to the brain cells because of accidents or strokes.
This is the most common and widespread dementia, which deteriorates the brain cells and causes the shrinkage of brain, resulting in memory loss, language problems, analytical thinking and getting lost. The part of the brain that is more affected by the Alzheimer is the hippocampus. In its early stages its difficult to identify as people mistook the memory loss as a part of aging.
The main reason for vascular dementia is injury to the blood vessels of brain, which is most often caused by stroke. Alcoholism, smoking and previous blood vessel diseases such as heart attacks or angina, may also become a reason for it. The symptoms of vascular dementia depend on the part of the brain affected by the stroke.
Dementia with Lewy bodies:
Dementia with Lewy bodies is popularly known as the Parkinson’s disease. The characteristic of the disease is a visual hallucination, which grows with the disease and for the diseased the hallucinations are real until they recognize it as a symptom.
The main symptoms of fronto-temporal dementia are the personality disorders and communication problems. There are three types of dementia; the behavioral dementia is characterized by abnormal changes in behavior, including rigidity and being socially withdrawn. The second type is temporal variant dementia where the people finds difficulty with the words and often get confused with the same. The third type is non-fluent Aphasia, where the diseased have problems with the fluency of speech.
Progressive supranuclear palsy:
With progressive supranuclear palsy the patient may find it difficult to move his or her eyes upwards or downwards. The reason is again the damage to the brain cells and shrinkage of the brain where in this case the mid brain is normally shrunken.
This is the type of dementia characterized with the alien limb. An alien limb is nothing but a person’s limb, which behaves as if its no more a part of the body. The person with corticobasal degenerative finds it difficult to control his alien limb and it acts of its own. The part of the brain that is most affected are the frontal lobe and the parietal lobe. The other symptoms include difficulty with communication mainly because of the stiffness in the mouth muscles and jerky movements of muscles.
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease or rapid progressive is any kind of other dementia’s that progresses rapidly to a crucial stage within weeks or days. The reason behind it may be brain infection, inflammation or drug toxicity.
If your loved one is starting to show signs of Alzheimers or Demenita, contact us so we can help make the transition to in-home health care simple and stress free.