Dementia (from Latin de- "apart, away" mens (genitive mentis) "mind") is the progressive decline in cognitive function due to damage or disease in the brain beyond what might be expected from normal aging. Although dementia is far more common in the geriatric population, it may occur in any stage of adulthood. Examples of this include dementia caused by drugs or alcohol, or hormone or vitamin imbalances. Because some causes of dementia can be cured or partially treated, it is very important that your doctor is thorough when making the diagnosis, so as not to miss potentially treatable conditions. The frequency of "treatable" causes of dementia is believed to be about 10%.
Causes of Dementia
There are several things which could cause dementia:
* Diseases that cause degeneration or loss of nerve cells in the brain such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Huntington's.
* Diseases that affect blood vessels, such as stroke, which can cause a disorder known as multi-infarct dementia.
* Toxic reactions, like excessive alcohol or drug use.
* Nutritional deficiencies, like vitamin B12 and folate deficiency.
Symptoms of Dementia
# Progressive memory loss
# Inability to concentrate
# Decrease in problem-solving skills and judgment capability
# Confusion, severe
# Hallucinations and delusions
# Altered sensation or perception
Treatment of Dementia
Treatment of dementia focuses on correcting all reversible factors and slowing irreversible factors. This can improve function significantly, even in people who have irreversible conditions such as Alzheimer disease. Some of the important treatment strategies in dementia
Dementia generally gets worse with age but the development of symptoms can often be slowed with drugs or other treatments.
Treatment of dementia usually aims to improve memory and concentration, reduce psychiatric problems, and to improve the quality of life for both the patient and their family and carers.
Some studies indicate that a largely vegetarian diet high in betacarotene and vitamins E and C may lower the risk for dementia and Alzheimer's disease, but this is unproven. Nevertheless, eating a healthy diet that is low in saturated animal fat and not smoking tobacco can reduce the risk for stroke and other cardiovascular disorders that may lead to dementia.
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