Dementia is characterized by a progressive loss of intellectual functions, such as alteration of memory, reasoning and language. However, the term “senile dementia” does not refer to any type of diagnosis, since, despite the fact that dementia appears more frequently after 65 years, it is not exclusive to this city, being able to present itself in more young people.
In addition, the reduction of some cognitive functions can form part of the normal aging of the human being, although it is not a rule, therefore, dementia is not considered an illness or disorder of the third age.
In spite of this, it is important to consult a geriatrician or a family doctor in case there are symptoms of dementia so that a clinical evaluation can be carried out and, if necessary, guide the appropriate treatment according to the type of dementia and related illness.
What are the symptoms
The symptoms of dementia are varied and depend on the cause, which is why some of them can take years to manifest. The most common symptoms are the following:
- Memory loss, confusion and disorientation;
- Difficulty understanding written or verbal communication;
- Difficulty in taking decisions;
- Difficulty in recognizing family and friends;
- Olvido of common hechos, as for example the day in which they are;
- Personality alteration and critical sense;
- Agitation and walks during the night;
- Lack of appetite, weight loss, urinary and fecal incontinence;
- Loss of orientation in known environments;
- Movements and repetitive speech;
- Difficulty driving, shopping alone, cooking and personal care;
All these symptoms lead to a progressive dependence and can cause in some people depression, anxiety, insomnia, irritability, distrust, delusions and hallucinations.
The causes that can lead to the development of dementia are:
1. Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is a disease in which a progressive degeneration of the brain’s neurons and compromise of its cognitive functions occurs, such as memory, attention, language, orientation, perception, reasoning and thinking.
The causes, however, are not known, but studies suggest a hereditary factor, especially when it begins in the middle age. See more about this disease.
2. Dementia with vascular origin
It has a faster onset, being associated with multiple cerebral infarctions, generally accompanied by high blood pressure and strokes. Brain involvement is more evident in complex attention, for example, in the processing speed in frontal executive functions, such as the movement and emotional response. See more about ACV and how to avoid it.
3. Dementia caused by drugs
There are medications that taken regularly can increase the risk of developing dementia. Some examples of drugs that can increase the risk if taken too often are antihistamines, sedatives, antidepressants, drugs used for heart or gastrointestinal problems and muscle relaxants.
4. Other causes
There are other diseases that can lead to the development of dementia, such as, for example, dementia with Lewy bodies, Korsakoff syndrome, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Pick’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and brain tumors.
What does the diagnosis consist of?
The diagnosis of the illness is generally made with a hematology, tests of renal, hepatic and thyroid function, serum levels of vitamin B12 and folic acid, serology for syphilis, blood glucose in the mornings, computed tomography of the skull or magnetic resonance imaging.
The doctor must carry out a complete clinical history, test to evaluate the memory and the mental state, evaluation of the degree of attention and concentration and of the abilities in solving problems and the level of communication.
The diagnosis of dementia is made by excluding other illnesses that present similar symptoms.
How is the treatment performed?
The treatment for dementia depends on the type, so the therapeutic approach can vary, using drugs such as acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, antidepressants, mood stabilizers or neuroleptics; physiotherapy exercises, occupational therapy and guidance for the family and caregivers, for example.
It is important that the person with dementia receives constant medical care and has support at home, as this gives the person a better quality of life and treatment can be carried out more easily.
Verified by RJ9823 – Public Utility – cc2.0
Consult a Doctor | Translated by User2937
Content for educational purposes only
The translator user relied on the following text:
Tua Saude Website – REF93782 – Verified
Disclaimer – (English version>) This content has been prepared based on information from research, additional publications, or the translation/verification work of a volunteer editor of this web council. This is a non-profit service. It is strongly recommended that all details and information published be carefully verified. We never allow medication recommendations, medication package inserts or any medication guidance. We never allow partisan politics as information.
Isenção de responsabilidade – (versão em português): Este conteúdo foi preparado com base em informações de pesquisas, publicações adicionais ou no trabalho de tradução/verificação de um editor voluntário deste conselho web. Este é um serviço sem fins lucrativos. É altamente recomendável que todos os detalhes e informações publicadas sejam verificadas cuidadosamente. Nunca permitimos recomendações de medicamentos, bulas ou qualquer orientação sobre medicamentos. Nunca permitimos a política partidária como base para checagem. Para mais informações, leia nossos termos.