What is Dementia?
Dementia is an illness that causes the brain cells to deteriorate rapidly than the average rate. Currently, there are no cure found for this abnormal aging process. People suffering from dementia will gradually lose their cognitive abilities, and go through sudden personality changes. This affects adults at any point in their lives, although it is evidently more prominent in elderly people over the age of 65 years old. An estimate of 6.2 percent of people within this age group are suffering from this illness in Singapore.
Various kinds of dementia:
- Alzheimer's disease resulting from a combination of genetic and lifestyle risk factors
- Vascular dementia (multi-infarct dementia) resulting from multiple brain strokes
There are many factors leading up to Dementia where if the brain is exposed to multiple strokes then Vascular Dementia can occur.
Certain degenerative neurological diseases, for example Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, Parkinson's Disease, Huntington's Disease, and multiple sclerosis can cause Dementia.
Additionally, there can be be some triggers that can accelerate the development of Dementia, for instance the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and some central nervous system infections, such as Meningitis (inflammation of the brain membrane).
Other concerning factors includes traumatic injury to the brain caused by a sudden fall or automobile accidents, abuse of alcohol and drugs, depression, family history of dementia, and increasing age.
There also diseases that can speed up the process of Dementia which includes diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol levels.
When there is too much fluids in the brain from infections or tumours, it can induce the risk of Dementia.
Over time, Dementia worsens gradually and affects the patient to live on their own.
Symptoms might include:
- Mood swings
- Sudden change in behaviour and personality
- Difficulties at work
- Difficulties at problem solving
- Loss of interest in work and social activities
- Memory loss that affects daily living
- Often misplace belongings
- Poor judgement
- Difficulties in communicating
- Confusion over time and places
Certain treatments are available to alleviate symptoms and treat underlying causes of Dementia. These include:
- Appropriate care facilities
- Behavioural therapy
- Awareness of the illness
- Eliminating alcohol and drug consumption
- Medications to treat illnesses that trigger the onset of Dementia
- Decreased lifespan
- Delusions and hallucinations
- Inadequate nutrition
- Increased risk of infections anywhere in the body
- Loss of the ability for social interactions
- Loss of the ability to live safely and independently
- Side effects of medications
- Sleep Disturbances