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What is the difference between Dementia & Alzheimers Syndrome?
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Dementia is the term applied to a group of symptoms that negatively impact memory, but Alzheimer’s is a specific progressive disease of the brain that slowly causes impairment in memory and cognitive function. The exact cause is unknown, and no cure is available. Therefore Alzheimers is a type of Dementia.

 

What are the types of Dementia?

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Dementia is the broad term used to describe a number of different conditions affecting the brain, including Alzheimer's Disease, Vascular Dementia, Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD), Mixed Dementia, Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB) and more.

 

Diagnosis by examination of the symptoms

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If you or someone close to you is experiencing changes such as significant memory loss, confusion or language difficulties, it’s a good idea to visit your General Practitioner for an assessment.

What Causes Dementia

Dementia is caused by neurodegeneration – the damage and death of the brain’s neurons. Depending on the types of neurons and brain regions affected, the form of dementia differs.

In the brains of patients with advanced Alzheimer’s, there is widespread degeneration, and damage to the hippocampus – a part of the brain essential to memory formation, and which produces new neurons. The loss of brain tissue results in a shrunken brain, enlarged ventricles and more space between the folds.

Dementia Signs & Symptoms

Dementia symptoms usually develop gradually. Often the earliest signs are recognised in hindsight because they’re mistaken for signs of normal ageing.

The first signs of dementia may vary depending on the type.

For instance, memory loss, apathy and depression are common early signs of Alzheimer’s disease, whereas impaired judgement and organisational skills are often early signs of vascular dementia.

Poor or Decreased Judgement

Frequent Memory Loss

Problems with Abstract Thinking

Changes in personality

Disorientation with Time & Space

Forgeting Simple Words

Loss of Initiative

Misplacing Things

Difficulty Perfoming Familiar Tasks

Changes in Mood or Behaviour

Dementia Risk & Prevention

Age Group

Age is the greatest risk factor for developing dementia.

 

As with our genes, we unfortunately can’t do anything to overcome ageing! However, some environmental factors seem to influence the likelihood of dementia and could account for about one-third of the overall risk of developing dementia.

 

Cardiovascular Health

This has one of the strongest links to dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.High blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, diabetes, stroke & heart disease all increase the risk.

 

Our circulation supplies vital nutrients to the brain,and if something interferes with that, our neurons will suffer.

Head Injury

There is now evidence that head injuries – even mild, repeated concussions can be associated with the development in later life of a kind of degenerative disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

Sleep Disturbances

People with dementia commonly have sleep disturbances, even years prior to experiencing symptoms.

 

Alzheimer’s disease is known to alter production of the hormone melatonin by damaging a part of the brain which is responsible for regulating our circadian rhythm, or the sleep/wake cycle.

Lifestyle Choices

Inactivity & limited social & mental stimulation may increase the risk of dementia.

 

Smoking, Chronic alcohol use, Lower education level, Physical inactivity, Social isolation, Heart disease, Chronic sleep deprivation, Poor diet, Diabetes, Hypertension, High cholesterol, Obesity, Hearing loss & Depression Some of these may be linked to poor cardiovascular health, and methods to increase physical activity in older patients are being investigated to see if they can delay dementia.

How Can we support

Understanding the problem & joining a support group is the right first step.

 

Through our training sessions and counseling programmes, we believe that these form the right steps to your journey in managing Dementia. Our support programmes encompas Caregiver Training, Community Outreach & Advocacy, Support Groups & Counseling, Respite Care & Caregiver Tips

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