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Dementia Affects More and More People as They Age

Alzheimer's is the most prevalent form of dementia, affecting 6.2 million Americans, especially those aged 65 and older. Dementia is a phenomenon characterized by cognitive decline beyond what may be expected as a natural consequence of aging and is caused by a variety of disorders that, over time, damage nerve tissues and harm the brain. Consciousness remains unaffected, but mood, emotional regulation, behavior, and motivation may all undergo shifts alongside or before memory loss.

The condition worsens over time. Even though it's more common in older people, not everyone will develop it as they age. This article covers causes, symptoms, and treatment options for dementia.

Signs of Dementia

Mood and behavior shifts can start before memory issues become noticeable. As time passes, the symptoms worsen. Most patients with dementia will require constant assistance from caregivers. The following are some early signs and symptoms of dementia:

  • Loss of memory for recent or important events
  • Squandering or misplacing stuff
  • Wandering or crashing your car
  • Getting lost even in familiar environments and unable to accurately gauge physical distances
  • Unable to keep track of time and problems performing usual tasks
  • Difficulties in deciding what to do or how to proceed
  • Having trouble keeping up with conversations or stumbling over phrases

Mood and behavior changes that are quite common include:

  • Feeling fear, despair, or anger because of cognitive decline
  • Alterations in behavior and character
  • Isolation from one's peers and the outside world
  • Caring less about the feelings of others

It is not possible to generalize about the effects of dementia because they vary from person to person based on factors such as preexisting health conditions, lifestyle choices, and cognitive abilities. Dementia often worsens with time, though some symptoms may go away or show only in the latter stages.

As the condition worsens, patients will require more assistance with daily activities. Dementia can cause a person to lose their memory, become unable to recognize familiar faces and become physically disabled. Also, some may lose control of their bowels and bladder, have difficulty with basic bodily functions like eating and drinking, and exhibit aggressive or disturbing behavior.

Managing Dementia

Although there is currently no treatment for dementia, its symptoms can be treated. Some medications are effective because they boost reasoning. Although these drugs are most often recommended for Alzheimer's disease, they may also be used to treat vascular dementia, Parkinson's, and Lewy body dementia.

Some patients experience unpleasant effects such as vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea. Potential negative effects include a sluggish heart rate, dizziness, and trouble sleeping. Another medication controls cognitive processes like learning and memory by modulating glutamate.

Many dementia symptoms and behavioral difficulties may be previously diagnosed with non-drug techniques, including:

  • Occupation-Based Therapy - A physiotherapist can guide home implementation of safety measures and instruct on effective coping mechanisms. The goal is to lessen the likelihood of incidents like falls, manage your behavior, and prepare you for the onset of dementia.
  • Adjusting the Natural Setting - People with dementia may find concentrating and completing tasks simpler in a less chaotic and noisy environment. Potentially dangerous items, like knives and automobile keys, may require safekeeping. Installing monitoring systems can give you alerts in case the dementia patient is wandering around.
  • Streamlining Tasks - Make jobs more manageable by breaking them down into smaller ones. Dementia patients benefit from structure and regularity because they aid in reducing confusion.

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