Dementia typically affects those between the ages of 60-85 due to it being a degenerative condition. When nerve cells in the brain are damaged, some of the connective pathways that are responsible for memory and learned behavior are suddenly interrupted. This 2010 study highlighted in the National Institutes of Health, showcases how the prevalence of dementia is expected to double every 20 years, reaching 81 million by the year 2040.
The specialists at the Arizona Institute of Neurology and Polysomnography have years of experience in diagnosing and providing therapy for dementia-related mental illnesses. We understand that it can be a difficult condition to manage and are dedicated to getting you or your family member the help you need.
What is Dementia?
Dementia involves damage to nerve cells in your brain, can occur in several areas of the brain and affects people differently. Rather than a specific disease, dementia describes a group of symptoms that may affect your memory, thinking, and social abilities significantly enough to interfere with your capacity to function.
You may, for instance, suddenly have difficulty participating in activities you once excelled at, such as board games or crossword puzzles. Memory issues are certainly a symptom of dementia, but it’s often more than just forgetting where you put the car keys – it’s forgetting what car keys are. Doctors often group dementias according to the part of the brain that’s affected or whether they’re considered progressive, those which worsen over time, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
What Causes Dementia?
Dementia has many potential causes. Sometimes treating the cause can reverse the condition. This may include dementia resulting from:
- Infections and immune disorders
- Metabolic problems and endocrine abnormalities such as thyroid problems, low blood sugar, too much or too little calcium or sodium, decreased ability to absorb vitamin B12
- Nutritional deficiencies such as lack of vitamin B1, B6, or B12 in your diet
- Adverse reaction to one or a combination of medications
What are the Symptoms of Dementia?
Dementia symptoms vary by individual and can depend on the cause but often include:
- Changes in your ability to acquire or retain knowledge
- Memory loss
- Difficulty communicating or finding words
- Problems planning, organizing, or handling complex tasks
- Decreased coordination
- Confusion and disorientation
Dementia may also cause:
- Personality changes and inappropriate behavior
- Depression and anxiety
- Paranoia, agitation, or hallucinations
Types of Dementias That May Respond to Treatment/Therapy
- Alzheimer’s disease, the most common cause of dementia
- Vascular dementia, caused by damage to the vessels that supply blood to your brain, such as during a stroke
- Lewy body dementia, which may be related to abnormal clumps of protein in the brain, also found in people with Alzheimer’s
- Parkinson’s disease
Want To Learn More About Dementia?
The first step in effectively treating dementia requires an evaluation that helps pinpoint the cause. If you’re worried about dementia affecting you or a loved one, make an appointment today with Dr. Khan. You can trust his medical expertise and dedication to the overall health and well-being of his patients.