Can Dementia Be Prevented
Although dementia cannot be prevented, living a health-focused life might influence risk factors for certain types of dementia. Keeping blood vessels clear of cholesterol buildup, maintaining normal blood pressure, controlling blood sugar, staying at a healthy weight basically, staying as healthy as one can can keep the brain fueled with the oxygen and nutrients it needs to function at its highest possible level. Specific healthful steps you can take include:
- Follow a Mediterranean diet, which is one filled with whole grains, vegetables, fruits, fish and shellfish, nuts, beans, olive oil and only limited amounts of red meats.
- Exercise. Get at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week.
- Keep your brain engaged. Solve puzzles, play word games, and try other mentally stimulating activities. These activities may delay the start of dementia.
- Stay socially active. Interact with people discuss current events keep your mind, heart, and soul engaged.
Trouble Adapting To The Environment
A sudden change in surroundings could really make a person hard to adapt.
This is an impact of dementia wherein a person does not enjoy changes as much as what he or she was used to.
Small changes could incite negative emotions in the person who is suffering from dementia, and changes from the environment can also result in confusion and feelings of being frightened frequently.
A constant change in ones environment can also result in anxiety attacks.
A person who is having a hard time concentrating, thinking, and expressing ones emotions might not accept or totally reject adaptation to the environment.
Loss Of Neuronal Connections And Cell Death
In Alzheimers disease, as neurons are injured and die throughout the brain, connections between networks of neurons may break down, and many brain regions begin to shrink. By the final stages of Alzheimers, this processcalled brain atrophyis widespread, causing significant loss of brain volume.
Learn more about Alzheimer’s disease from MedlinePlus.
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What Impact Does Dementia Have On Adls
Alzheimer’s disease and other kinds of dementia often make performing ADLs difficult. Tasks may be done halfway, poorly or not at all. For example, while some people with dementia appear as if there’s nothing wrong with them, others look disheveled and may wear dirty, mismatching clothes.
A person’s ability to perform ADLs is often evaluated when assessing their cognitive functioning. Since dementia is typically a progressive condition, the ability to perform ADLs declines over time.
How Does Alzheimers Affect The Brain
A healthy brain contains billions of neurons, which are specialized cells that process and transmit information between different parts of the brain to the muscles and organs of the body via electrical and chemical signals . Alzheimers disease disrupts this communication. This ultimately results in loss of function and cell death.
The brain typically shrinks to some degree as a person ages, but it doesnt actually lose neurons in large numbers. In Alzheimers disease the damage is larger. Neurons stop functioning and lose connection with other neurons affecting communication.
It first starts with destroying neurons that are involved in memory and eventually affects areas in the brain responsible for language, reasoning and social behavior. Overtime, a person may lose his or her ability to live and function independently.
People with Alzheimers may also experience vascular problems that may lead to reduced blood flow and oxygen to the brain. This results in inflammation which adds further vascular problems.
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How Is Dementia Treated
Treatment of dementia depends on the underlying cause. Neurodegenerative dementias, like Alzheimers disease, have no cure, though there are medications that can help protect the brain or manage symptoms such as anxiety or behavior changes. Research to develop more treatment options is ongoing.
Leading a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, healthy eating, and maintaining social contacts, decreases chances of developing chronic diseases and may reduce number of people with dementia.
Managing Memory Changes In Dementia
- avoiding stressful situations providing emotional support, reducing background noise and distractions, and exercise can all help to reduce stress and improve memory
- maintaining a regular routine keeping to a routine can help with a sense of security and reduce confusion
- trying memory aids using memory aids like lists, diaries and clear written instructions, can help if the person with dementia is happy to use them.
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Health Environmental And Lifestyle Factors
Research has shown that many factors other than genetics may also have a role to play in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. While scientists are still researching, there seems to be a connection between cognitive decline and vascular conditions, such as stroke, heart disease, and hypertension. It is thought that controlling risk factors for these serious diseases may actually help reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s, but there is no concrete research to confirm it yet. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle as you age may also help lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
What Are The Main Types Of Dementia
Alzheimers disease is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for around 2 out of every 3 of cases in older people. Vascular dementia is another common form, while dementia with Lewy bodies and frontotemporal dementia are less common.
It is possible to have more than one type of dementia at the same time. Alzheimers is sometimes seen with vascular dementia or dementia with Lewy bodies. You might hear this called mixed dementia.
The symptoms of dementia vary depending on the disease, or diseases, causing it. You can read more about the symptoms associated with different types of dementia on the Alzheimers Society website .
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How Do The Body Clock And Sleep Pressure Work Together
Its much easier for a person to get to sleep when they have built up lots of sleep pressure during the day, and their body clock senses that its evening. This turns on both sleep systems at the same time, and should make the person feel sleepy at the right time.
If the person doesnt feel sleepy at night, their body clock may not be working well. They may also not have been awake for long enough to make the body need to sleep .
How Does Dementia Affect Everyday Life
At Alzheimers Research UK, we have the opportunity to talk to, work with and befriend many inspirational and passionate people. All too often, these people have personal experience of dementia in fact 1 in 2 people know someone affected by dementia. They may not have a diagnosis themselves, but often they are carers, loved ones, or people who offer unwavering support to friends.
Its clear from speaking to our passionate supporters, that they want to see a life-changing new treatment for dementia. Current treatments can help with symptoms for a time, but today there are no medicines to slow down, prevent or treat the underlying diseases that cause dementia.
There are many ways an emerging new treatment could be judged as a success. Arguably the most important way is by improving the day-to-day aspects of life that dementia makes so hard.
Coping With Cognitive Changes
Some medications used to treat Alzheimer’s disease also may be used to treat the cognitive symptoms of LBD. These drugs, called cholinesterase inhibitors, act on a chemical in the brain that is important for memory and thinking. They may also improve hallucinations, apathy, and delusions. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved one Alzheimer’s drug, rivastigmine, to treat cognitive symptoms in Parkinson’s disease dementia. Several other drugs are being tested as possible treatments for LBD symptoms or to disrupt the underlying disease process.
What To Do If A Loved One Is Suspicious Of Having Dementia
- Discuss with loved one. Talk about seeing a medical provider about the observed changes soon. Talk about the issue of driving and always carrying an ID.
- Medical assessment. Be with a provider that you are comfortable with. Ask about the Medicare Annual Wellness exam.
- Family Meeting. Start planning, and gather documents like the Health Care Directive, Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, Estate Plan.
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Microbiota Modification To Reduce Dementia Risk
There is no cure for dementia, but there is a growing body of evidence that certain foods and nutrients may promote cognitive health.
The Alzheimers Society recommends a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, and cereals, and low in red meat and sugar could help reduce dementia risks.
They write that he best way to reduce your risk of dementia is to adapt various aspects of your lifestyle, including eating certain foods, taking regular exercise, not smoking, and maintaining normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Research suggests that certain lifestyle choices can help reduce dementia risk. A good gut balance is achieved by eating a diet rich in fibrous, green, and leafy foods, getting adequate sleep, and consistent exercise, Dr. Porter added.
with reduced cognitive decline and risk of Alzheimers disease.
Also, eating monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids and fish has links to reduced cognitive decline.
Dr. Saji echoed these findings, commenting that ome diet pattern such as DASH, MIND, and a Japanese style diet could influence the microbiome.
He also went on to claim that a Japanese style diet has causal relationship dementia risk.
How Does Alzheimers Affect The Nervous System
The nervous system is the center of all mental activity including thought, learning and memory. It works with the endocrine system to regulate and maintain homeostasis in the body.
Alzheimers disease leads to issues in the nervous system including cognitive function such as problems with memory, thinking or behavior as well as confusion and judgement. People with Alzheimers may have trouble doing familiar tasks and often misplace things.
Alzheimers disease mostly affects the brain and nervous system progressively getting worse over time.
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Symptoms Specific To Vascular Dementia
Vascular dementia is the second most common cause of dementia, after Alzheimer’s. Some people have both vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, often called “mixed dementia”.
Symptoms of vascular dementia are similar to Alzheimer’s disease, although memory loss may not be as obvious in the early stages.
Symptoms can sometimes develop suddenly and quickly get worse, but they can also develop gradually over many months or years.
Specific symptoms can include:
- stroke-like symptoms: including muscle weakness or temporary paralysis on one side of the body
- movement problems difficulty walking or a change in the way a person walks
- thinking problems having difficulty with attention, planning and reasoning
- mood changes depression and a tendency to become more emotional
Read more about vascular dementia.
It Affects Your Central Nervous System
Alzheimer’s disease is actually a brain disorder and directly affects your central nervous system including the brain and spinal cord. Although the cause of Alzheimer’s disease remains poorly understood, experts are of the view that amyloid plaques, composed mainly of dead brain cells and specific proteins, progressively accumulate in the brain tissue. Besides, a naturally occurring brain protein called tau also abnormally accumulates in the brain tissue, causing brain cells to malfunction and finally die. When you lose functioning brain tissue, you notice a decline in your memory and learning skills. In the later stages, the disease directly affects your personality, intellectual function, and mood. You will lose your sense of self during the advanced stages and require others for daily care. Patients with advanced Alzheimer’s disease do not recognize loved ones and lose their ability to interact with their environment.
Treating Movement Symptoms In Lewy Body Dementia
LBD-related movement symptoms may be treated with medications used for Parkinson’s disease, called carbidopa-levodopa. These drugs can help make it easier to walk, get out of bed, and move around. However, they cannot stop or reverse the disease itself. Side effects of this medication can include hallucinations and other psychiatric or behavioral problems. Because of this risk, physicians may recommend not treating mild movement symptoms with medication. Other Parkinson’s medications are less commonly used in people with LBD due to a higher frequency of side effects.
People with LBD may benefit from physical therapy and exercise. Talk with your doctor about what physical activities are best.
What Are The Signs That Someone With Dementia Is Dying
It is difficult to know when a person with dementia is coming to the end of their life. However, there are some symptoms that may indicate the person is at the end of their life including:
- limited speech
- needing help with everyday activities
- eating less and swallowing difficulties
- incontinence and becoming bed bound.
When these are combined with frailty, recurrent infections and/or pressure ulcers, the person is likely to be nearing the end of their life. If the person has another life limiting condition , their condition is likely to worsen in a more predictable way.
When a person gets to within a few days or hours of dying, further changes are common. These include:
- deteriorating more quickly
- irregular breathing
- cold hands and feet.
These are part of the dying process, and its important to be aware of them so that you can help family and friends understand what is happening.
When a person with dementia is at the end of life its important to support the person to be as comfortable as possible until they die
For more information, see our page, Signs that someone is in their last days or hours.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Dementia
Early symptoms of dementia include :
- Forgetting recent events or information
- Repeating comments or questions over a very short period of time
- Misplacing commonly used items or placing them in usual spots
- Not knowing the date or time
- Having difficulty coming up with the right words
- Experiencing a change in mood, behavior or interests
Signs that dementia is getting worse include:
- Ability to remember and make decisions further declines
- Talking and finding the right words becomes more difficult
- Daily complex tasks, such as brushing teeth, making a cup of coffee, working a tv remote, cooking, and paying bills become more challenging
- Rational thinking and behavior and ability to problem solve lessen
- Sleeping pattern change
- Anxiety, frustration, confusion, agitation, suspiciousness, sadness and/or depression increase
- More help with activities of daily living grooming, toileting, bathing, eating is needed
- Hallucinations may develop
The symptoms mentioned above are general symptoms of dementia. Each person diagnosed with dementia has different symptoms, depending on what area of the brain is damaged. Additional symptoms and/or unique symptoms occur with specific types of dementia.
Building A Lewy Body Dementia Care Team
After receiving a diagnosis, a person with LBD may benefit from seeing a neurologist who specializes in dementia and/or movement disorders. Your primary doctor can work with other professionals to follow your treatment plan. Depending on an individual’s particular symptoms, physical, speech, and occupational therapists, as well as mental health and palliative care specialists, can be helpful.
Support groups are another valuable resource for people with LBD and their caregivers. Sharing experiences and tips with others in the same situation can help people find practical solutions to day-to-day challenges and get emotional and social support.
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How Dementia Affects Everyday Life
Dementia is caused by diseases that damage the brain and affect our memory and ability to think. Alzheimers disease is the most common type of dementia, other types include vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies and frontotemporal dementia.
Every persons experience of dementia is different and unique, but many people find everyday activities like going to the shops, remembering appointments, and managing bills and letters difficult. These are often called activities of daily living. Over time, as dementia gets worse, a person will need more support to carry out other activities of daily living such as eating, getting dressed and washing.
Managing Depression In Dementia
- Try to keep a daily routine for the person with dementia.
- Incorporate daily exercise, because this has been proven to have a positive impact on symptoms of depression.
- Limit the amount of noise and activity in the environment if this causes a problem. This will help avoid overstimulation.
- Large group situations can make some people feel worse, while others may benefit from the stimulation of a busy, active gathering. It is important to know what the person has enjoyed in the past, because it is likely that similar activities will still appeal.
- Have a realistic expectation of what the person can do. Expecting too much can make both the person with dementia and the carer feel frustrated and upset.
- Be aware of when the person is usually least tired and do any important tasks at that time.
- Be positive. Frequent praise will help both the person with dementia and the carer feel better.
- Include the person in conversation to the extent that they feel comfortable.
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Treatment Of Behavior And Mood Problems In Lewy Body Dementia
Behavioral and mood problems in people with LBD can arise from hallucinations, delusions, pain, illness, stress, or anxiety. They may also be the result of frustration, fear, or feeling overwhelmed. The person may resist care or lash out verbally or physically.
Medications are appropriate if the behavior interferes with the person’s care or the safety of the person or others. If medication is used, then the lowest possible dose for the shortest period of time is recommended.
The first step is to visit a doctor to see if a medical condition unrelated to LBD is causing the problem. Injuries, fever, urinary tract or pulmonary infections, pressure ulcers , and constipation can worsen behavioral problems and increase confusion.
Certain medications, such as anticholinergics and antihistamines may also cause behavioral problems. For example, some medications for sleep problems, pain, bladder control, and LBD-related movement symptoms can cause confusion, agitation, hallucinations, and delusions. Similarly, some anti-anxiety medicines can actually increase anxiety in people with LBD. Review your medications with your doctor to determine if any changes are needed.