is not a specific disease but is a broad category for a wide range of symptoms. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of a
progressive dementia in older adults, but there are a
number of causes of dementia
(Dementia. Symptoms and causes. Mayo Clinic. (2017). Depending on the cause, some dementia symptoms can be life threatening (Dementia.
Symptoms and causes. Mayo Clinic. (2017). Understanding how the brain is
affected can be helpful for caretakers who are with those who have dementia. In
addition, knowing the signs beforehand can give a head start to those who may
have a higher chance of having it because of heredity. There are many symptoms
of dementia and diseases associated; knowing what to look for will be essential
in how the disease is treated. Dementia can change how we see the world around
us by damaging portions of the brain.
is a general term for loss of memory and other mental abilities severe enough
to interfere with daily life, caused by physical changes in the brain (Dementia Types. Signs, Symptoms, &
Diagnosis). Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of case Dementia Types. Signs, Symptoms, &
Diagnosis). Vascular dementia, which occurs after a stroke, is the second most
common dementia type Dementia Types. Signs, Symptoms, & Diagnosis).
Dementia is often incorrectly referred to as senility or senile dementia which
reflect the formerly widespread but incorrect belief that a serious mental
decline is a normal part of aging. (Dementia Types. Signs, Symptoms, &
Diagnosis). While symptoms of dementia can vary greatly, at least two of the
following core mental functions must be significantly impaired to be considered
dementia. Memory loss, Communication and language, ability to focus and pay
attention, Reasoning and judgment, visual perception Dementia Types. Signs,
Symptoms, & Diagnosis). People with dementia may have problems with
short-term memory, keeping track of things such their purse or wallet, paying
bills and even preparing meals. Many dementias are progressive, they start
slowly and the gradually get worse.
exact symptoms experienced by a person with dementia depend on the areas of the
brain that are damaged by the disease causing the dementia. With many types of
dementia, some of the nerve cells in the brain stop functioning, lose
connections with other cells and die (Your Brain Matters, 2015). The common
types of dementia are Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, Lewy body
disease, and Frontotemporal dementia (Your Brain Matters, 2015). Mixed
dementia, where more than one disease affects the brain, is also very common.
Understanding the symptoms of dementia can assist the patients as well as
family on how to proceed with diagnosis and treatment. This semester the text
showed how the brain functions. The brain gathers information and processes it.
Humans acquire knowledge through experience and then perceive what is seen.
When such diseases impair those functions, we lose who we are perceptually.
Frontotemporal dementia is a disease that
presents as mental illness in most ways and most times not diagnosed until
after the patient has died. These patients look like they have a late-onset of
major depression, psychosis, bipolar disorder, or OCD (Schidkrout, B 2017).
These symptoms make it important for the psychiatrist to be familiar with this disease
in order to check all boxes for diagnosis. Diagnostic approaches to FTD for a
psychiatrist would be differential diagnosis, knowing the History of the
present illness. Family history, work up, follow up, and consultation from a
neurologist to confirm and treat (Schidkrout, B 2017). FTD involves damage to
the frontal and/or temporal Lobes of the brain (Your Brain Matters, 2015).
Because the frontal lobes control judgement and social behavior, people with
the frontal or behavioral variant of FTD often have problems with maintain
socially appropriate behavior (Your Brain Matters, 2015). This may also lead to
speech issues such as forgetting the name of objects, word retrieval, fluency,
comprehension, and difficulty reading (Your Brain Matters, 2015).
Vascular Dementia is a cognitive impairment
caused by damage to the blood vessels in the brain. It can be cause by vascular
disease, a single stroke, or by several mini-strokes occurring over time (Your
Brain Matters, 2015). The symptoms of vascular dementia vary depending on the
location and size of the brain damage. It may effect on or a few specific
cognitive functions. When vascular occurs deep in the brain, symptoms can
include diminished motivation and initiative, and loss of insight and apathy
(Your Brain Matters, 2015). If there is damage to the cortex (the outer layer
of the brain), symptoms can include changes in sensory and motor function,
Language impairment, and memory loss. Patients with cardiovascular risk has
cell level of CD34+ increased with age (Taguchi, A (2011). These results lead
the author to hypothesize that exhaustion of bone marrow cells in patients
might be associated with microvascular dysfunction and vascular dementia
(Taguchi, A (2011). With these findings, the rejuvenation of bone marrow from
aged animals with cells from young animal enhances the response of
microcirculation and reduces brain damage after induction of stroke followed by
improved neurological functions (Taguchi, A (2011).
Lewy body disease, characterized by the presence of
abnormal clumps of the protein alpha-synuclein, called Lewy bodies, which
develop inside nerve cells (Your
Brain Matters, 2015). Symptoms
include attention problems, reduced spatial skills, memory impairment, and balance
and walking difficulties. Lewy bodies, affect chemicals in the brain whose
changes, in turn lead to the problems listed above (What Is Lewy Body Dementia, 2017). Diagnosing
LBD can be challenging
for a number of reasons. Early LBD symptoms are often confused with similar
symptoms found in other brain diseases like Alzheimer’s. In addition, LBD can
occur alone or along with Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s
disease (What Is Lewy Body Dementia, 2017.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia,
and accounts for around two-thirds of dementia cases. It causes a gradual
decline in cognitive abilities, usually beginning with memory loss (Your Brain Matters, 2015). Alzheimer’s disease is
probably the hardest dementia to deal with because there are a number of
symptoms that a patient can experience. Symptoms such as Lapses in judgement,
personality changes, getting lost, delusion, are a few that can occur with
Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s
disease, characterized by two abnormalities in the brain – amyloid plaques and
neurofibrillary tangles. Amyloid plaques are abnormal clumps of a protein
called beta-amyloid. Neurofibrillary tangles are bundles of twisted
filaments made up of a protein called tau. Plaques and tangles stop
communication between nerve cells and cause them to die (Your Brain Matters, 2015).
In conclusion, all aspects of dementia is hard on
the patients and their caregivers. Sensation and perception are key to our
overall well-being. How we function through everyday life is determined by our
brain functioning properly. When we have issues such as dementia, it can lead
to a number of perception problems and change the way we see the world around
us in various ways. Dementia can take portions of the brain, change how we move,
think, and perceive everyday life.