a neurological disorder that affects mental functions such as thinking,
reasoning and memory. Depending on its causes, the disease may also
be accompanied by symptoms such as slurred speaking, difficulty
in movement or hallucinations.
The most common
forms of dementia are Alzheimer's
disease, vascular dementia, and Lewy body dementia.
disease is the most common cause of dementia, with almost half of
the over-85 population diagnosed with the condition, which currently
has no cure. Alzheimer's usually begins with minor memory loss as
abnormal plagues form in nerve cells within the brain. As the
disease progresses, it affects a person's ability to reason or communicate
clearly and, eventually, Alzheimer's patients lose all ability to
care for themselves.
:Lewy body dementia mimics symptoms of both Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.
The second leading cause of degenerative dementia in the elderly is Lewy body dementia
-- so called for for scientist Friederich H. Lewy who in the early
20th century discovered abnormal protein deposits that disrupt the
brain's normal functioning.
Today, the disease continues to be
of interest to medical researchers as it shares many characteristics
of two other diseases, i.e., the mental confusion brought about
by Alzheimer's disease, and the physical symptoms of Parkinson's disease suggesting that all three conditions may be closely related.
or heart disease
patients most often suffer from vascular dementia, as arteries that
nourish the brain become narrowed or blocked. Symptoms may occur
immediately following a stroke, or may develop slowly over time
as seen in those who suffer from high blood pressure or diabetes.
Along with mental dysfunction, physical symptoms of vascular dementia
also may include decreased vision and motor skills.
Dementia treatments & risk reduction
brain cells cannot be restored, vascular dementia remains the most easily managed form of the condition, which can be treated with
high blood pressure or cholesterol reducing medications to decrease
risk or recurrence of stroke or heart disease.
who suffer from Lewy body dementia have responded well to medications
used in both Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. While there is
still no known cure for Alzheimer's disease, there are medications
that may slow the disease in some patients and thereby lessen the
onset of dementia.
A proper diagnosis,
say medical experts, is the first step toward managing dementia
since the disease does not necessarily arise from an irreversible
On the Web,
find out more about the causes, progression, signs & symptoms,
available treatments and prognosis for dementia, as well as facts
& information on where to find online forums and support for
dementia patients, their caregivers and loved ones ...
More about dementia around the Web:
Overview - Excellent tutorial on the subject including causes,
typical symptoms, treatments, drug therapies, and links & resources
to caregiver information and support.
about dementia - From the Alzheimer's Society with details
on early and advanced signs including memory problems, communication
difficulties and mood changes, how dementia progresses, with information
for caregivers and related links to more information.