What is dementia?

Dementia is a progressive syndrome that affects in particular one’s abilities to think, remember, reason, speak, etc. It results from others diseases affecting the brain. According to the NHS that about 800,000 people suffer from Dementia in the UK. Despite the facts that many of them are over 65, dementia can also affect younger people. 

There are different types of dementia. The most common are Alzheimer’s disease, Vascular Dementia, Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB) and Pick’s Disease also called Frontotemporal Dementia. Sadly, no cure has been found yet but medications can help deal with the symptoms.

What are the symptoms?

Although Dementia affects everyone differently there are common symptoms to all types:

  • Memory loss, in particular of names and recent events.

  • Feeling confused even in familiar environments.

  • Troubles with finding his/her words or with numbers (speaking, reading & writing).

  • Poor concentration and difficulties planning.

  • Moods & personality changes.

  • Depression or anxiety.

Like specified earlier, the condition being progressive, the symptoms will worsen over time as the person’s brain will become more damaged.

What about the treatment?

Dementia treatment is composed of treatments for symptoms affecting the thinking and the memory (cognitive symptoms) and treatments for non-cognitive symptoms (mood and personality changes).

Depending on the type of dementia diagnosed, drug treatments for cognitive symptoms will differ. Regarding Alzheimer’s, acetylcholinesterase inhibitor are prescribed in order to increase both the level and duration of the neurotransmitter and slow the progress of the syndrome. It may also be the case for Dementia with Lewy Bodies.

For non-cognitive symptoms behavioural therapies can be a solution that may include aromatherapy, therapies that appeal to the senses as well as massage. Medications such as antipsychotic may also be used. 

The doctor in charge of the patient will be the one to opt for one solution or the other, taking into consideration his/her condition and symptoms.

Sources: www.alzheimers.org.uk, www.dementiauk.org, www.nhs.uk, www.webmd.com, www.dementiafriends.org.uk, 
www.ageuk.org.uk, www.nice.org.uk

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