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DEMENTIA – AN UNINTENTIONAL FORGET OF SELF AND LIFE

  • 2020-08-31

Dementia, a very common term used by most of the people around us. Some know what it exactly is and some just say I for fun just to laugh at some other person’s forgetting habits like we generally hear teenagers say ‘Itna Kyun bhoolta hai yaar, dementia toh nahi ho gaya tujhe?’ and so on. But it is very important for everyone to know what this problem is about, how to help and treat a person with this syndrome, and how to recognize whether he’s suffering from it or not.

Dementia is a syndrome characterized by degradation in memory, thinking patterns, behavior, and ability in performing daily task activities. It is a problem for older people but it has become a normal part of aging. Major dependency on others and disability among people is due to dementia itself. It affects the social, physical, psychological, and economic functioning of the individual. It is usually chronic or progressing in nature.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS:

Dementia affects a person according to its intensity been suffered by a particular individual. As it is progressive in nature, the signs and symptoms progress and differ according to the development of the syndrome.

a)EARLY STAGE:  the onset of the syndrome in this stage is gradual and normally not noticed by anyone :

-being forgetful

-don’t know how much time passed by

-getting lost at known places

b)MIDDLE STAGE: the signs and symptoms start getting prominent and been noticed by others:

-start forgetting about recent events and names of the people

-getting lost at home

-having difficulty to communicate

-personal care is not properly been carried out

-behavior changes occur like repeated questioning and wandering around

c) LATER STAGE: it consists of complete dependency and inactivity of the person. There are severe problems with memory and physical problems become more serious:

-having no knowledge of time and place

-difficult to realize family and friends

-more self-care is to be given

-behavior changes become extreme and may include aggression.

CAUSES OF DEMENTIA:

  1. Alzheimer’s disease: most common cause of dementia.  In this, the brain cells are surrounded by an abnormal protein and another protein damages its internal structure. The cells begin to die gradually and then memory, language, motor skills, etc. start getting affected.
  2. Vascular dementia: in this, some brain cells become blocked or damaged due to lack of oxygen supply causing vascular dementia. The symptoms can occur without any signs with one big stroke. The symptoms may include difficulty in problem-solving, concentrating, etc.
  3. Mixed dementia: when a person has more than one type of dementia and has a combination of different symptoms.
  4. Lewy body dementia: this form involves the formation of Lewy bodies that is, tiny cells in the brain disrupting the chemistry of the brain and leading to the death of brain cells. This causes hallucinations, alertness problems, difficulty to judge distances, etc.
  5. Frontotemporal dementia: the front and side parts of the brain are damaged. Clumps are formed inside the brain cells leading them to die. The person may have difficulties with speech, motor movements, etc. depending on the parts damaged.

THE RISK FACTORS OF DEMENTIA INCLUDE:

  1. Age: This especially occurs after the age of 65.
  2. Family history: having a family history of dementia may increase the risk of developing it.
  3. Down syndrome: people of middle age with Down Syndrome may develop ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE
  4. Improper diet and lack of exercise
  5. Having continuous consumption of alcohol
  6. Cardiovascular problems
  7. Diabetes
  8. Smoking

PREVALENCE: It is said that in India, more than 4 million people have some or the other form of dementia. And according to the 2018 survey, it is noticed to be 5% - 7% in older adults.

TREATMENT:

  1. Medications for different types of dementia are given to control the symptoms.
  2. Talking therapies such as counseling can provide help in diagnosis and express their feelings.
  3. Cognitive Behavior therapy can be applied to reduce a person’s anxiety and depression.
  4. Cognitive Stimulation therapy is a popular way to help keep a person’s mind in an active state involving doing themed activity sessions over many weeks.
  5. Cognitive Rehabilitation can help an individual to retain skills and cope with the symptoms better like memory loss, cognitive impairment, etc.
  6. Story work will help the person share his life experiences and memories improving mood, wellbeing, and mental abilities.
  7. Other activities include singing, art, etc. to keep them engaged in some form and active physically, mentally, and socially.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Mrs. Nitya Arora ( Content Writer)
           People with dementia suffer a lot at the time when they need peace and support of their families regarding their memories, cognition, movements, etc. When it comes time for them to make their time spent the best memories of their life, they tend to forget everything, when they need love and support from them, they become a burden to their family because of their condition which they didn’t ever want in life. At this stage, their families and friends must give them full support, care, love, warmth, and the best treatment so that they can cope better and live a peaceful and happy life with their beloved ones. 
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