01st October 2020
Categorised in Good To Know
Have you misplaced your keys? Maybe you’ve completely forgotten about your dentist appointment? Everyone forgets things now and again, but it is when this forgetfulness becomes frequent that you may be facing symptoms of a disease. Dementia effects people in different ways but the main symptoms often include the following:
- Memory loss
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty finding the right word
- Confusion about a time or place
- Forgetting names, people or items
Dementia is not a normal part of the aging process. Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a variety of conditions that all cause the brain to deteriorate at a quicker rate than a healthy aging brain would. It is a progressive disease that in turn effects an individual’s personality, communication and mental abilities. There is no way to indicate or predict who is likely to develop dementia, but certain categories of people are predisposed to developing dementia, which includes those who have multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease, Parkinson’s or Huntingdon’s.
There are multiple different types of dementia, some dementias are quite common, others are extremely rare.
Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia and develops when plaques and tangles build up in the brain. The presence of these structures have toxic effects on brain cells and as Alzheimer’s progresses, the toxicity and subsequent damage becomes worse. This results in an irreversible loss of brain cells which in turn is what causes a decline in an individuals mental and physical abilities.
Those who have Alzheimer’s may be frequently confused which can make them increasingly angry, upset or frustrated. Support for these individuals is vital as the symptoms directly impact their ability to communicate, this support also helps to reduce withdrawal and depression.
This form of dementia is caused by an interrupted blood supply to the brain – a stroke is the most common cause of this interruption. Symptoms appear suddenly after a stroke or after slowly after a series of mini strokes. Just because someone has a stroke, does not mean they will develop this form of dementia, but it does make them more likely too. Memory loss isn’t always the most obvious or initial symptom of vascular dementia, initial symptoms tend to affect concentration and they can even manifest into seizures for some.
Lewy Body dementia
Lewy body dementia isn’t understood as well as other dementias. We know that Lewy bodies are collections of protein that build up within the brain, but we do not know what causes them or the build-up. We also know that their build up is linked to low levels of chemicals that help to regulate cell communication within the brain.
Again, memory loss isn’t always prevalent with this form of dementia as many symptoms effect concentration and spatial awareness. Parkinson’s Disease is also closely related to this form of dementia as the symptoms tend to effect motor control and functionality.
This is a rare form of dementia that is sometimes referred to as Pick’s Disease. Two particular areas of the brain are damaged and subsequently shrunk in this form of dementia. Nerves in the areas that control behaviour, emotions and language die and the pathways where cells communicate change and brain cells shrink.
People under the age of 65 are mostly commonly diagnosed with this form of dementia and they experience personality changes. This change in the individuals often manifests as aggression, lack of empathy and tact and often impacts their ability to hold conversations.
Memory loss is what we think of when we discuss dementia and its symptoms. But this isn’t always how dementia presents itself – personality changes, lack of motor control, confusion and communication issues are all ways in which dementia is creeping in. By being aware of the symptoms and signs of dementia, you can help you to be better equipped to identify a pattern of behaviour – this is crucial information for a GP.
This article has been sourced in partnership with Dementia Together. Do you have memory worries, maybe you are living with dementia, caring for someone who has dementia, or you’re a health professional? No matter who you are, Dementia Together is here to help you.
If you have questions about living well with dementia or you want vital information and support for yourself, a family member or a friend call 08081 688 000 to speak to an advert advisor at Dementia Together.