Dementia – causes, side effects and treatments at NaturalPedia.com

Wednesday, February 28, 2018 by

Dementia is the catch-all term that refers to the different symptoms of cognitive decline, like forgetfulness. A symptom of several underlying diseases and brain disorders, dementia is not a single disease in itself.

Dementia is simply a general term used to describe symptoms linked to impairment in memory, communication, and thinking. Even though the risk of developing dementia increases as an individual grows older, it is not a normal part of aging.

Based on the results of the latest census, at least 4.7 million people in the U.S. aged 65 years or older had Alzheimer’s disease in 2010. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, a little over a tenth of individuals who are 67 years or older are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Meanwhile, at least a third of people 85 years and older have the disease. Alzheimer’s accounts for 60 to 80 percent of all recorded cases of dementia.

 

Known side effects of dementia

An individual may experience the symptoms of dementia that are listed below, most of which are caused by memory loss:

  • Difficulty completing familiar tasks (e.g. being unable to cook a simple meal)
  • Disorientation (e.g. getting lost in familiar locations)
  • Loss of initiative (e.g.  losing interest in starting tasks or going somewhere)
  • Misplacing things (e.g. forgetting the location of common items such as keys or wallets)
  • Mood changes  (e.g. sudden and unexplained changes in temperament)
  • Personality changes  (e.g. irritability, a patient may also become overly suspicious or fearful)
  • Problems communicating (e.g. difficulty with language, like forgetting simple words or using the wrong ones during normal conversation)
  • Problems with abstract thinking (e.g. counting money)
  • Recent memory loss (e.g. asking the same question repeatedly)

When an individual ages, late-stage symptoms of dementia may worsen.

While there are other risk factors linked to dementia, age is a major determinant. Other risk factors may include:

  • Atherosclerosis (cardiovascular disease that causes the arteries to narrow)
  • Diabetes
  • Higher than normal blood levels of homocysteine, a type of amino acid
  • High levels of “bad” cholesterol/low-density lipoprotein
  • Mild cognitive impairment may sometimes cause dementia
  • Smoking and alcohol use

Body systems harmed by dementia

Many factors can cause dementia, and its symptoms can take many forms. Some complications could be due to a certain underlying illness that causes dementia. Other complications may also be due to dementia itself.

Here are some of the possible complications caused by dementia:

  • The inability to function or care for oneself, even though this wasn’t an issue before the onset of the symptoms.
  • The inability to interact with others, even though this wasn’t a problem before being diagnosed with dementia.
  • Increased infections in the body.
  • A reduced lifespan.

Food items or nutrients that may prevent dementia

There is no known cure for dementia. However, the foods and nutrients listed below can help you manage its symptoms:

  • Almonds — Nut are concentrated sources of minerals and antioxidants like folate, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin B6.
  • Bananas — Bananas are full of potassium. The fruit can also boost oxygenated blood flow to the brain, which can improve cognition, memory, and concentration.
  • Cinnamon extract — Cinnamon extract can help reduce plaque levels in the brain, which can boost memory and cognition. Plaque buildup in the brain is a major cause of dementia.
  • Coconut oil — Coconut oil can help improve the nerves and communication with the brain. It can also help boost normal cognition for people showing early signs of dementia.
  • Kale — A popular cruciferous vegetable, kale is full of both folate and carotenoids, which can lower homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is connected with cognitive impairment, so patients with dementia can benefit from this vegetable.

Treatments, management plans for dementia

Since brain cell death is impossible to reverse, there is no cure for degenerative dementia. However, management of disorders like Alzheimer’s disease instead aims to provide care and treat the symptoms rather than any underlying cause.

With treatment, dementia symptoms brought about by a reversible, non-degenerative cause can help prevent or halt further brain tissue damage. Causes may include injury, medication side effects, and vitamin deficiencies.

The symptoms of Alzheimer’s can be reduced by some medications. These include four drugs, called cholinesterase inhibitors, and they are approved for use in the U.S.:

  • Donepezil -Brand name Aricept
  • Galantamine – Reminyl
  • Rivastigmine – Exelon
  • Tacrine – Cognex

Memantine (Namenda), an NMDA receptor antagonist, is a different kind of drug. It can also be used alone or in combination with a cholinesterase inhibitor. Cholinesterase inhibitors may help control the behavioral elements of Parkinson’s disease.

Where to learn more

Summary

Dementia is the catch-all term that refers to the different symptoms of cognitive decline, like forgetfulness. A symptom of several underlying diseases and brain disorders, dementia is not a single disease in itself.

An individual may experience symptoms of dementia such as difficulty completing familiar tasks, disorientation, or loss of initiative.

Many factors can cause dementia, and the symptoms can take many forms. Some complications could be due to a certain underlying illness that causes dementia. Other complications may also be due to dementia itself.

There is no known cure for dementia. However, foods like almonds, bananas, cinnamon extract, coconut oil, and kale can help you manage its symptoms.

The symptoms of Alzheimer’s can be reduced by some medications like these four drugs or cholinesterase inhibitors, which are approved for use in the U.S. They are Donepezil (brand name Aricept), Galantamine (Reminyl), Rivastigmine (Exelon), and Tacrine (Cognex).

Sources include

MedicalNewsToday.com

Healthline.com

OrganicFacts.net



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