Dementia

Dementia

Back to top

DEMENTIA

Dementia is the umbrella term for a range of progressive neurological disorders affecting brain functioning. Amongst these are Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, Lewy Body disease, Parkinson’s-related dementia, Frontal Lobe dementia, HIV/Aids-related dementia, and others. There are more than 100 types of diseases that may cause dementia (ADI website).

According to the World Health Organisation in its International Classification of Diseases (2003), dementia is: “A syndrome due to disease of the brain, usually of a chronic or progressive nature, in which there is disturbance of multiple higher cortical functions, including memory, thinking, orientation, comprehensions, calculation, learning capacity, language and judgement.

Back to top

ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE

Causes
Alzheimer’s damages and kills brain cells, ultimately shrinking the brain. The exact cause of it is uncertain, but it is believed to stem from a combination of genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors.

There are also two hypotheses, which state that a build-up of protein in the brain called amyloid and Tau affect the supporting and transport system of brain cells, are responsible.

Back to top

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

 

  • Difficulty performing daily tasks
  • Forgetfulness and confusion as a result of attention and concentration
  • Memory loss
  • Repeating statements and questions
  • Misplacement of personal belongings
  • Disorientation
  • Forgetting names of family and friends
  • Agnosia
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Changes in mood, personality and behaviour, for example depression, irritability, emotional outbursts
  • Poor judgement
  • Difficulty writing and speaking

 

Back to top

SKILLS THAT REMAIN VERY LATE

The part of the brain that stores early childhood information, skills and habits tends to be affected later, delaying the degeneration of the below:

• Dancing
• Singing
• Story telling
• Crafting
• Hobbies

Focusing on these abilities can help maintain quality of life.

Back to top

STAGES

  1. Pre-dementia: Early symptoms, associated with memory loss, often mistaken for aging or stress
  2. Early dementia: Definitive diagnosis stage, with memory and learning compromised
  3. Moderate dementia: Progressive deterioration starts to hinder independence
  4. Advanced Dementia: Patient is completely dependent upon caregivers
Back to top

DIAGNOSIS

  • There is currently no specific test available to diagnose AD. Instead, the diagnosis is mainly clinical.
  • A medical history and behavioural observation is performed by a doctor.
  • Specialised scans and imaging may assist in ruling out other conditions.

RISK FACTORS

  • Age
  • Family history of AD
  • Having Down Syndrome
  • More common among females
  • Previous repetitive head trauma
  • An unhealthy lifestyle
Back to top

PREVENTATIVE MEASURES

  • Studies show that long-term participation in activities and events that are mentally and socially stimulating may reduce the risk of AD.
  • A healthy lifestyle, diet and exercise are recommended.
Back to top

TREATMENT

Current treatment manages the symptoms of AD, such as:

  • Cognitive enhances
  • Cognition, behaviour and function
  • In some cases, additional medication may be required for insomnia, depression, agitation or anxiety.
  • Support through family, friends and groups
Back to top

WHAT TO EXPECT

Pneumonia, urinary tract infection and dehydration are the most common dangers. Individuals with AD are also more prone to falling and injuring themselves.

A calm and stable home environment can help reduce behavioural problems. Routine habits and reducing memory-demanding tasks can also make life much easier. Hence, the following are suggested:

  • Always keep your valuables, such as your phone and wallet, in the same place at home
  • Keep a list of your daily tasks and appointments, and tick them off as they have been completed
  • Remove clutter from your space
  • Ask your doctor to keep your treatment regime as simple as possible
  • Schedule regular appointments for the same day, same time and same location
  • Activate the location application on your phone in case you get lost
  • Automate regular monthly payments as far as possible
  • Keep photographs and familiar items visible in your home
  • Wear well-fitting shoes with an adequate grip and install handrails in the bathroom and along staircases
  • Set reminders to intake fluids regularly
 
 

Please Note: This is an educational information leaflet only and should not be used for diagnosis.
For more information on dementia, consult your healthcare professional.

More Information here Download PDF Medical References

Medical References

Chertkow, H., Feldman, H. H., Jacova, C. and Massoud, F. (2013). ‘Definitions of Dementia and Pre-Dementia Stages in Alzheimer’s Disease and Vascular Cognitive Impairment: Consensus from the Canadian Conference on Diagnosis of Dementia’, Alzheimer’s Research & Therapy, 5 (1): S2 2. DeFina, P.A., Scolaro-Moser, R., Glenn, M., Lichtenstein, J.D. and Fellus, J. (2013), ‘Alzheimer’s Disease Clinical Research Update for Health Care Practitioners’, Journal of Aging Research. 3. Galvin, J. E. and Sadowsky, C.H. (2012). ‘Practical Guidelines for the Recognition and Diagnosis of Dementia’, JABFM. 4. Solomon, A. (2014). ‘Advances in the Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia’, J Intern Med, 275(3), pp. 229-250. 5. Korolev, I. O. (2014). ‘Alzheimer’s Disease: A Clinical and Basic Science Review’, Medical Student Research Journal. 6. Jin, J. (2015). ‘Alzheimer Disease’, JAMA Patient Page. 7. Lakhan, S. E. (2018). ‘Alzheimer Disease’. Medscape. 8. Robin Emsley and Soraya Seedat, The South African Society of Psychiatrists (SASOP) Treatment Brought to you by cipla Related Information POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (PTSD) PTSD is a serious and often debilitating medical condition that can occur in anyone who has experienced a traumatic event DEPRESSION MEDICATION SUPPLEMENT Depression is a common medical condition that has a big impact on a large number of areas in peoples’ lives PARKINSON’S DISEASE Parkinson’s Disease is a chronic (long-term), degenerative disorder of the brain. ANXIETY DISORDER There are five major anxiety disorders, and one of the most common is generalised anxiety disorder or GAD.

Head
Chest
Abdomen
Pelvis
Legs
Feet
Mental Health
Skin
General
Infant Health

For more health information

Click on the body area you want to know more about. Select a related health topic from the menu

Select a body area

RECENT BROCHURE

Concentration and Memory

Everyone experiences occasional trouble with memory, whatever life stage we’re at.

RECENT BROCHURE

Joint Health

Healthy joints are vital for staying mobile throughout your life and doing the sports and other activities you enjoy. 

RECENT BROCHURE

Hay Fever

Allergic rhinitis, also widely known as hay fever, affects up to 10-20% of people, globally.

RECENT BROCHURE

COVID-19 - Post vaccine FAQS

Information on post-vaccination care

RECENT BROCHURE

Excessive Sweating

Causes and risks of excessive sweating 

Content Disclaimer:
You understand and acknowledge that all users of the Dis-Chem website or app are responsible for their own medical care, treatment, and oversight. All of the content provided on the website, are for INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The content is not intended to establish a standard of care to be followed by a user of the website. You understand and acknowledge that you should always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health. You also understand and acknowledge that you should never disregard or delay seeking medical advice relating to treatment or standard of care because of information contained in or transmitted through the website. Medical information changes constantly. Therefore the information on this website or on the linked websites should not be considered current, complete or exhaustive, nor should you rely on such information to recommend a course of treatment for you or any other individual. Reliance on any information provided on this website or any linked websites is solely at your own risk.
Back to top