1. The word dementia describes a set of symptoms that may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language. Dementia is caused when the brain is damaged by diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease or a series of strokes. The term ‘dementia’ is often misunderstood and some people use the terms ‘senile’, ‘dementia’ and ‘Alzheimer’s’ interchangeably, thinking that they are one and the same thing. 2. Key functions of the brain that are affected by dementia. The brain, along with the spinal cord, makes up the central nervous system, and it is this that controls all of our body’s functions.
The brain is made up of cells an within the brain there are billions of nerve cells that are known as neurons. These neurons communicate with each other and with other parts of the body by sending messages (impulses) via a system of nerve pathways. Chemical and electrical signals are necessary in controlling bodily functions ie language, decision-making, memory, personality, behavior, sensing and interpreting our environment, and controlling muscle movements.
If the neurons and synapses of the brain become damaged by dementia they may have difficulty or be unable to carry the messages that tell the sections of the brain what to do.
Depending on the area of the brain affected, this can result in changes to the way the individual thinks, or may result in physical impairments, personality and behavioral changes or the inability to perform certain functions. 3. If a person shows signs of cognitive impairment, it should not automatically be assumed that they have dementia. There are other conditions that have similar symptoms to those of dementia. Depressions is a common condition which can be triggered by lifes events and can be caused by chemical imbalances in the brain.
A person who is suffereing from depression can show similarsymptoms to a person who has dementia. Depession can effect concentration, motivation and ability to manage everyday tasks. Delirium can also be mistaken as dementia, Delirium can deveopl quickly and is isually reversable. People have hallucinations, delusions, probles thinking or serve confusion. Some of the causes include dehydration, pain, low blood sugar level or a chest/urinary infection. 4. Medical model relates to clinical approach ie. how the changes occur within the brain, managing the condition with medication, etc
Dementia as a clinical syndrome is characterized by global cognitive impairment, which represents a decline from previous level of functioning, and is associated with impairment in functional abilities and, in many cases, behavioral and psychiatric disturbances. 5. Social model is more about the person, how it affects individuals. The social model of care seeks to understand the emotions and behaviors of the person with dementia by placing him or her within the context of his or her social circumstances and biography.
By learning about each person with dementia as an individual, with his or her own history and background, care and support can be designed to be more appropriate to individual needs. 6. People who have dementia should be view as a disability because they are not aware of requirements for living. They can forget to do the essential things that are vital. Taking medicines, hygiene and even eating are often forgotten. They can get lost or hurt and not understand what is necessary to correct a situation.
Turning on the stove or water and forgetting to turn it off, locking doors, crossing streets etc, this can be dangerous even deadly. In the same way you would not think as an infant incapable of self care a person with dementia can not be either. Considering the facts that they cannot act in the manner of a responsible adult makes them disabled. 7. Dementia is not a single disease in itself, but a general term to describe symptoms such as impairments to memory, communication and thinking. Vascular dementia Injury HIV infection Reversible factors Memory loss
A person with dementia may show any of the following problems, mostly due to memory loss – some of which they may notice (or become frustrated with) themselves, while others may only be picked up by carers or healthcare workers as a cause for concern. 8. Mixed dementia refers to a diagnosis of two or three types occurring together. A person may show both Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia at the same time. Or the combination could be Lewy bodies and Alzheimer’s. There can also be a combination of all three types. Recent memory loss – a sign of this might be asking the same question repeatedly, forgetting about already asking it.
Difficulty completing familiar tasks – for example, making a drink or cooking a meal, but forgetting and leaving it. Problems communicating – difficulty with language by forgetting simple words or using the wrong ones. Disorientation – with time and place, getting lost on or in a familiar street/place close to home. Poor judgment – example – A well person might get distracted and forget to watch a child for a little while. People with dementia, however, might forget all about the child and just leave the house for the day. Problems with abstract thinking – for example, dealing with money.
Misplacing things – including putting them in the wrong places and forgetting about doing this. Mood changes – unlike those we all have, swinging quickly through a set of moods. Personality changes – becoming irritable, suspicious or fearful, for example. Loss of initiative – showing less interest in starting something or going somewhere. 9. Some of the risk factors associated with dementia can be managed through lifestyle changes or appropriate medical treatments. Dementia can be due to age that means as we get older, we are more likely to develop dementia.
Risk factors for cardiovascular disease (like heart disease and stroke) are also risk factors for all dementia. Some studies suggest that enjoying an active life, with lots of interests and hobbies might be beneficial. Other researchers have found that spending more time in education is associated with a lower risk. The genes we inherit from our parents only have a small effect on our risk of dementia. In very rare cases, a faulty gene can be passed down in a family that causes the disease in anyone who inherits it. Some forms of Alzheimer’s and dementia can be caused by faulty genes.
10. Alzheimer’s is the most prevalent. 5. 4 million possibly more have Alzheimer’s. 5. 2 million are over the age of 65 years old. 200,000 people under the age of 65 have Alzheimer’s and are considered to have early onset Alzheimer’s. Vascular Dementia is the second most prevalent. After that things convoluted a bit but Dementia with lewy bodies is probably third. 11. People with dementia may not necessarily always be forgetful, for example an individual with Front-temporal dementia may be less forgetful than a person suffering from Alzheimer disease.
There memory may remain intact but their personality and behavior could be noticeably changed. Dementia with Lewy bodies is caused by neurodegeneration linked to abnormal structures in the brain. Here, the brain changes involve a protein called alpha-synuclei this interrupts the normal functioning and affect the persons memory. 12. Dementia can have a big impact on a person’s behaviour. People with dementia face widespread discrimination for a number of reasons. There remains significant misunderstanding about and stigma attached to dementia that manifests itself in widespread discriminatory attitudes.
Because most people with dementia are over the age of 65, they can also face issues of age discrimination. People with dementia are also more at risk of discrimination and infringements of their human rights because they may not have the capacity to challenge abuses of their human rights or to report what has occurred. This means that many people with dementia and their carers face a poorer quality of life than the general population. People with dementia and those who care for them should be treated with dignity and respect, and should have access to high quality care, that is based on an assessment of personal needs and preferences.