Dementia

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“The disease begins gradually: silent, like an animal stalking its night-time prey, it takes hold of its victim, and worsens with time.” (Buijssen,p15)

Dementia is a ‘clinical syndrome characterized by loss of function in multiple cognitive abilities in an individual with previously normal intellectual abilities.’(Clare, p5) While dementia is a worldwide problem that has no cure, very few people recognize and understand the four major forms of it. The most common forms of dementia are Vascular dementia, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and Alzheimers disease.

Vascular dementia is a decline in thinking skills caused by conditions that block or reduce blood flow to the brain, which deprives brain cells of vital oxygen and nutrients(Buijssen,p16). Without the proper amount of blood flow, cells throughout the entire body will become damaged or die. Vascular dementia makes up 30% to 50% of dementia cases (Clare, p6). One form of vascular dementia is called ‘Multi-infarct dementia’, otherwise known as a mini-stroke. A stroke is when there is no blood flow to the brain. It results in a sudden blockage or often a rupture of a blood vessel in the brain (Innes,p47). The medical term for mini-stokes is transient ischemic attack (Innes, 47). Another form of vascular disease is called ‘Binswanger’s Disease’ also known as subcortical vascular dementia. Binswanger disease is a progressive neurological disorder caused by blood vessels becoming lined with cholesterol deposit plaques that form on the surfaces of the arteries which obstructs the blood flow (Clare,p27). These blood vessels supply the white-matter and deep structures of the brain. Parkingsons disease is a progressive disorder of the central nervous system that makes up 10%-80% of dementia cases (Clare, p6). This disease causes the brain cell to become damaged which interrupts normal functions. The symptoms for Parkinson’s disease are tremors, stiffness in limbs and joints, speech impediments,...
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