What is Dementia?
Dementia is the broad name given to a group of diseases that affect the normal working functions of the brain. Different areas of the brain are responsible for different abilities, functions and skills. For example, one of the functions of the Temporal Lobe is to enable us to understand language. Dementia is a progressive and irreversible condition.
The structure of the brain and its chemistry become increasingly damaged over time which causes the symptoms to become more severe. The disease cannot be halted, reversed or cured, therefore meaning that those affected can not get better. Drugs can alleviate symptoms but are not a cure. A person can suffer more than one dementia at a time.
Types of Dementia
There are many different types of dementia, each being caused by different diseases of the brain. Each disease is identified by certain symptoms.
The types of dementia I will be focusing on during this presentation are; Alzheimer's Disease,
Dementia with Lewy bodies.
Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia, affecting around 417,000 people in the UK alone. 10% of over 65 years olds suffer from this disease however, it can occur in people as young as 35. It was first discovered in 1907 by Alois Alzheimer after observing a 51 year old woman. This is a physical disease affecting the brain.
Definite diagnosis is difficult and it can only be confirmed through a post mortem. The symptoms of Alzheimer's include:
Lapses of memory
Problems finding the right words
Forgetfulness-names, places, recent events
Mood swings- being scared, angry, anxious or frustrated
Withdrawn- loss of confidence or communication problems.
No one single factor has been identified as a cause of Alzheimer's, and is likely to be a combination of factors such as; age, genetics, diet, Down's syndrome, severe head injuries and smoking.
Vascular dementia is the second most common form of dementia in the UK, and accounts for 20% of all cases. This dementia progresses in stages and is caused by problems in the supply of blood to the brain. If the vascular system within the brain becomes damaged and the blood supply cannot reach the brain cells, they will eventually die. The symptoms of Vascular Dementia are;
Problems concentrating or communicating
Physical weakness or paralysis
Periods of acute confusion
The causes of Vascular Dementia are:
High blood pressure
Frontotemporal Dementia is rare and is most likely to affect people under 65. Both men and women are equally affected.
The term 'Frontotemporal Dementia' covers a range of conditions all caused by damage to the frontal lobe and/or temporal parts of the brain. The rate of progression of this disease varies enormously from 2 to 10 years. With the later stages being very similar to Alzheimer's Disease. This often leads to a misdiagnosis. A firm diagnosis may only be possible after death. In 50% of cases there is a family history of Frontotemporal Dementia. A variety of symptoms can be displayed and each person will experience the condition in their own way. Typically, the memory stays intact, changes occur in; behaviour, emotional responses, language skills, personality and the regulation of adult appropriateness. Other symtoms include: The loss of ability to show empathy
Generally outgoing people can become withdrawn
Macking tactless comments or being rude
Joking at the wrong moments
Exhibiting sexual behaviour in public
Develop compulsive routines or rituals
Difficulties finding the right words
Dementia with Lewy Bodies
Dementia with Lewy Bodies accounts for 10-15% of all cases of drmentia and affects men and women...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document