Varun Blog writer
November 7, 2022
Est. Reading: 5 minutes

What Is Dementia? It’s Symptoms, Disorders Linked With Dementia

A set of symptoms that substantially weaken memory, cognition, and social skills are referred to as dementia when they significantly impede day-to-day functioning. Although there isn't one particular illness that causes dementia, several illnesses will.

While memory loss is a common symptom of dementia, there are several reasons why memory loss occurs. Memory loss alone does not always indicate dementia, even though it is often one of the earliest symptoms of the illness.

Although Alzheimer's disease is the most prevalent cause of progressive dementia in those over the age of 65, there are a number of other conditions that could lead to dementia. Some dementia symptoms could be reversible, depending on the underlying cause.

What Are The Symptoms?

The signs and symptoms of dementia may vary from person to person depending on the underlying cause; however, the following are some of the most common:

Cognitive shifts

  • memory loss, which is often seen by another person.
  • having trouble speaking or finding the right words.
  • visual and spatial difficulties, which may make it difficult to navigate, such as while driving.
  • Hard time thinking clearly or addressing problems.
  • Difficulty performing challenging tasks.
  • Challenges in setting goals and establishing routines.
  • Difficulties with coordination and motor skills.
  • Disorientation and confusion.

Psychological changes.

  • Changes in personality.
  • Depression.
  • Anxiety.
  • Inappropriate conduct.
  • Paranoia.
  • Agitation.
  • Hallucinations.

What Are Its Causes?

Dementia is brought on by disruptions in communication between neurons and or death of individual neurons in the brain. Dementia can manifest itself in a person's life in various different ways and create a wide range of symptoms depending on the part of the brain that is affected by the disease.

Dementias are often classified based on what they have in common, like the protein or proteins accumulated in the brain and the portion of the brain affected. Some illnesses that mimic dementias, like those brought on by pharmaceutical interactions or vitamin shortages, can still get better with therapy.

Different Types Of Progressive Dementias.

The following dementias are progressive that aren’t reversible:

Alzheimer's Disease.

The most frequent reason for dementia is this. While not all causes of Alzheimer's disease are identified, specialists do know that a tiny fraction are linked to abnormalities of three genes, which might be inherited from parent to children. While multiple genes are likely implicated in Alzheimer's disease, one crucial gene that raises risk is apolipoprotein E4 (APOE).

There are plaques and tangles inside the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease. Plaques are accumulations of a protein known as beta-amyloid, while tangles are fibrous tangles that are composed of tau protein. These masses are suspected of harming both normal neurons and their connecting axons.

Vascular Dementia.

Damage to the blood arteries in the brain, which are responsible for supplying oxygen and nutrients to the brain, is the root cause of Vascular dementia. Blood vessel issues may lead to strokes or have other negative effects on the brain, such as destroying the white matter fibers.

The most typical vascular dementia symptoms are difficulty in solving problems, slower thinking, and lack of concentration and organization. These are often more obvious than memory loss.

Lewy Body Dementia. 

Lewy bodies are aberrant balloon-like protein aggregates discovered in the brains of persons suffering from Lewy body dementia, Alzheimer's disease, and Parkinson's disease. This is one of the most frequent kinds of progressive dementia.

Common warning signs and symptoms include:

  • Acting out nightmares while sleeping.
  • Seeing things that aren't there.
  • Having trouble focusing and paying close attention.

Other indicators include stiffness, tremors, incoordination, and rigidity (parkinsonism).

Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD).

Frontotemporal disorders (FTD), often known as frontotemporal dementia, are caused by damage to neurons in the frontal and the temporal lobes of the brain. Numerous symptoms, such as strange behaviors, emotional issues, communication difficulties, problems at work, and difficulty in walking, are some of the potential outcomes. FTD is uncommon and likely to manifest earlier in life than other types of dementia. About 60% of FTD patients are between the ages of 45 and 64.

As FTD progresses, symptoms progressively grow worse. In the beginning, a person might only have a single symptom. Other symptoms start to show up as the condition worsens and more areas of the brain get damaged. These are the regions that are often linked to personality, behaviour, and language. Common symptoms have an impact on speech and movement as well as behavior, personality, thinking, and judgment. The life expectancy of someone with FTD is unpredictable. Depending on their diagnosis, some individuals go on to survive for more than ten years while others just make it to two. Presently, there is no medication that can reduce or halt the course of FTD, although there are ways to control the symptoms. 

Mixed Dementia.

Autopsies on the brains of patients aged 80 and above who had dementia revealed that many had a mix of causes, including Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia, and Lewy body dementia. Research is still being done to identify how mixed dementia impacts symptoms and therapies.

Other Disorders Linked To Dementia.

Huntington's disease.

This condition, which is driven on by a genetic mutation, results in the degeneration of certain nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. The first warning signs and symptoms, which include a sharp deterioration in mental (cognitive) abilities, often show between the ages of 30 and 40.

Traumatic brain injury (TBI).

The most common cause of this illness is repeated head trauma. TBI may occur in boxers, football players, and soldiers.

Depending on which area of the brain is affected, this disorder might result in dementia signs and symptoms include sadness, irritability, memory loss, and speech impairment. TBI may result in parkinsonism as well. Symptoms may not show for several years after the trauma.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

The majority of persons who develop this uncommon brain illness have no known risk factors. Prions—infectious proteins—that have accumulated may be the cause of this disease. This deadly illness often manifests its signs and symptoms beyond the age of 60.

Although its etiology is often unknown, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease can be inherited. Additionally, exposure to damaged brain or nervous system tissue, such as that following a cornea transplant, could be the cause.

Parkinson's disease.

Parkinson's disease dementia is a common symptom that many individuals with the condition experience over time.

Dementia-Like Conditions That Can Be Reversed.

There are treatable causes of dementia and dementia-like symptoms. They consist of:

Infections and immune disorders.

Dementia-like symptoms may be caused by a fever or other side effects of your body's effort to fight off an illness. Dementia is a symptom that can be caused by a variety of illnesses, including multiple sclerosis and others in which the immune system of the body attacks nerve cells.

Metabolic problems and endocrine abnormalities.

People who have thyroid difficulties, low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), excessive or inadequate amounts of salt or calcium, or vitamin B-12 absorption problems can develop dementia-like symptoms and perhaps other behavioral changes.

Nutritional deficiencies.

Dementia-like symptoms may be brought on by inadequate hydration (dehydration), prolonged alcoholism, inadequate intake of thiamin (vitamin B-1), and inadequate intake of vitamins B-6 and B-12. Deficits in copper and vitamin E may also contribute to the dementia symptoms.

Impacts of prescription drugs.

Medicine side effects, a response to a pharmaceutical, or a drug combination can all induce dementia-like symptoms.

Subdural hematomas.

TA subdural haematoma is a dangerous disorder in which blood accumulates between the skull and the brain's surface. Usually, a head injury is the cause. One of the signs of a subdural hemorrhage is a headache that doesn't go away, which occurs often in older people during falls, accidents, or other injuries.

Brain tumors.

Rarely, damage brought on by a brain tumor could lead to dementia.

Normal-pressure hydrocephalus.

This illness, which is brought on by enlarging brain ventricles, may cause memory loss, difficulties urinating, and mobility problems.

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