Dementia is a group of conditions characterised by impairment of at least two brain functions, such as memory loss and judgement. Dementia is not a specific disease rather it is a general term for loss of memory and other mental abilities severe enough to interfere with daily life.
CAUSES OF DEMENTIA
Some causes of dementia include:
- Head injury
- Brain tumours
- Infections (such as meningitis, HIV / AIDS, or syphilis)
- Hormonal disorders (disorders of hormone-secreting and hormone-regulating organs such as the thyroid gland)
- Metabolic disorders such as diseases of the liver, pancreas, or kidneys that disrupt the balances of chemicals in the blood
- Hypoxia (poor oxygenation of the blood)
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Drug abuse
- Chronic alcoholism
SIGNS OF DEMENTIA
Risk factors of dementia are categorized into two:
- Risk factors that can be changed
- Risk factors that can’t be changed
Risk Factors You Can Change
- Increased alcohol use.
- Diabetes: Poorly controlled diabetes increases the risk of dementia
- Smoking:Smoking might increase your risk of developing dementia and blood vessel (vascular) disease
- Sleep apnoea: People who snore and have episodes where they frequently stop breathing while asleep may have reversible memory loss
- Cardiovascular diseases, such as stroke and heart attack.
Risk Factors That Can’t Be Changed
- Family history: Having a family history of dementia puts you at greater risk of developing the condition
- Age:The risk rises as you age, especially after age 65. However, dementia isn’t a normal part of aging, and dementia can occur in younger people.
- Down syndrome:By middle age, many people with Down syndrome develop early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
- Mild cognitive impairment.This involves difficulties with memory but without loss of daily function. It puts people at higher risk of dementia
PREVENTION OF DEMENTIA
There is no certain way to prevent dementia as there are various on-going research and investigation on the development of the disease.
However, there is a good evidence that a healthy lifestyle can help reduce your risk of developing dementia when you are older. It helps prevent cardiovascular diseases, such as stroke and heart attack.
TREATMENT OF DEMENTIA
Treatment depends on stage of the disease. Some possible treatment includes; therapy (rehabilitation and occupational), medications (Cognition-enhancing medication and specialized care from geriatricians, clinical psychologists, neurologists, psychiatrists, and primary care providers (PCP).
Sources: College of Medicine, University of Ibadan and Mayo Clinic
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