Alzheimer’s and Dementia

By |2020-10-02T00:59:04+00:00October 2nd, 2020|Categories: Blog and News, NHIA Blog|Tags: , |

People typically don’t know the difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s. However, understanding the difference is important. Dementia is a general term for memory loss. Alzheimer’s is the most common condition caused by dementia. In fact, Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60-80 percent of dementia cases. In addition, Alzheimer’s is an actual disease. On the other hand, dementia is an overall term- like heart disease- that covers a range of conditions.

What is Dementia?

Dementia is an umbrella term. It describes a group of symptoms associated with the decline in memory, reasoning, or thinking skills. There are many types of dementia and it is caused by many things. Mixed dementia is a condition in which there are more than one type of dementia prevalent in patients. There are over 400 diseases or types of dementia. Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia are the most common.

Here are some of the most common types of dementia

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Vascular Dementia
  • Lewy Body disease
  • Fronto-Temporal dementia
  • Mixed dementia

Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia. It makes up 60-80% of all dementia cases. It develops slowly over many years. Firstly, this disease can start as simply forgetfulness, which can be normal with aging. Early signs usually include difficulty in forming new memories of recent events, difficulty in forming sentences, and problem solving. This is a progressive build-up of abnormal clumps of protein that cause damage to the nerve cells in the brain. Currently there are no cures for this disease, but there are treatments and research is ongoing. The treatments cannot stop Alzheimer’s from progressing, but it can improve the quality of life for those suffering from this disease.

Vascular Dementia

Reduced blood supply to the brain due to diseased blood vessels causes vascular dementia. For example, a patient after a stroke, has reduced flow in major blood vessels in the brain. Then, thinking difficulties may start after this occurs and gradually worsen. Several studies have found that vascular changes and the brain abnormalities that come with these changes, may interact in ways that can lead to a dementia diagnosis. Symptoms of this disease include, but are not limited to:

  • Confusion
  • Trouble speaking or understanding speech
  • Difficulty walking
  • Numbness or partial paralysis

Lewy Body Disease

This is a type of progressive dementia that leads to the decline of thinking, reasoning, and independent function due to abnormal microscopic deposits that damage brain cells over time. Lewy Body disease is the 3rd most common type of dementia after Alzheimer’s and Vascular Dementia. This accounts for 5-10 percent of cases. People suffering from Lewy Body dementia usually experience hunched posture, rigid muscles, shuffled walking, and trouble initiating movement. This disease has been linked to Parkinson’s and shares the same underlying abnormalities in how the brain processes the protein alpha-synuclein. Some symptoms of this condition include:

  • Changes in thinking or reasoning
  • Confusion and alertness varying day-day
  • Delusions
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Memory loss

Frontotemporal Dementia

Progressive nerve cell loss in the brain’s frontal lobes or temporal lobes causes frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Firstly, this causes deterioration in behavior, personality, and difficulty producing and comprehending language. Then, the patient’s dementia slowly worsens. There are a number of different diseases that cause frontotemporal degenerations. However, the two most prominent are 1) a group of brain disorders involving brain disorders involving the protein TAU and 2) a group of brain disorders involving the protein called TDP43. These two groups have a preference for the frontal and temporal lobes that cause dementia, for reasons not yet known. Some symptoms of FTD are as follows:

  • Apathy
  • Unwillingness to talk
  • Change in mood, increased depression
  • Lack of social tact
  • Obsessive or repetitive behavior

Mixed Dementia

Mixed dementia is a condition in which brain changes of more than one cause of dementia occur simultaneously. The most common kind of mixed dementia is when Alzheimer’s occurs with vascular dementia, similarly, Alzheimer’s is commonly seen with Lewy Body dementia. Sometimes, all three are seen together.

Researchers don’t quite know how many people are living with mixed dementia because there is no way to study it in living people. Autopsies are the only way to figure out which brain changes have occurred. However, symptoms vary depending on the types of brain changes and the brain regions affected.

Symptoms may be similar or indistinguishable from other conditions, such as Alzheimer’s or Vascular dementia or Frontotemporal dementia.

The Future

Meanwhile, the research on these diseases are ongoing and extensive. Currently, there is no test to determine if someone has one of these diseases. However, these can be diagnosed based on past medical history. physical exam, and changes in thinking, and day-to-day function and behavior. Certainly, more scientists are currently researching how to help dementia and Alzheimer’s patients

Three Ways You Can Prevent Dementia

By |2019-09-14T18:54:01+00:00September 18th, 2019|Categories: Blog and News, NHIA Blog|Tags: , |

 

Dementia is expected to impact three times as many people as it does now in 2050. The very thought of dementia is a scary prospect: a progressive problem that decreases memory and other cognitive abilities, sometimes extending to affect behavior and quality of living.

Dementia is an umbrella term for a number of different neurological issues. Despite monumental efforts from medical researchers and professionals, we still know relatively little about dementia. 

This week, we explore suggestions from the medical community on the best ways to prevent dementia.

Don’t Smoke

Cigarettes are immeasurably harmful. Many organizations have led successful campaigns against them for this very reason. However, medical professionals have expressed concerns about the growing popularity of e-cigarettes, vapes, and marijuana. Anytime that you are taking anything into your lungs has the potential to cause harm.

Smoking is not adding much to people’s lives, in reality dementia is yet another reason to not smoke.

Maintain Your Health

There are a few components to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. First is maintaining a healthy weight. What this weight may be is different for every person. Diet culture causes some people to try and lose weight constantly – which is not necessarily what is best for your body. If your doctor does not have concerns about your weight, maintaining your current weight is healthier than your weight fluctuating constantly. 

Along with maintaining a healthy weight, you should also be eating properly and exercising on a regular basis. 

Perhaps the biggest part of maintaining your health is handling any health issues that you know you have. Existing health issues that require regular monitoring include diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. 

To control these health issues, you should schedule regular appointments with your physician. Typically, these are annual checkups, but your doctor may want to see you more regularly. Additionally, you should follow all instructions provided by your physician. Adjust your diet, or exercise, and take any medicine that he or she prescribes.

Keep Your Brain Active

The most recommended way to combat dementia is to keep your brain as active as possible. Just like any of the other suggestions, it is not guaranteed, but it is the medical community’s best safeguard for now. 

Oftentimes older adults struggle to engage themselves on a regular basis. It is fairly common to hear retirees complain that they are bored. A good way to combat this stagnation is to pick up a hobby. Something as simple as doing the daily crossword puzzle in your local paper is a good start. Other games like sudoku and word searches are also helpful.

Social circles are another good way to stay engaged. Gatherings like book clubs, sewing circles, and community service organizations can be amazingly beneficial. Not only do they advance the hobbies that are so helpful to mental engagement, they also require communication and socialization. Engaging with other older adults helps maintain mental agility and helps improve memory.

This Is A Custom Widget

This Sliding Bar can be switched on or off in theme options, and can take any widget you throw at it or even fill it with your custom HTML Code. Its perfect for grabbing the attention of your viewers. Choose between 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns, set the background color, widget divider color, activate transparency, a top border or fully disable it on desktop and mobile.

This Is A Custom Widget

This Sliding Bar can be switched on or off in theme options, and can take any widget you throw at it or even fill it with your custom HTML Code. Its perfect for grabbing the attention of your viewers. Choose between 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns, set the background color, widget divider color, activate transparency, a top border or fully disable it on desktop and mobile.
Go to Top