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A Simple Guide to Dementia and Alzheimer's Diseases

19 pages20 minutes


Dementia is a disease in which brain tissue degenerates to the extent of loss of memory and other intellectual abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life.

In Dementia there is a severe and progressive decline in mental function.

It affects a person's ability to:
1. think, remember and reason

2. learn new information and skills

3. solve problems and make judgement

What is the cause of Dementia?

There are several different factors which may contribute to its development.

They can be divided into:

1. Irreversible conditions

a. Aging is one important risk factor.
Alzheimer's Disease

b. Stroke

c. Parkinson's disease

2. Reversible conditions

a. Hypothyroidism

b. Vitamin B12 deficiency

c. Alcohol dependence diseases

Irreversible Dementia cannot be cured but it may be possible to slow down the progression of the disease.

It may be possible treat the cognitive symptoms.

Potentially reversible dementia may be curable.

What are the Symptoms of Dementia?

1. Memory loss or Forgetfulness is often one of the earliest symptoms (Patients may forget dates, names of common objects and familiar people)

2. Confusion (Disorientation in time and place)

3. Trouble with organizing

4. Misplacing things,

5. Difficulty in expressing thoughts,

6. Difficulty performing familiar tasks

7. Difficulty understanding others

8. Poor or decreased judgment

9. Wandering and getting lost in familiar places

10. Changes in mood and behavior (They may become easily agitated or depressed)

a. Changes in personality

b. paranoia

c. hallucinations

d. agitation

e. anxiety

f. sleep problems

How is Dementia assessed and investigated?

Diagnosis can be based on:

1. History of depression, anxiety, hallucination, paranoia, agitation or sleep problems

2. Various tests may be done to exclude other conditions that may be causing the same problems:

a. blood sugar, thyroid hormone, vitamin B12 level

b. CT Scan or MRI of the brain to exclude tumors or stroke

The family doctor can refer the patient to a psychiatrist for further assessment if dementia is suspected.


Chapter 1 Dementia

Chapter 2 Alzheimer’s Disease

Chapter 3 Aging

Chapter 4 Epilogue

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