It is a serious mental health condition that can cause problems in a person’s daily routine. In some patients, dementia can start and progress very slowly and often show no symptoms. In others, the changes can be sudden and very noticeable. One of the most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s.

While it is true that most cases of dementia cannot be treated and there is no reverse effect that can cure the symptoms, early diagnosis can help in some cases.

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    No symptoms and the patient will function normally.

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    Small gaps in memory. The patient may have difficulty locating a daily object such as reading glasses, newspaper and so on.

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    The patient may start getting stressed as they will find it difficult to perform simple everyday tasks. The patient may find it hard to remember location,locate an address or forget the names of family and friends.

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    Mild dementia sets in. This is when mood swings become prominent.

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    The patient may require assistance to perform simple activities.

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    The patient will start forgetting names of family members and close acquaintances. This is also the time when the patient may start requiring full-time assistance. Mood swings are also very common and sleep disorders can set in.

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    The most critical stage, as severe dementia sets in. The patient will be unable to do almost anything on their own, and require assistance for simple tasks such as sitting, walking, eating and so on.

How to Identify?

Changes in personality

Problems in communicating

Feeling Confused

Loosing interest in things

Not ready to try something new

Forgetting simple things and memory lapses

Unable to understand directions or follow instructions

Problems in carrying out simple tasks

Repeating the same conversation or tasks over and over again

Unable to keep track of things

 
 

Dementia mainly occurs when there is damage to the nerve cells, which could be in any part of the brain. The area that is affected and the type of damage will often determine the severity of the condition.

Progressive dementia is the type of dementia cases that is characterized by the area in the brain that is affected. In such cases, the damage is irreversible and cannot be cured. Other types of dementia that are caused by reaction to some type of medicines or due to any vitamin deficiencies may get better with proper treatment and care.

Major Causes of Dementia

  1. Age – people above 65 are often prone to dementia, especially Alzheimer’s.
  2. Damage to blood vessels that supply blood to the brain, often as a result of stroke or other problems related to blood vessels.
  3. Clumps of protein forming in the brain, known as Lewy bodies.
  4. Degeneration of nerve cells in the frontal and temporal brain lobes. These areas are responsible for controlling behaviour, personality and language.
  5. Any form of repetitive trauma to the brain, such as injuries suffered during a sports event, a physical fight or some accident.
  6. Huntington’s disease, a disease caused by genetic mutation, can cause degeneration of certain nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.
  7. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is a type of rare brain disorder that may be caused due to an abnormal type of protein. It can be inherited or may happen as a result of exposure to nervous system tissue or any disease in the brain.
  8. Parkinson’s disease can also often develop into dementia.

There is still no definite cure for dementia, and most types of dementia cannot be treated, especially the ones that are under the category of progressive dementia. In such cases, the medical team will focus on treating the symptoms and providing care.

In cases of dementia that occurs due to reversible or non-degenerative causes, the medical team will try to prevent any further damage to the brain tissue.

The medical team will try a combination of the following treatment therapies to help a patient suffering from dementia:

Medicines – The most common medications prescribed in India for dementia and related symptoms are caprylidene, donepezil, ergoloid mesylates, ethosuximide, galantamine and memantine. Please remember that these should only be taken when prescribed by the doctor.

Occupational Therapy – An occupational therapist can help the patient adapt to the changes and cope better. This type of therapy can help prevent accidents and keep the patient prepared for the progression of dementia.

Physiotherapy or Massage Therapy – Various exercises and massage routines can help to slow down the progression of dementia. A physiotherapist can assess the patient’s condition and customize an exercise plan that will help in promoting physical activity and mobility for as long as possible.

Exercise Therapy

There is still no definite cure for dementia, and most types of dementia cannot be treated, especially the ones that are under the category of progressive dementia. In such cases, the medical team will focus on treating the symptoms and providing care.

In cases of dementia that occurs due to reversible or non-degenerative causes, the medical team will try to prevent any further damage to the brain tissue.

A physiotherapist can:

  1. Build a customised exercise and recovery plan based on the patient’s overall condition, symptoms and wounds.
  2. Improve balance.
  3. Teach strengthening exercises.
  4. Care for wounds.
  5. Assess the patient’s bed and help guide for the perfect bed or seat that can help.

Exercise can help to delay the onset of dementia, and also delay its progression in
patients who already have dementia.

  1. Aerobic exercises can improve overall health and also increase the flow of blood to the brain. Brisk walking, jogging or swimming are a few examples.
  2. Resistance based exercises or weight training exercises can improve muscle strength, as well as improve bone density and posture. Squeezing a rubber ball, lifting small weights or using a resistance band are some examples.
  3. Balance and flexibility exercises can improve the overall balance and coordination. Yoga, bending or stretching exercises are some examples. Can improve the overall balance and coordination.
  4. Exercises that target the brain, such as solving a crossword puzzle, working a simple number sliding puzzle toy, playing a musical instrument, trying to eat with the hand that is not generally used for eating, reading, gardening, tending to children or pets and listening to music can also help.

Precautions

  1. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables on a daily basis.
  2. Avoid processed foods.
  3. Exercise regularly and keep your weight in check.
  4. Reduce or quit alcohol consumption and tobacco use.
  5. Regularly check blood pressure levels and keep them in check.
  6. Include more vitamin K in your diet – spinach, kale, mustard greens, broccoli, turnip, greens, cauliflower.
  7. Add omega 3 fatty acids in your diet – fatty fish, seafood, spinach, soybeans, flaxseed, walnuts.
  8. Reduce sugar intake

Home Remedy

There are no home remedies for dementia, but you can help your loved one follow the prevention tips to keep the condition check.

At Care24, we offer a host of care services that includes a team of doctors, nurses, attendants and physiotherapists.

Benefits of hiring a professional caregiver from Care24:

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    Your loved one will receive timely medication and care. Patients in the advanced stages of dementia may require 24 hour assistance.

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    Helps family members to continue with other responsibilities, while making sure your loved one receives all the care and attention that is required.

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    Our caregivers are trained and experienced in caring for dementia patients. As a result, they will be able to provide the best care to your loved one and also inform the medical team as and whenever needed.