disease is probably the best known and certainly the most common
form of dementia - accounting for more than 50% of all cases.
However, dementia is not really a disease - it's a term used to
describe the range of symptoms.
is usually irreversible and progressive. That means, for most
people affected, the symptoms will gradually get worse over time.
Currently, there is no cure for dementia; and in most cases there
is no method to prevent dementia occurring.
not to say there is nothing you can do. Having a better understanding
of the various forms and causes of dementia, and recognising the
signs and symptoms, will help.
often the effects of dementia come on gradually and include problems
with memory and thinking, changes in personality and mood, communication
problems, and difficulty with everyday tasks.
mild dementia the person may simply forget recent conversations
or events. As the condition progresses the person may have difficulty
recognising close friends or family. In severe dementia the person
will need extensive support either at home or in hostel or nursing-home
people with dementia are older, but it is important to remember
that most older people do not get dementia.
factors for dementia include smoking, strokes, heart disease,
high cholesterol and hypertension.
can increase the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease by 65%,
however maintaining blood glucose levels within a healthy range
can reduce this risk. Severe head injuries, (particularly those
causing loss of consciousness) family history and high homocystine
levels are other risk factors.
are some medications, which can improve some dementias, and are
available on prescription although they are expensive.
E may slow the rate of decline in Alzheimer's disease. Homocysteine
is a by-product of many metabolic reactions occurring in our body.
Some studies have found that high homocysteine levels are associated
with an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease and other dementias.
Adequate intake of vitamin B and folate can help reduce homocysteine
biloba may have a modest effect on mental function but can cause
bleeding in people on aspirin.
researchers do not yet understand the processes that lead to dementia
it appears that a healthy lifestyle can at least help delay its
onset. For example, a healthy diet may be able to control risk
factors such as high cholesterol levels and diabetes. Exercise
may help manage cardiovascular risk factors, increase blood flow
to the brain and stimulate nerve cell growth and survival. In
general, what is good for the heart is also good for the mind.
Active brains tend to remain free of dementia symptoms for longer
- so keep your mind busy and working!
have a Fact Card Alzheimer's Disease and Other Causes of Dementia
and you can try the web site www.alzheimers.org.au