Dementia, memory loss

2021-08-10 03:25 PM

Dementia has many causes. It is not always caused by the same diseases. And some dementias, such as Alzheimer's disease, occur not as a result of another disease.


Dementia is not a specific disease. Instead, it describes a group of symptoms that affect intellectual and social abilities that are severe enough to interfere with daily functioning. It is caused by problems or changes in the brain; different types of dementia exist depending on the cause. Alzheimer's is the most common form of the disease.

Amnesia, dementia alone does not mean complete memory loss. Dementia indicates problems with at least two brain functions, such as memory loss along with signs, hearing, or language impairments. Dementia can cause confusion and inability to remember people's names, and can also experience changes in personality and social behavior. However, some causes of dementia are treatable and even reversible.

Dementia memory loss


Symptoms of dementia and dementia vary depending on the cause, but common signs and symptoms include:

Lost memory.

Communication difficulties.

Inability to learn or remember new information.

Difficulty with planning and organization.

Difficulty with coordination and motor function.

Personality changes.

Inappropriate behavior.



See your doctor if you or a loved one have memory problems or other symptoms of dementia. A number of medical problems can cause dementia symptoms and be treated, so it's important for your doctor to identify the underlying cause. Early detection of the disease is also important so that treatment can begin before symptoms get worse.

If the diagnosis is dementia, whose symptoms gradually worsen over time, such as Alzheimer's disease, early diagnosis also provides time to plan for the future while the person still has dementia. can participate in decision-making.
If a cause of dementia has been diagnosed, talk to your doctor if symptoms seem to be getting worse.


Dementia has many causes. It is not always caused by the same diseases. And some dementias, such as Alzheimer's disease, occur not as a result of another disease. Not much is known about how certain diseases can be linked to dementia.

Dementia can be classified in a variety of ways and is often grouped together by things in common, such as what part of the brain is affected, or whether it will worsen over time (dementia). progressive dementia). Some dementias such as those caused by a reaction to medication or an infection are reversible with treatment.

Progressive dementia

Some of the main types of dementia are progressive - dementia that gets worse with time.

Dementia memory loss

Alzheimer. Alzheimer's disease is caused by the destruction of brain cells. Although the exact cause is not known, two types of brain cell (neurons) damage are common in people with Alzheimer's disease. These include plaque (normally harmless protein beta-amyloid) and tangled fibers (abnormal protein). Alzheimer's usually progresses slowly, over seven to 10 years causing a gradual decline in cognitive abilities. Eventually, the part of the brain affected cannot function properly because of limited functions, including those related to memory, movement, language, behavior, and abstract thinking. Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia in people 65 and older. Symptoms usually appear after age 60, although early signs of disease onset can occur, often as a result of a defective gene.
Lewy amnesia. Lewy has an abnormal protein block that has been found in the brains of people with Lewy dementia, Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. The symptoms of this dementia are similar to those of Alzheimer's disease, but its signs often include fluctuations in confusion and clear (clear) thinking, visual hallucinations, and Parkinson's signs such as: trembling and stiff. These people will often have a condition called REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD) that is associated with producing dreams, including kicking or kicking during sleep.

Vascular dementia. This dementia is a result of brain damage caused by problems with the arteries of the brain or of the heart. Symptoms begin suddenly, often after a stroke, and can occur in people who have had high blood pressure or a previous stroke or heart attack. Vascular dementia can also be caused by an infection of the heart valves (endocarditis) or a build-up of amyloid protein in the blood vessels of the brain (amyloid angiopathy) which is sometimes caused by "bleeding". hemorrhagic) stroke.
Several types of vascular dementia exist and vary in causes and symptoms. Some types only affect one side of the body and cause some memory loss, confusion, and mood swings. In some, symptoms may gradually worsen while in others they may appear only temporarily. In general, vascular dementia is more common with age. Often this dementia coexists with Alzheimer's disease.

Degenerative dementia of neurons in the frontal lobe. This is a group of diseases characterized by degeneration of neurons in the frontal lobes of the brain, areas generally associated with personality, behavior, and language. The cause is not known, although in some cases this memory loss is a certain genetic mutation. But many people have no family history of dementia. Also, in some people with this problem called Pick's disease, the affected parts of the brain have tangled fibers made up of abnormal proteins called tau proteins. Signs and symptoms of this dementia can include socially inappropriate behaviors, loss of mental flexibility, language problems, and difficulty with thinking and concentration, often present between the ages of 40 and 65.

Other disorders related to dementia

Huntington's disease. Signs and symptoms usually appear in the 30s or 40s. May first include mild personality changes, irritability, anxiety, and depression, and progress to severe memory loss. Huntington's disease also causes difficulty with walking and movement, weakness, and clumsiness.

Dementia pugilistica. Also known as chronic post-traumatic brain injury or boxer amnesia is caused by repetitive head trauma. Depending on which part of the brain is damaged, it can cause signs and symptoms of dementia such as memory problems and poor coordination as well as tremors, slow movements, and parkinsonism. Symptoms may not appear until years after the injury. A single head injury can cause posttraumatic dementia just like pugilistic dementia but can include long-term memory problems.

HIV-related dementia. Infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes AIDS, leads to the destruction of brain cells and results in impaired memory, apathy, and difficulty concentrating.

Creutzfeldt- Jakob. This rare, most fatal brain disorder occurs sporadically in people with no known risk factors. However, some cases are hereditary or due to exposure to brain or nervous system disease. Signs and symptoms usually appear by age 60 and initially include problems with coordination of personality changes and impaired memory, critical thinking, thinking, and vision. Impaired vision becomes severe as the disease progresses and it often leads to blindness. Pneumonia and other infections are also common.

Conscious dementia. Sometimes, someone with another disorder that primarily affects movement, such as Parkinson's disease, can eventually develop symptoms of dementia. The relationship between the disorder and dementia is not completely understood.

Causes of memory loss can be reversed

Some causes of dementia or dementia-like symptoms can be reversed. Your doctor can identify and treat causes such as:

Infections and immune disorders. Dementia can be caused by a fever or a side effect of the body's attempt to fight infection. Examples of infections include brain infections such as meningitis and encephalitis, untreated syphilis, Lyme disease, and problems that cause a compromised immune system such as leukemia. Problems like multiple sclerosis that arise from the body's immune system attacking nerve cells can also cause dementia.

Metabolic problems and endocrine abnormalities. These include thyroid problems, too little sugar in the blood (hypoglycemia), too little or too much sodium or calcium, and impaired absorption of vitamin B-12.

Nutritional deficiencies. Symptoms can occur as a result of dehydration, not getting enough thiamin (vitamin B-1) - a condition common among chronic drinkers - and vitamin B-6 and B-12 deficiencies. Bananas, lentils, spinach, fortified breakfast cereals, salmon, pork, chicken, bread, milk and eggs are good sources of B vitamins.

Drug reaction. Dementia can occur as a reaction to a single drug or because of an interaction of many drugs.

Subdural hematoma. They are created by bleeding between the surface of the brain and its outer covering.

Poisoning. Dementia symptoms can occur as a result of exposure to heavy metals, such as lead or manganese, and other toxins, such as pesticides. People who have abused alcohol and drugs also sometimes develop symptoms. In all cases, symptoms may disappear after treatment or after exposure to the substances has ended.

Brain tumors. Rare, but memory loss can be the result of damage caused by a brain tumor.

Lack of oxygen. This problem, also called hypoxia, occurs when not enough oxygen reaches the organ tissues. Causes heart attack, severe asthma, carbon monoxide poisoning, exposure to high doses or overdoses of anesthetics. Recovery depends on the severity of the hypoxia. Symptoms may occur during recovery.

Heart and lung problems. The brain cannot survive without oxygen. Symptoms can occur in people with chronic lung problems or heart conditions that damage the brain when it lacks the oxygen it needs.

Risk factors

Many factors can eventually lead to dementia. Some, such as age, cannot be changed. Others can be addressed to reduce risk.

Risk factors that cannot be changed

Age. The risk of Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia, and other dementias increases a significant amount with age. However, dementia is not a normal part of aging.

Family history. People with a family history of dementia have a greater risk of developing it. However, many people with a family history never develop symptoms, and many people without a family history of the disease. If there is a specific genetic mutation, there is a significantly greater risk of developing certain types of dementia. Tests to determine if a genetic mutation is present are only available for disorders in which the specific mutation is known, eg Huntington's disease.

Modifiable risk factors

To reduce your risk of dementia, steps can be taken to control the following:

Use alcohol. Consuming large amounts of alcohol seems to increase the risk of dementia. Although studies have shown that moderate alcohol - one drink a day for women and two for men - especially red wine, has a protective effect on the body, alcohol abuse places a bigger risk of developing cancer. develop memory loss.

Atherosclerosis. Accumulation of fat and other substances in and on artery walls (plaques) is a significant risk factor for vascular dementia because it interferes with blood flow to the brain. This can lead to a stroke. Research also suggests a possible link between atherosclerosis and Alzheimer's disease.

Blood pressure. Blood pressure that is too high and possibly too low can put you at risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia.

Cholesterol. High levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, the "bad" cholesterol, can significantly increase your risk of developing vascular dementia. Some studies have also found its link to an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.

Depression. Although not well understood, depression late in life, especially in men, maybe a marker for the development of Alzheimer's dementia.

Diabetes. If you have type 2 diabetes, you are at risk of developing both Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia.

High estrogen. High estrogen in women has been linked with an increased risk of developing dementia. This can be determined through a blood test.

Blood homocysteine. Homocysteine ​​- an amino acid produced by the body that may increase the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia. When metabolized properly, homocysteine ​​uses vitamins B-6, B-12 and folic acid. If this doesn't happen right, it may not be able to metabolize the vitamins well, or there may not be enough of them in the diet. Blood tests can determine if you have high homocysteine ​​levels.

Smoke. Smoking is likely to increase the risk of developing dementia because of the increased risk of atherosclerosis and other types of blood vessel disease.


Dementia can affect the function of many-body systems and the ability to perform daily tasks. Dementia can lead to problems such as:

Lack of nutrition. Nearly everyone who has dementia will reduce or stop eating at some point. Often, dementia causes people to lose control of the muscles used to chew and swallow, putting them at risk of suffocation or aspiration of food into the lungs. If this happens, it can block the airway and cause pneumonia. People with severe dementia also lose their sense of hunger. Side effects from medications, constipation and other problems such as infections are also possible.

Reduced hygiene. During the stage of dementia with moderate to severe dementia, there is a loss of the ability to independently complete tasks in daily life. Can no longer bathe, dress, brush teeth and go to the bathroom alone.

Difficulty taking medicine. Because memory is affected, remembering to get the right amount of medication at the right time can be challenging.

Emotional decline. Dementia changes behavior and personality. Some of the changes may be caused by the deterioration that actually occurs in the brain, while the personality behavioral changes may be in response to emotional challenges of dealing with the worsening changes. Dementia can lead to depression, confusion, frustration, anxiety, lack of restraint, and disorientation.

Communication is difficult. As dementia progresses, the ability to remember the names of people and things may be lost. This makes communication difficult at all levels. Communication difficulties can lead to feelings of agitation, isolation, and depression.

Delirium. This state is characterized by a decline in interest, awareness, and mental alertness. Delirium is common in people with dementia, especially during hospitalization. It occurs when sudden changes in surroundings, activity levels, and other habits may be the cause.

Sleep problem. Disruption of the normal sleep-wake cycle, waking up at night, and sleeping during the day is very common. Insomnia is a common complication, as restless legs syndrome and sleep apnea can also interfere with sleep.

Personal safety challenges. Because of the reduced capacity for decision-making and solving certain everyday situations, it can cause safety problems for people with dementia. These include driving, cooking, and talking.

Tests and diagnostics

Dementia, memory loss, and other dementia symptoms have many causes, so diagnosis can be challenging and may require seeing several doctors. Diagnosis involves several tests.

Medical history and physical examination

Medical history. Your doctor will ask about how and when symptoms started and about any health problems that can help determine the cause of the problem, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or a family history of depression. wisdom.

In addition, the doctor may request information from a caregiver or family member to find out if the concern represents a change from previous levels.

Physical examination. A physical exam helps doctors treat the cause of dementia and recognize the signs of a stroke or other disorders that can cause similar symptoms. It also helps the doctor determine the best treatment. As part of the exam, your doctor may collect a urine or blood sample, check your blood pressure, and review what medications you're taking.

This test can also help identify signs of other conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, or thyroid abnormalities, and any medication side effects that may coincide with dementia.

Cognitive testing and neuropsychology

Screening anyone with symptoms of dementia, assessing cognitive function. Some of the tests measure orientation in general intellectual skills, academic skills, language skills, spatial skills, attention, memory, reasoning, and judgment. The goal is to determine if dementia is present, how severe it is, and what part of the brain is affected.

Nervous system assessment

As part of the assessment of balance, sensory function, and reflexes to identify problems that may affect diagnosis or are being treated with medication.

Brain scan

Looking at brain images can help doctors identify strokes, tumors, or other problems that may be causing dementia. Alzheimer's disease changes brain structure over time and can also be seen with brain imaging. Several types of brain imaging are used.

CT and MRI. The most common imaging techniques to identify dementia are computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). CT is an X-ray technique that produces images that show internal structures. An MRI is a technique that uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images of organs and tissues in the body. It helps identify changes in brain size, strokes, and other problems such as excess water in the brain (hydrocephalus) or bleeding on the surface of the brain (subdural hematoma).

Electroencephalogram (EEG). Using electrodes placed on the scalp, your doctor can detect and record patterns of electrical activity and check for abnormalities. If found, abnormalities may indicate cognitive dysfunction, a condition common in people with moderate to severe Alzheimer's disease. The EEG can also detect seizures, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, and other disorders associated with dementia.


A series of lab tests can help rule out other problems, such as kidney failure, that may be contributing to symptoms. Medical problems are often associated with dementia. Medications and other treatments can improve many symptoms and quality of life.

Tests that help identify medical problems include:

Complete blood count (CBC) to rule out anemia.

Blood sugar test to rule out diabetes.

Blood tests to evaluate kidney function, to estimate liver function, and to measure vitamin B-12.

Blood or urine tests to identify drugs or alcohol intake.

Cerebrospinal fluid analysis to rule out brain infection.

Analyze thyroid hormone levels and thyroid stimulation to rule out hypothyroidism.

Mental test

This test may be done to determine if depression or another mental disorder is contributing to symptoms.

Treatments and drugs

Treating dementia with dementia can help slow or minimize symptom development.

Cholinesterase inhibitor. These drugs - donepezil, rivastigmine, and galantamine hydrobromide - work by boosting chemicals involved in memory. Side effects may include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Although mainly used as Alzheimer's drugs, they are also used to treat vascular dementia, Parkinson's, dementia, and Lewy.

Memantine. This drug, which treats Alzheimer's disease, works by modulating the activity of glutamate, a chemical involved in all brain functions, including learning and memory. Its most common side effect is dizziness. Some studies have shown that combining memantine with a cholinesterase inhibitor may have better results. Although primarily used to treat Alzheimer's disease, it may help improve symptoms in other dementias.

Other drugs. Although no standard for the treatment of dementia exists, some symptoms can be treated. These treatments aim to reduce risk factors for further brain damage.

Treating the underlying cause of dementia can also slow or sometimes stop its progress. For example, to prevent a stroke, your doctor may prescribe it to control high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, and diabetes. Doctors may prescribe medications to treat problems such as blood clots, anxiety, and insomnia for people with vascular dementia.

In addition, some specific symptoms and behavioral problems can be treated with sedatives, antidepressants, and other medications, but some of these drugs can cause other symptoms.

There is no Creutzfeldt - Jakob treatment. Care is focused on ensuring comfort.

Lifestyle and remedies

Steps can be taken to improve the quality of life as the disease progresses.

Make a reminder calendar

Record not only the events, happenings, and activities that need to be completed on a daily basis. And check the operation when done. If it is possible to make this process a habit before memory problems worsen, it will be more likely to retain this skill as the disease progresses. If you can't remember if you've taken your medication, you can check the calendar.

Maintain a peaceful and stable environment

A peaceful and stable environment reduces behavioral problems, new situations, noise, large groups of people, being rushed or pressed to remember or being asked to do complex tasks that can cause anxiety.

Establish a ritual at night

With dementia, behavior may be worse at night when tired, stressed by the demands of the day, or maybe confused by a decrease in light. Try to establish rituals of going to bed and away from the noise of television, meals, cleaning, and active family members. Leave lights on at night to prevent disorientation. Limiting coffee during the day, avoiding daytime naps, and exercising during the day can help prevent nighttime restlessness.

Create a plan

Develop a comprehensive plan to define goals for care as well as the various support agencies, care centers, counselors and therapists, legal and other family members. families can help achieve these goals.

What this process may or may not be, a person with dementia can be involved in a number of things and the caregiver considers are:

What is the long-term prognosis and what is the treatment plan?

Is it possible to live independently? If not, will be cared for in the family or nursing home?

Need help with things like meal preparation, daily cleaning, and medication?

If independent or semi-independent living is not possible, who will be the primary caregiver?

Drive? Should I continue?

Safety issues, such as installing safe bedding and bathrooms and removing or securing knives and dangerous substances or other objects, need to be addressed?

Is support available through care centers, in nursing homes, homes, or other agencies?

Remember that the disease will progress over time, and care needs to be adjusted as symptoms change and progress. People with dementia should be encouraged to continue their normal activities as long as they are safe and do not cause frustration or confusion. Social and physical activity helps maintain health.

Alternative medicine

Be careful when considering alternatives to avoid or slow the progression of dementia, especially if other medications are taken. Dietary supplements, vitamins, and herbal remedies are not regulated and claims of their benefits are often based on personal testimonials rather than scientific studies. Some of the more popular alternatives for Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia are:

Vitamin E. Some studies have shown that vitamin E can slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease, while other studies have shown no benefit. Doctors warn against taking large doses of vitamin E, especially if you're taking blood thinners because of the increased risk of bleeding.

Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 is a polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) found in fish and nuts. Research has found certain types of omega-3s reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, dementia, dementia, and cognitive decline. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows the supplement. The FDA recommends taking no more than 3 grams of DHA or EPA total per day, and no more than 2 grams from supplements. Theories as to why omega-3s may affect dementia risk include its benefits for the heart and blood vessels, anti-inflammatory effects, and support and protection of nerve cell membranes. terrible. Preliminary evidence also suggests that omega-3s may help reduce symptoms of depression. This is because it is an essential nutrient for brain function.

Coenzyme Q10. This antioxidant occurs naturally in the body and is necessary for normal cellular reactions. This compound has not been found to be effective in the treatment of dementia. A synthetic version of this compound called idebenone has been tested for Alzheimer's disease but has not shown favorable results. Little is known about what is considered a safe dosage, and too much can lower blood pressure, drop blood sugar, or cause bruising or bleeding.

Ginkgo. Some people believe that extracts from the leaves of the ginkgo Biloba plant have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may help slow the progression of problems associated with dementia. However, a recent large-scale study showed no benefit. Be aware that preparations can interact with blood thinners and cause bleeding.

Huperzine A. Made from a Chinese moss, Huperzine A works in a similar way to a prescription cholinesterase inhibitor. Because of the increased risk of toxic side effects, do not take Huperzine A if taking a prescription cholinesterase inhibitor.

Coping and supporting

Receiving a diagnosis of dementia with dementia can be devastating for you and your loved ones. Many things need to be considered to ensure that you are well prepared to deal with an unpredictable and constantly changing problem.

Take care of your emotions

As the disease progresses, a range of emotions can be experienced. Some things you can do to help yourself cope are:

Keep a journal of your feelings and experiences.

Join a local support group.

Get some advice.

Talking to another person can help mentally.

Stay in touch and share your feelings with loved ones and family.

Join an online community of people with similar experiences.

Help with dementia

A person can help cope with this illness by listening, being reassured that life can still be enjoyed, providing unconditional love, and doing the best to help retain dignity and self-esteem.

Carer support

Caring for a person with dementia is physically and emotionally demanding. Usually, the primary carer is a spouse or family member. Feelings of anger and guilt, frustration and depression, anxiety and grief, and social isolation are common. If you are a carer for someone with dementia, you can help by:

Ask relatives or other family members for help when needed.

Health care.

Learn as much about the disease as you can.

Ask questions from doctors, social workers, and others involved in your loved one's care.

Join a support group.


Although research is still ongoing, steps can be taken to prevent or delay the onset of dementia.

Keep your mind active. Mentally stimulating activities can increase the ability to cope with or compensate for the changes associated with dementia. This includes things like puzzles and word games, learning a language, playing an instrument, reading, writing, painting, or drawing. Not only can these activities delay the onset of dementia, which can also help reduce its effects, but the more frequent activities are also likely to have beneficial effects.

Physical and social activities. Physical and social activity can delay the onset of dementia and also reduce its symptoms. The more frequent the activity has its more significant effects. Examples of physical activities include walking, swimming, and dancing. Social activities include traveling, watching movies and art exhibitions, and playing cards or games.

Reduce homocysteine ​​levels. Research shows that high doses of the B vitamins - folic acid, B - 6, and B - 12, help lower homocysteine ​​and slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease.

Reduce cholesterol levels. The plaque that occurs in the brains of people with high cholesterol is one of the causes of vascular dementia. So lowering cholesterol levels can help prevent this condition. Statin drugs help lower cholesterol levels, which may also help reduce the risk of developing dementia.

Control diabetes. Controlling diabetes can reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia.

Lower blood pressure. Keeping blood pressure in the normal range can significantly reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia.

Maintain thinking. People who spent more time thinking had lower rates of mental decline, even when they had brain abnormalities. Researchers think thinking can help the brain develop a strong network of neurons that compensate for neuronal damage caused by Alzheimer's disease.

Maintain a healthy diet. Eating a healthy diet is important for many reasons, but studies show that a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and omega-3 fatty acids commonly found in certain fish and nuts, can have a protective effect and reduces the risk of developing dementia and dementia.

Vaccination. People who are vaccinated against avian flu, tetanus, diphtheria, and polio have a significantly reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease, so vaccination may have a protective effect against developing dementia.