Dementia - Shielding the Brain from Memory Loss
By Nilutpal Gogoi
Dementia refers to multiple sets of ailments and not to any specific set(s) of causes. Dementia basically causes damage to the brain and leads to a slow decrease of the cognitive functioning of the brain. Dementia can be caused by scarcity of oxygenated blood flow, minerals, glucose and vitamins to the brain and as a result of which there is a rise in toxins inside the brain.
A person affected by dementia suffers from a gradual loss of memory which then also affects that patient's ability to solve problems, speak and even use language. Therefore, dementia adversely affects important functions of a person like motor skills, comprehension, and executive functioning. Such a patient fails to identify the daily items that he/she may have been using regularly, takes too much of time to react to normal situations, and more often than not is at a loss of words.
Usually the elderly people suffer from dementia. Depending on the nature of the disability, dementia can be reversed or if it reaches an advanced stage becomes totally irreversible.
Dementia leads to a metamorphosis in the personality or in the behavior of the person concerned. More often than not, the first symptom of dementia is the syndrome of delirium. Researches have shown that patients who may have experienced some sad incidents may ultimately suffer from dementia.
Elderly persons suffering from dementia react nervously to such states as loneliness. They experience acute changes in appetite, and are prone to dehydration. The physiological changes and psychological pressures further accentuate the dementia syndrome.
Dementia diagnosis is done by specialists like a neurologist, a geriatric psychiatrist or a geriatric internist. Short examinations extending to at the most 20 minutes can analyze the cognitive condition of a patient. Mention may be made of the AMTS (Abbreviated mental test score) and the MMSE (Mini mental state examination). If the AMTS delivers less than six score and an MMSE test yields a below 24 score, the experts generally treat the case as serious and may even call for more examinations of the patient. The psychologists then check out the antecedents of the patients and also try to find out if any untoward incident accentuated the dementia state.
Regular blood tests provide the cue to the physicians to find out the ailments that can be cured through medications. The blood tests for dementia are for folic acid, vitamin B12, TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone), blood count (full), C-reactive protein, calcium, electrolytes, liver enzymes and renal function. Such tests help the doctor to diagnose the disease and also go a long way in suggesting the ideal medications. This step is helpful in curing vitamin deficiency and probable infections besides other factors which may lead to disorientation or confusion among the aged persons. Alcoholic misuse can also lead to the dementia state in the long run.
Nilutpal Gogoi is a writer and a freelance journalist having more than 18 years of service in several audio-visual and print media reputed organizations in North East India. He has published one popular adventure book for children and has published more than 1000 articles for various sites, as such