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What are signs and symptoms of Dementia?

Dementia is an abnormality that happens with the brain. This condition occurs as a result of a disease in the brain like Alzheimer’s disease or an injury that distorts the normal mental process of the human mind. People who have this sickness show signs of flawed reasoning, memory disturbance, and personality alterations.

According to facts, dementia is mainly found among well-aged people. Some people see it as an unavoidable effect of old age. An interesting thing to note is that it does not affect the consciousness of whoever it affects. The affected, however, might be affected by an inability to control their moods or language dumbness.

According to research, dementia is the seventh on the list of death-causing diseases globally. Also, it is listed among the leading causes of dysfunction and reliance among the old aged globally. People with dementia are often affected in different areas of their lives, ranging from the psychological to the economic, physical, and social aspects.

The effects not only occur in their lives but also to their family members, helpers, and society. Many people who do not have this condition do not understand how it feels to have dementia. Because of their lack of understanding, they tend to stigmatize people suffering from the ailment. People suffering from this condition are sometimes prevented from proper diagnosis and healthcare.

Signs and Symptoms

People experience dementia in different forms. The level and nature of the effect on every individual depend on what primarily caused the ailment, other health disorders, and mental state before the condition begins. There are three stages to dementia. They are explained below.

The Early Phase

Dementia in its early stage is usually neglected because it happens gradually. The early stage comes with signs like

  • Absent-mindedness.
  • Getting lost in well-known environments.
  • Failing to keep track of time.
Signs and Symptoms

The Mid Phase

As time goes on, dementia moves from its early stage to the middle phase. People in this stage reveal signs like

  • Losing fresh memories of events
  • Forgetting people’s names
  • Being in a state of confusion at home
  • Requiring special aid
  • Roaming and asking questions repeatedly
  • Communication difficulties

The Late Phase

The late phase of dementia subjects its victims to a state of inertness and a near-complete need for support. People in this phase always suffer from severe cases of memory dysfunction, among other symptoms which include:

  • Unawareness of their environment and time
  • Troubles with identifying family members and friends
  • Extreme need for regular assistance
  • Locomotive problems
Forms Of Dementia

Forms Of Dementia

Dementia occurs in various forms. Of all the known forms of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease is the most popular. It is known to be a significant dementia contributor during diagnoses. Apart from Alzheimer’s disease, other forms of dementia include

Lewy Body Dementia: This form of dementia occurs as an irregular accumulation of protein that evolves in the nerve cells.

Frontotemporal Dementia: This form of dementia occurs as a debasement of the brain’s frontal lobe.

The list includes vascular dementia, dementia that develops due to stroke, Human Immune Virus, alcohol abuse, CTE, nutritional shortages, and other illnesses.

The lines between different dementia forms are very thin such that their differences are not apparent. Hence, the existence of mixed states.

Dementia Rates

Studies have shown that more than 54 million people have dementia. More than half of this population lives in countries with low and medium economies. Scholars speculate that the toll should rise to about 79 million people in 2030 and 140 million in 2051.

Medication For Dementia

At the moment, there are no medications to handle dementia completely. There are prescribed anti-dementia drugs and therapies to amend disease conditions. They are mainly administered for Alzheimer’s disease, but their level of effectiveness in every area of application is shallow. However, studies are ongoing to discover treatments that can work for the condition.

 

As a substitute for medical treatments, assistance can improve their personal lives and families. The essence of this care and service is for the following purposes:

  • To improve their physical wellbeing, cognitive abilities, activities, and general wholeness.
  • To discover the disease early so they can tackle it early.
  • Discovering and dealing with associated physical ailments.
  • Learning and handling behavioural fluctuations.
  • Giving advice and lifelong assistance to them.

Possible Causes and Prevention

Age is considered the danger factor for dementia, but it is not the unavoidable effect of natural ageing. Also, dementia does not happen to only the aged ones, from 70 years and above. It can happen as young onset dementia to people below 65. Based on diagnosis and research, a discovery has it that young-onset dementia has affected about 10% of the world population.

Studies prove that planned activities like staying away from the abusive use of drugs and alcohol, physical activity, proper nutrition, keeping safe blood pressure, maintaining regulated sugar and cholesterol levels, staying away from smoking, and so on can stop the possibility of suffering from dementia. Other danger factors are poor educational background, depression, air pollution, cognitive dormancy, social withdrawal, etc.

senior woman touching face and hugging husband sick on dementia

Impacts on The Society and Economy

Dementia affects economic and social aspects of society through the costs incurred by social, informal, and medical care. The total societal cost of dementia worldwide in 2019 was more than 1.2 trillion US Dollars. There are predictions that the prices will go beyond 2.5 trillion US Dollars in 2030 because the number of dementia cases will rise, and maintenance costs will spike as well.

Impacts on Families and Caregivers

Statistics show that informal helpers in 2019 spent up to 5 hours every day caring for individuals with dementia. Pressures of different kinds, including financial, physical, and emotional stresses, burden the family members and assistants of dementia-affected people. These affected people often require support from law firms, health organizations, social structures, and financial bodies. Half of the cost of dementia in the world is associated with informal healthcare.

Unproportional Influence On Females

Unproportional Influence On Females

All over the world, dementia has an inappropriate effect on females. Many women die from dementia with a 65% rating compared to 35% men. More so, dementia patients are primarily cared for by women, with about 72% helping hours.

Human Rights Denial

It is quite saddening that people with dementia are often denied the fundamental human rights and freedom that everyone should be entitled to. The use of chemical and physical restraints in care homes for the elderly have been recorded in some countries. This is against the regulations put in place to uphold the rights to freedom and choice of everyone. 

To ensure high-quality care is provided to people with dementia and their caregivers, a supportive and appropriate legislative environment that adopts the internationally accepted standards for human rights is required.

WHO Response

The World Health Organization approved a worldwide action scheme in response to the call to assist dementia-affected individuals. The project is running from 2017 to 2025. The organization has established societies and support communities to facilitate the diagnosis, treatment, and management of the disease and its affected individuals.

The World Health Organization has made further attempts to handle the condition by outlining strategies to curb the risk of dementia development. Also, it has engaged researchers to find a means to end the disorder.