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Dementia

Mostly, though not exclusively, occurring in the geriatric population, the various forms of dementia are usually the result of damage to brain cells. Which cells are damaged will often determine the type of dementia which occurs - common types include Alzheimers, Parkinson’s Disease, Vascular Dementia and Huntington’s Disease, among others.

While individual symptoms vary greatly, the overarching ones are much the same. Memory loss, impaired reasoning abilities and judgement, communication difficulties and wavering focus and visual perception are all hallmarks of dementia. These symptoms are typically progressive as well, making an early diagnosis critical to treatment and management. In cases where the disease has progressed significantly, the sufferer will often require relocation to a home for the elderly or other care facility as living alone will no longer be a viable option.

Unfortunately, treatments for dementia still require a lot more research for true effectiveness. There are drugs known to help alleviate some types of dementia, and some other psychotherapies may slow the symptoms’ progression but a true cure remains elusive. Prevention techniques are mostly built with the aim of maintaining good brain health. Among the popular recommendations are regular physical exercise, not smoking and maintaining a diet with focus on whole grains, fruits and vegetables, nuts and fish1 to keep blood pressure and cholesterol stable as well as allowing the brain enough oxygen and blood flow to remain healthy.

 

 

Reference:

1. Alzheimer's Association (). What is Dementia?. [ONLINE] Available at: www.alz.org/what-is-dementia.asp. [Last Accessed 13.12.13].

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