Papa was the strongest man I have ever known. He was my rock. As a young girl, I always looked forward to his return from work. You know that special bond between daughters and fathers. Ours was truly special, which made my brothers jealous sometimes. Papa showered us with care and love through out childhood till recently. We are now adults, and my brother and I are doing well for ourselves; then the unexpected began to happen. Papa couldn’t recognise me nor remember my name. I was broken.
Initially, Papa began to fall ill frequently which we attributed to old age wherein more medical care was needed. We decided Papa should move in with me. Regretfully, we didn’t seek out expert medical advice and we just gave him drugs for him to get better. After a while, he couldn’t recollect details of recent discussions. Then it got bad that he could neither remember his children’s names or faces of grandchildren especially my daughter who played with him all the time. Finally, we had to go to the hospital. Alas! Our fears were confirmed-Papa had dementia!
So, What’s DEMENTIA?
Now, follow me lets read through this dementia series.
Dementia refers to a clinical syndrome characterised by progressive cognitive decline that interferes with the ability to function independently.
In simpler English, dementia refers to a group of associated symptoms which involves a decrease or reduction in the memory-ability to remember, thinking, reasoning, orientation, learning capacity and judgement, all of which go on to affect the behaviour and mood and also how the person functions or go about their normal daily activities. Don’t fret or get worried, it can be managed excellently especially with a focused healthcare team like the GEROCARE team.
Currently, 47 million people in the world have dementia. In fact, by the time you say DE-MEN-TIA which takes about three seconds, there’s a new case of dementia in the world, this is show you it’s a common condition and not due to widely conceived notion of witchcraft or punishment from heaven.
Not to scare you but dementia is also the seventh leading cause of death among all diseases and one of the major causes of disability and dependency among older people globally so it’s important to act fast! Click on http://www.gerocare.org
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES?
There are a lot of medical jargons involved here but in simpler terms, these are the commonest conditions that cause dementia:
-Alzheimer dementia (AD): it is the most common cause of dementia and it is responsible for 70%-80% of the cases and it can run in families or it can occur in isolation. Alzheimer dementia (AD) is caused by the deposition of abnormal proteins in the brain. There’s a genetic basis for AD so family history of dementia is an important risk factor. In fact, it is the most important risk factor as it has been shown that having a relative with AD increases the risk of developing it by 10 to 30 percent. The onset of Alzheimer’s disease is gradual and progresses slowly and there’s difficulty in recalling recent events at the initial stage. It’s also important to know that there’s an early stage and late-stage Alzheimer dementia
-Vascular dementia (VD) is responsible for about five to ten percent of dementia case. This type of dementia is related to the occurrence of stroke-the damage of blood vessels in the brain or the interruption of blood in the brain and the probability of having VD increases with age. Vascular dementia (VD) is also associated with hypertension, diabetes mellitus, smoking and having too much cholesterol in the blood (hypercholesteremia). The onset of VD could either be sudden or gradual. It involves mild memory decline in the early stage and walking or posture difficulties.
-Dementia with Lewy bodies (LBD) are caused by the abnormal aggregation of protein in the brain, Lewy body dementia is also responsible for five to ten percent of all dementia cases, it’s an often-missed diagnosis. Lewy body dementia is associated with movement or balance difficulties, changes in alertness and visual hallucinations.
-Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is the second commonest cause of dementia, it’s responsible for twenty-five percent of all dementia cases. FTD involves major personality changes and behavioural changes wherein the person embarrasses themselves or behave inappropriately.
There’s also HIV-associated dementia, Dementia could also occur in diseases like Parkinson disease, Huntington disease, progressive supranuclear palsy, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker syndrom, other prion disorders (I know the names are strange too, yeah, they are rare diseases), traumatic brain injury or certain brain tumour.
Another important fact to know us that old age is the strongest risk factor in dementia but that doesn’t mean every elderly person get to have dementia, DEMENTIA isn’t a normal aging process! Do you also know that most cases of dementia are mixed dementia-that is they have more than one cause of dementia?
So if you have that loved one with dementia, show them love. They won’t remember to come see a doctor. Let the doctor come see them. With Gerocare, we got them covered. This is what we love to do!