In recent years, more older adults have been experiencing dementia. Let us first define what dementia is so we can understand it more. Dementia is a condition where you experience a decline in your mental abilities, impacting your daily life. It can lead to difficulties with memory, thinking, and planning. The progression of dementia varies from person to person, with some individuals remaining stable for years, while others may experience a rapid decline.The important point is prevention for dementia and what one can do to manage it. Prevention for dementia can be easily acquired if we do some activities that will be mentioned in this article.
Causes of Dementia
Past studies have explored the causes of this disease. Are you living with Dementia?, Then you need to know the common causes and types of dementia which are:
- Alzheimer’s Dementia, also referred to as Major Neurocognitive Disorder due to Alzheimer’s disease
- Vascular Dementia
- Parkinson’s Dementia
- Frontotemporal Dementia
- Lewy Body Dementia
There are also less common causes of dementia which includes:
- Dementia due to Multiple Etiologies
- Dementia due to Traumatic Brain Injury
- Dementia due to Another Medical Condition
- Dementia due to Substance/Medication Use
- Dementia due to HIV Infection
- Huntington’s Dementia
- Dementia due to Prion Disease
This was discussed by Dr Rathi Mahendran at our Living with Dementia webinar: “Am I at risk of Dementia?”
Types of Dementia
The types of dementia can be seen below together with their brief description:
|Type of Dementia||Brief Description|
|Huntington’s Disease||Huntington’s disease is a brain problem where brain cells break down, causing emotional changes, loss of thinking abilities, and uncontrolled movements.|
|Vascular Dementia||Often times due to impacted blood vessels in the brain. Vascular dementia is the second most common cause of dementia, often caused by brain damage from strokes or heart-related issues, and it can sometimes happen alongside Alzheimer’s disease, mainly affecting older adults.|
|Parkinson’s Dementia||Starts with Parkinson’s disease and later leads to Dementia.|
|Dementia with Lewy Bodies||Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is a common progressive dementia, often occurring without a family history. It involves cell damage in the brain’s cortex and midbrain, with abnormal structures called Lewy bodies containing a protein called alpha-synuclein, but the exact reason for their accumulation is not yet understood.|
|Frontotemporal Dementia||Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a group of brain diseases that affect nerve cells in the frontal and temporal lobes. Unlike Alzheimer’s, it often doesn’t involve amyloid plaques, and it can be genetic, with symptoms starting between 40 and 65 years old, lasting around 5 to 10 years on average.|
|Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus||In the brain, there are chambers called ventricles that hold fluid called cerebrospinal fluid. Sometimes, too much fluid gathers in these chambers, causing a condition called normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH).|
|Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease||CJD is a rare and deadly brain disorder that typically starts after age 60, with most patients passing away within a year. It’s thought to be caused by abnormal proteins called prions, and while most cases occur randomly, a small percentage can be hereditary, but it’s not contagious through the air or casual contact.|
|Corticobasal Degeneration||Corticobasal degeneration (CBD) is a brain problem where nerve cells die and certain brain areas shrink. People with CBD have abnormal stuff in their brain cells called tau protein. It slowly gets worse over about 6 to 8 years.|
|Mild Cognitive Impairment||Mild cognitive impairment is when you have some memory and thinking problems, but they don’t affect your daily life. It’s not a specific disease and can have many different causes, like dementia.|
Prevention For Dementia
Now the questions are how can one with dementia be treated and the prevention of dementia. There are two ways in which dementia can be treated but these are mostly considered preventive measures and not cures.
Firstly there is the use of medications. Medications can’t completely cure dementia, but they can be used to slow it down a bit. These drugs might make your thinking better, improve your mood, or help you behave in a more positive way.
Secondly, there is one called Palliative care which is for seriously ill people. It’s not about curing the illness but making life better in body, mind, and spirit. The care may include:
- Ways to help the person do things on their own and handle daily life for as long as they can.
- Medicines can’t cure dementia, but they might make thinking better, mood happier, or behavior calmer.
- When you’re diagnosed with dementia, it can bring up emotions like anger and fear. To help with these feelings, talk to family, friends, or a dementia counsellor. They can give you support and guidance during this challenging time.
Dementia treatment helps keep the person safe at home with caregiver support. Check-ups every few months to watch their medicine and how they’re doing. If necessary, the family might think about a special care place later on. Also there is an opportunity to survive, contact NUS Mind Science Centre to know more about How To Prevent Dementia Singapore!
How to prevent dementia is a common question among old age people. It can be a bit tricky because we don’t always know exactly what causes it. But for some people who have dementia linked to strokes, there’s a chance to slow down the decline by reducing the risks of heart disease and more strokes in the future. And guess what? These strategies aren’t just for them – they can be good for anyone’s overall health:
How To Prevent Dementia Naturally
- Stay Active: Moving your body with regular exercise, like walking, swimming, or dancing, can help keep your brain and body in good shape.
- Eat Well: A healthy diet full of fruits, veggies, whole grains, and lean proteins can give your brain and body the fuel they need.
- Keep Your Heart Healthy: Since heart health is connected to brain health, try to manage your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels.
- Stay Social: Being around friends and family, and staying engaged with activities you enjoy, can help your brain stay active and sharp.
- Challenge Your Brain: Keep your mind busy with puzzles, reading, learning new things, or even playing games.
- Get Enough Sleep: A good night’s sleep helps your brain and body recover and stay healthy.
- Manage Stress: Find ways to relax and reduce stress, like through meditation, deep breathing, or hobbies you enjoy.
Remember, these steps can’t guarantee you won’t get dementia, but they can help improve your overall well-being and reduce certain risks. In conclusion, dementia is a complex condition that mainly affects older individuals. While there is no cure, treatments aim to slow it down and improve the well-being of patients and caregivers. Within the broader context of dementia, prevention for dementia plays a crucial role. Particularly in cases related to strokes, understanding how to prevent dementia is vital. Strategies such as staying active, eating well, and taking care of heart health can contribute significantly to this prevention effort. As ongoing research provides hope for better treatments, it further emphasises the importance of enhancing the lives of people with dementia and supporting their caregivers.