Health Life: Memory Loss And Dementia

by Duke Magazine

Dementia is a general term used to describe a deterioration in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life. A typical example is memory loss (Amnesia), and Alzheimer is the most common type of dementia.

However, Dementia is not disease-specific, as it is a comprehensive term used to describe a group of symptoms associated with a memory diminishing which can pose a great difficulty on person’s daily performance. 

Meanwhile, Alzheimer’s disease accounts for between 60 and 80 percent of cases. Vascular dementia, which occurs after a stroke, is the second most common dementia type. But there are many other conditions that can cause symptoms of dementia, including some that are reversible, such as thyroid problems and vitamin deficiencies.

Dementia is most times wrongly referred to as “senility” or “senile dementia,” which reflects the formerly widespread, but a myth that serious mental decline is a normal part of aging.

Signs and symptoms

There is a relative effect of Dementia on an individual, which is dependent on the the severity of the disease and the person’s wellbeing prior to being ill. 

The signs and symptoms linked to dementia can be understood in three stages.

Early stage: the early stage of dementia is often than not overlooked, because the beginning is gradual. The common symptoms include:

  • forgetfulness
  • losing track of the time
  • becoming lost in familiar places

Middle stage: as dementia progresses to the middle stage, the signs and symptoms get obvious and more restricting. These include:

  • becoming forgetful of recent events and people’s names
  • becoming lost at home
  • having increasing difficulty with communication
  • needing help with personal care
  • experiencing behavioral changes, including wandering and repetitive inquisitiveness

Late stage: the late stage of dementia is one of near total dependence and inactivity. Memory disturbances are serious and the physical signs and symptoms become more obvious. Its symptoms include:

  • becoming unaware of the time and place
  • having difficulty recognizing relatives and friends
  • having an increasing need for assisted self-care
  • having difficulty walking
  • experiencing behavioral changes that may escalate and include aggression


Dementia is widely caused by damage to brain cells. This damage then interferes with the ability of brain cells to effectively communicate with each other. When brain cells cannot communicate normally, thinking, behavior and feelings can be affected.

The brain has many distinct regions, each of which is responsible for different functions (for example, memory, judgment and movement). When cells in a particular region are damaged, that region cannot carry out its functions normally.

Different types of dementia are associated with particular types of brain cell damage in particular regions of the brain. For example, in Alzheimer’s disease, high levels of certain proteins inside and outside brain cells make it hard for brain cells to stay healthy and to communicate with each other.

The brain region called the hippocampus is the center of learning and memory in the brain, and the brain cells in this region are often the first to be damaged. That’s why memory loss is often one of the earliest symptoms of Alzheimer’s. While most changes in the brain that cause dementia are irreversible and worsen over time, thinking and memory problems caused by the following conditions may improve when the condition is adequately treated:

  • Depression
  • Medication side effects
  • Excess use of alcohol
  • Thyroid problems
  • Vitamin deficiencies

Treatment and care

There is currently no cure for dementia or to alter its growing course. Nevertheless, there has been several new treatments  being investigated in various stages of clinical trials.

However, much can be offered to support and improve the lives of people living with dementia and their carers and families. The principal goals for dementia care are:

·  early diagnosis in order to promote early and optimal management

·  optimizing physical health, cognition, activity and well-being

·  identifying and treating accompanying physical illness

·  detecting and treating challenging behavioral and psychological symptoms

·  providing information and long-term support to carers

Conclusively, Dementia often leads to the depression, and which inadvertently results to death of the patients. People suffering from Dementia must always be shown lots of love and attention to get happiness in the face of their dark state of mind.

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