What is dementia? Types, symptoms and cure

Dementia is an overall term used to describe specific medical conditions associated with cognitive decline. These include Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease among others. Dr Rajesh Kumar a consultant psychiatrist and psychotherapist at Max Super Speciality Hospital breaks it down for you.

What is dementia?

It describes abnormal changes in the brain that negatively impacts an individual’s cognitive abilities. This can impair day-to-day functioning and quality of life. Symptoms associated include forgetfulness and problems with short-term memory, inability to remember important details and appointments,  and financial transactions. They are likely to face language difficulties and this in turn affects thinking capacity and the ability to make a proper judgement. It also restricts independent function, and impacts an individual’s feelings, emotions and relationships.

Types of dementia

Most cases are a symptom of a specific mental condition. The different types include:

  • Alzheimer’s disease

It’s the  most common type of dementia that eventually destroys an individual’s mental functions.

  • Vascular dementia

It’s caused by reduced blood flow in the brain.

  • Lewy body dementia

Protein deposits called Lewy bodies in nerve cells prevent the brain from sending chemical signals. This results in delayed reactions, lost messages and even memory loss.

  • Parkinson’s disease

Senior citizens with advanced Parkinson’s disease are at risk of developing this condition. It affects their reasoning and judgement. It can make them irritable, paranoid and can lead to depression.

Frontotemporal dementia

Changes in the front and sides of the brain can lead to this condition. It can lead to an individual facing  language difficulties and a loss of inhibitions.

Mixed dementia

It’s a condition where changes representing more than one type of dementia occur simultaneously in the brain.

Symptoms and cure

In most cases, medication is used as a way to delay the symptoms and to alleviate some of the complications associated with the condition. Mental health experts encourage people to engage in activities like logic-based games and calculations that involve brain activity. This they believe can delay its onset.