One of the worst diseases: what is dementia, and how to prevent it

One of the worst diseases: what is dementia, and how to prevent it

Dementia is a severe brain disease characterized by a gradual degradation of memory, thinking, cognitive activity and practical skills. At the same time, the patient himself does not experience any particular suffering associated with the development of the disease, since he practically does not realize what is happening. But the consequences are fully felt by the relatives of the patient and others. But how exactly is senile dementia proceeding, and is it possible to fight it? All answers are here.

Causes of Dementia and Difference from Alzheimer's Disease

The word "dementia" is taken from the Latin language, and it means "madness" or "dementia." Indeed, dementia is often called just senile dementia or senile marasmus.

The causes of dementia have not yet been fully identified, that is, scientists are still unable to make an unequivocal conclusion that this disease causes it with 100% accuracy.But in general, it is known that dementia is the result of organic damage to the central nervous system, which, in turn, destroys the cells of the cerebral cortex. The destruction of cells entails the loss of substances that are simply necessary for the transmission of nerve impulses.

This may be an independent disease (Alzheimer's disease, Pick's disease, dementia with Levi's bodies), or a secondary effect from other diseases, which include:

  • traumatic brain injury;
  • CNS tumors;
  • endocrine pathology, thyroid disease;
  • diabetes;
  • renal / hepatic impairment;
  • hypertonic disease;
  • stroke and other cardiovascular diseases;
  • atherosclerosis of the brain;
  • multiple sclerosis;
  • chronic meningitis;
  • viral encephalitis;
  • AIDS;
  • neurosyphilis;
  • alcoholism;
  • overweight,
  • low physical activity,
    and some other internal and infectious diseases and conditions.

Separately, we will focus on the difference between senile dementia and Alzheimer's disease, which is often interested in the relatives of patients, because their symptoms are very similar.In fact, Alzheimer's disease is one of the most common causes of senile dementia. However, not every dementia is caused by Alzheimer's - a number of diseases that we have listed above may be a cause.

Signs of senile dementia

  • The first and most prominent sign is the appearance of memory impairment. First of all, short-term memory suffers, in which the patient does not remember recent events, conversations and details, forgets new information, but over time and long-term memory begins to fail.

  • The next warning sign is disorientation in time and space. The person begins to have difficulty understanding what day it is, a month or even a year, especially after waking up. He sometimes does not understand where he is, and he is capable of getting lost even in a familiar area of ​​the city, which used to know like the back of his hand.
  • A sign of dementia is the unwillingness to learn anything new, which is a sad consequence of the brain's inability to process and assimilate new knowledge. That is, a person not only cannot understand, say, the management of a new multicooker, or refuses to read a book,because he didn't like the first chapter. He initially does not want to master household appliances, and initially does not want to read a book. And in general, the ability to read, write and account is weakened.
  • Also, a person ceases to critically evaluate reality, becomes almost incapable of planning something in advance, cannot assess himself objectively. He may have hallucinations, he begins to invent tales, which actually did not occur.

All of the above symptoms begin to appear gradually and at different times, but with the course of the disease only intensifies.

Stages of senile dementia

In general, the symptoms of senile dementia can be divided into three main stages:

  • At the first stage, the patient already has a memory disorder, a decrease in intellectual activity, but for the most part he is aware of his illness, retains the ability to critically evaluate himself and, if explained to him, understands that he needs help. Physically, such a patient is still strong, he can move on his own, serve himself, prepare food, dress, wash and do other familiar things.

  • In the second stage, impaired memory and intelligence become more pronounced and destructive. The patient gradually ceases to perceive his illness critically. He begins to forget how to use household appliances and other everyday things, can forget to close the door, turn off the gas and water, he can go outside in his pajamas, drag home trash from the street or from the garbage can. Memory failures happen more often, there is a distrust of loved ones and aggression. Already at this stage, patients with senile dementia can be dangerous for themselves and for society.

  • The third stage is characterized by enhanced disintegration of the patient's personality. They no longer recognize their relatives, although there are rare enlightenments in memory, they cannot eat, perform hygiene by themselves, lose their ability to move, then chew and swallow. Gradually, there are difficulties with speech and logical thinking. Sleep disrupted. The patient behaves apathetic, sometimes experiencing outbreaks of aggression. He does not always feel cold, hunger and thirst, forgets that he has already eaten, or vice versa, that he has not eaten yet. Such patients are almost impossible to leave alone, they require constant care.

Summarizing the above, we advise you to consult a doctor if your loved ones or yourself:

  • you are not always well-versed in space and time, have a feeling of being lost after waking up, especially when you fell asleep during the day;
  • it has become more difficult for you to move, walk up stairs, climb into a bath, read;
  • you feel constant apathy, neglect your favorite things before, do not want to communicate with family and friends anymore;
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    began to forget some recent events, and repeated in stories about the past;
  • periodically experiencing visual distortion, it is difficult for you to say at what distance a particular object is located;
  • become restless, irritable, easily flare up;
  • do not like even the slightest change, furious, when the object disappears from the usual place, but you yourself like to constantly touch objects, shift them to and fro;
  • it seems to you that the relatives who came to visit you have robbed you, took away your money, want to take away your house, even if they just decided to help you with the housework;
  • you have difficulty in communication, you forget the words, you cannot remember the usual names of everyday objects, calling them “this”, “this thing” and in other words;
  • habitual activities like cooking or cleaning began to take much longer from you;
  • they began to spend money just like that, without much sense, you were easily deceived by fraudsters;
  • you began to forget the way to familiar places.

Who can suffer from dementia

Unfortunately, nobody is completely protected from the disease. As the observations of doctors and scientists show, older people most often suffer from senile dementia of different kinds, aged 65 years and over. About 2-3 times more often senile dementia occurs in women than in men.

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But this does not mean that only elderly people can suffer from dementia. The first signs of dementia sometimes manifest in people from 40 years and only to 60 finally progress and become pronounced. You can get sick in 50 years. But on average between the appearance of early signs of dementia and death from the effects of senile dementia passes from 2 to 10 years.

If a person is too quick-tempered, emotional and prone toneurotic conditionsespecially when it is a woman, the risk of getting a diagnosis of dementia increases.

Heredityplays a significant role.At 4-5 times the risk of developing dementia is greater for those people whose parents and other relatives also suffered from this disease. Especially susceptible to hereditary dementia are those whose relatives showed the first signs of dementia under 65 years of age. Such people need with special diligence and responsibility to treat how to avoid dementia, and what to do.

Is there a cure?

If signs of dementia have already appeared, then it will be impossible to stop this process. But it can be facilitated, to slow down its course, significantly delaying the transition to a difficult stage.

If you think that you or your loved ones have symptoms of dementia, you will be helped by a general practitioner or therapist who will then give you a referral to a specific specialist, be it a neuropsychologist, a psychiatrist, a neurologist or a geriatrist - a specialist who deals with the diseases of old age. After that, the patient is waiting for a number of tests and tests that will determine whether he has dementia, if so, which one, and at what stage. At the same time, the patient’s close relatives will also be asked to fill out a questionnaire.

In order to accurately determine the diagnosis, make the final verdict and prescribe the appropriate drugs to alleviate and inhibit the patient's illness, you need to be seen at the doctor for a certain time (sometimes up to six months).

Why dementia is not only the problem of the patient

We have already said that the more the disease progresses, the more dangerous it becomes for people and for those around them. For him constantly need to look after and care. At the last stage, patients often lose the ability to move and even swallow, therefore, without special care, such a patient will simply die from hunger, thirst and pressure sores. It is clear that in this case, the entire burden of caring for such a patient is shifted to close relatives.

Abroad, it is quite commonplace to place elderly parents in a nursing home specializing in people with dementia. There for the elderly there are all conditions for care, 4-5 meals a day, walks, medical procedures, consultations with a psychologist.

There are similar boarding houses and we have. But besides the ethical side of the question, when children are experiencing whether such an act is not cowardice on their part, its cost is an obstacle to keeping a patient in a nursing home.On average, the cheapest cost of a monthly stay in such a boarding house in a 4-bed room is about 8,000 UAH or 17,000 rubles, and this does not include consumables such as drugs, diapers, diapers, gloves, etc. Therefore, most take the responsibility to care for the sick themselves or hire caregivers. But here there are some problems.

In severe stages, patients need to be looked at almost every hour: to be fed on time, in specific cases, given the lack of ability to swallow and chew for food, wash the patient, take for a walk if the ability to walk, massage and disinfect the skin so that no bedsores form, change diapers or a diaper, change clothes, give medicines on time, communicate with them, etc. Not every nurse, in principle, is able to cope with such tasks, and not every conscientious person will carry them out. And the one that will most likely require a corresponding fee for its services, which will also hit the wallet of loved ones.

Another way out is to look after the old man yourself. But for this you need to either work at home or quit your job, because leaving only in the morning and in the evening will not be enough, and anything can happen during your absence.And how to quit work if you are the only working family member? There is a real dilemma in front of loved ones.

  • On the Internet, you can find many stories of those whose relatives suffer from dementia. Most of them are in real despair. They had to quit their job completely, or change a good high-paying position to one where there is a more convenient schedule, but a meager salary. Someone had to leave everything and move from a big city to a native backwater to care for parents. In a word, life was divided into “before” and “after”, and obviously not for the better.

But the most difficult thing psychologically is not even the rejection of dreams and life goals, but the actual loss of parents. After all, often due to illness, they become completely alien people: they do not recognize their own children, take them as strangers, get offended, shout, and do not understand that they are doing something wrong. This is a terrible test - to look at a dear person, degrading, helpless and fading, which cannot even remember you, or does it every time with great difficulty.

However, although the methods of treating dementia have not yet been invented, this horror can be initially prevented.Certain groups of people who care about their health and lifestyle reduce the risks to a minimum and die in old age with a clear mind and memory.

How to avoid dementia

If you also want to stay in good memory until the end of your days, in order not to become a burden for your loved ones, we advise you to carefully reconsider your diet and attitude to health. First of all, it concerns those who are in a particular risk group: the presence of diseases from the list above, heredity, neurosis, overweight, sedentary lifestyle, addiction to alcohol and smoking, even passive.

So, what will save you from senile dementia:

Food habits

We are what we eat, so you should not underestimate the effect of nutrition on our physical and mental state. Scientists have even found a diet that protects brain cells and supports human intellectual abilities: eating fish, seafood, fruits and vegetables, olive oil, nuts, cereals, greens, legumes, and sometimes livestock and poultry meat, but not every day, eggs - also not every day - as well as dairy products and low-fat cheese.

From confectionery, baking, fatty, smoked, fried food should be abandoned, and instead of coffee to drink green tea and water.

Sports activities

Proper nutrition alone will not save your brain if your physical activity is at zero. Therefore, set aside for sports at least 20 minutes daily, and this does not include regular walking or housework. This refers to activities such as running, jumping, aerobics, fitness, yoga - choose what you like best, most importantly, do not shirk, because your health is for you.

Striving for new

To keep the brain young and healthy, you need to maintain its plasticity. To do this, you need to give it a load, supply it with new tasks.

Unfortunately, the repetition of already known information and lazy perception of the finished, “chewed”, like the one that is being given to us on TV, for example, does not belong to such tasks. You need classes that will make you think, analyze, study, process information again, that is, produce it yourself, and not reproduce it.

Among such activities, scientists particularly highlight the study of foreign languages ​​and learning to play musical instruments.It is this type of mental activity that allows the formation of new neural connections in the brain. It is also useful to solve puzzles and crosswords of a high level of complexity, read literature, take online courses and engage in self-education in another way, and also communicate with people of unfamiliar professions.

It is important to visit new places, and it is not necessary to travel, if there is no such opportunity, but simply to explore your own city. In short, you need to challenge yourself and leave the comfort zone.

Healthy sleep

During sleep, our body is restored and cleansed, and this applies to the brain too. Lack of sleep leads to the development of many diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, reduced immunity and frequent acute respiratory infections, neuroses and obesity. And senile dementia is often attached to this bouquet in the future. Therefore, you should sleep at least 7 hours a day, and preferably 8-9.

Active social life

Scientists have found a connection between shyness, stiffness and closeness of people and the risk of dementia. Those people who often communicate with friends, colleagues and neighbors suffer from dementia much less often.At the same time, lonely and simply self-contained people have dementia more often. Therefore, remember that communication not only saves us from being alone, but also supports our intellectual abilities.

We urge you to think carefully about this problem and not to assume that your family will not be affected, for the number of people with dementia in the world is only growing. Follow the food of yourself and your loved ones, play sports, learn something new, find a hobby, communicate with people and get to know the world. And then even in old age, memory and mind will not leave you.

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  • One of the worst diseases: what is dementia, and how to prevent it

    One of the worst diseases: what is dementia, and how to prevent it

    One of the worst diseases: what is dementia, and how to prevent it

    One of the worst diseases: what is dementia, and how to prevent it

    One of the worst diseases: what is dementia, and how to prevent it

    One of the worst diseases: what is dementia, and how to prevent it

    One of the worst diseases: what is dementia, and how to prevent it

    One of the worst diseases: what is dementia, and how to prevent it

    One of the worst diseases: what is dementia, and how to prevent it

    One of the worst diseases: what is dementia, and how to prevent it

    One of the worst diseases: what is dementia, and how to prevent it

    One of the worst diseases: what is dementia, and how to prevent it

    One of the worst diseases: what is dementia, and how to prevent it

    One of the worst diseases: what is dementia, and how to prevent it

    One of the worst diseases: what is dementia, and how to prevent it

    One of the worst diseases: what is dementia, and how to prevent it

    One of the worst diseases: what is dementia, and how to prevent it

    One of the worst diseases: what is dementia, and how to prevent it

    One of the worst diseases: what is dementia, and how to prevent it

    One of the worst diseases: what is dementia, and how to prevent it

    One of the worst diseases: what is dementia, and how to prevent it

    One of the worst diseases: what is dementia, and how to prevent it

    One of the worst diseases: what is dementia, and how to prevent it

    One of the worst diseases: what is dementia, and how to prevent it

    One of the worst diseases: what is dementia, and how to prevent it

    One of the worst diseases: what is dementia, and how to prevent it

    One of the worst diseases: what is dementia, and how to prevent it

    One of the worst diseases: what is dementia, and how to prevent it

    One of the worst diseases: what is dementia, and how to prevent it

    One of the worst diseases: what is dementia, and how to prevent it

    One of the worst diseases: what is dementia, and how to prevent it

    One of the worst diseases: what is dementia, and how to prevent it

    One of the worst diseases: what is dementia, and how to prevent it

    One of the worst diseases: what is dementia, and how to prevent it

    One of the worst diseases: what is dementia, and how to prevent it

    One of the worst diseases: what is dementia, and how to prevent it

    One of the worst diseases: what is dementia, and how to prevent it

    One of the worst diseases: what is dementia, and how to prevent it

    One of the worst diseases: what is dementia, and how to prevent it

    One of the worst diseases: what is dementia, and how to prevent it

    One of the worst diseases: what is dementia, and how to prevent it

    One of the worst diseases: what is dementia, and how to prevent it

    One of the worst diseases: what is dementia, and how to prevent it

    One of the worst diseases: what is dementia, and how to prevent it

    One of the worst diseases: what is dementia, and how to prevent it

    One of the worst diseases: what is dementia, and how to prevent it

    One of the worst diseases: what is dementia, and how to prevent it

    One of the worst diseases: what is dementia, and how to prevent it