A well-balanced diet, exercise, and routine checkups by your doctor will help you live a healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, certain medical conditions may arise even while following recommendations from your doctor. Considering there are 9.9 million new cases of dementia each year, understanding this emotionally and physically debilitating disease is essential. You may associate dementia with a severe loss of memory, but this condition can affect the patient and family members. With this guide, you will learn a few surprising facts about dementia to help you understand the disease better.
Dementia is a term that defines brain diseases related to memory loss and decreased cognitive skills. Most people are surprised to hear there are a few different types of dementia. Alzheimer's disease is the most common form, but the following are other types of dementia:
- Mixed Dementia
- Lewy Body Dementia
- Parkinson's Disease
- Huntington's Disease
Each form of dementia involves a decrease in brain function. However, the severity will depend on a few factors, including a person's underlying health, genetics, and the specific type of dementia.
Many people believe dementia can affect anyone at any time. This is partially true, since there is no effective way to determine if a person is going to develop dementia in the future. Understanding what traits and behaviors increase the risk of developing the disease is beneficial.
As a person ages, the risk of developing dementia increases, which is why more elderly suffer from memory disorders compared to younger individuals.
Genetics also plays a large role in determining who develops dementia. If one or more family member has a form of dementia, you may inherit the disease.
Certain medical conditions can place you at a higher risk of developing the disease. Improperly-treated diabetes increases the risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease, which leads to vascular dementia. Also, patients with atherosclerosis, a condition involving high levels of cholesterol that thickens blood vessels, may suffer from a stroke that damages the brain and increases the risk of dementia.
Depression and excessive consumption of alcohol can also cause inflammation in the brain, which may lead to memory loss and various types of dementia.
Leading Cause of Death
According to the Alzheimer's Association, the disease is the 6th leading cause of death. The disease of the brain has claimed more lives than heart disease, cancer, stroke, and car accidents.
In addition to being in the top 10 causes of death, Alzheimer's disease is also the only disease that cannot be prevented, treated, or slowed down.
Numerous scientific studies are currently being conducted in hopes of developing a vaccine to prevent or treat dementia. Medications are being used to manage symptoms of dementia, so scientists are hopeful that a vaccine will be completed. This may be alarming to hear, especially if you or a family member has recently been diagnosed with the disease, but remaining hopeful is important.
Early Diagnosis Is Helpful
Even though there is no treatment for the disease, diagnosing dementia early is beneficial. Once you learn you or a family member has a form of dementia, you will be able to plan accordingly.
Many of the symptoms can be managed using medications, which can improve your quality of life as you or your loved one progresses through the stages of the disease.
Also, an early diagnosis allows you to spend quality time with loved ones before the disease becomes more severe. Be sure to use this time to make decisions and legal arrangements based on your medical, financial, and personal needs.
Dementia is a serious condition that requires full understanding. Using this guide and your doctor's help, you will learn some facts about this debilitating disease.