CogniFit's Science blog: Understanding Dementia

Understanding Dementia

Dementia is a disease that can cause weaken your cognitive abilities and memory. It can come on as the result of a brain injury, a long term decline in brain health or a disease in the body. Most cases of dementia exist in the 65 years and older groups.

Although rare, younger people can also suffer from dementia. Dementia does not refer to one specific disease but instead a whole range of conditions and symptoms that affect cognitive skills and abilities.

Usually, in order to be diagnosed with dementia the symptoms must persist for more than 6 months. Anything under 6 months could be considered delirium. Symptoms of dementia can be classified as either reversible or irreversible. Most cases of dementia however fall into the irreversible category. Less than 10% of dementia cases are considered reversible.

The main symptoms of dementia include memory loss, inability to learn, reason, retain or recall past experiences. Sufferers may also experience additional mental and behavioral problems that wreak havoc on their old definition of normal. As symptoms worsen there may become a need for round the clock care or even institutionalization.

Dementia may be onset by a specific event such as a head injury or it may be an ongoing disease where the decline takes place over time. To get a proper diagnosis of dementia you will need to see a specialist such as a geriatric internist or a neurologist. They will do a series of short tests on you and likely take a look at your brain to be sure the diagnosis is accurate and your symptoms are not caused by some other underlying disease.

Another symptom that is associated with dementia is pain. People with dementia may experience great pain and not have the cognitive skills to articulate it for you. If you are caring for a family member you need to learn how to recognize this pain and treat it. It is very hard for the person who is living with dementia as they are rarely in control of their own thought of being in pain.

Currently there are no specific medicines that can prevent or cure dementia however many people are prescribed medication to help relieve the symptoms. So while a doctor cannot give you medicine to stop the dementia he can give you medicine to help keep you calmer or make sure you get a good nights sleep.By regularly brain training, you can also train your different cognitive skills and have an impact on your brain health.