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What is Dementia?

Dementia is a mental decline that can cause a person to lose the ability to reason and think clearly. The disease affects memory, thinking, and behavior as well as physical characteristics such as muscle weakness, confusion, and inability to perform tasks on their own. It affects people differently and it can take years for symptoms to show up. Despite this, there’s still hope for millions of people suffering from dementia worldwide. 

Causes of Dementia 

Dementia is caused by brain damage, which affects the nerve cells in your brain, destroying your brain’s ability to communicate with its various areas. It can also be caused by a blockage in blood flow to your brain, depriving it of oxygen and nutrients. Brain tissue dies in the absence of oxygen and nutrients. (Source)

Symptoms of Dementia

Early dementia symptoms include:

  • Forgetting about recent occurrences or information.
  • Repeating comments or questions in a short period of time.
  • Misplacing frequently used items or putting them in unusual places.
  • Not knowing what season, year, or month it is.
  •  having trouble finding the right words.
  • Observing a shift in mood, behaviour, or interests.
Symptoms of Dementia

The following are signs that dementia is progressing:

  • Your memory and decision-making abilities continue to deteriorate.
  • It becomes more difficult to communicate and find the right words.
  • Brushing your teeth, making a cup of coffee, using a TV remote, cooking, and paying bills all become more difficult.
  • Reduced rational thinking and behaviour, as well as your ability to solve problems.
  • Sleeping patterns shift.
  • Anxiety, frustration, confusion, agitation, suspiciousness, sadness, and/or depression increase or worsen.
  • Needing more assistance with daily activities such as grooming, toileting, bathing, and eating.
  • Having hallucinations (seeing people or objects that aren’t actually there) (Source)

Dementia Diagnosis

Laboratory Tests

Other diseases and conditions, such as infection, inflammation, underactive thyroid, and vitamin deficiency, are ruled out by laboratory tests as possible causes of dementia (especially B12). If warranted, healthcare providers may order cerebrospinal fluid tests to evaluate autoimmune conditions and neurodegenerative diseases.

Imaging tests

  • Computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): CT produces detailed images of your brain using X-rays and a computer. MRI creates detailed images of your brain using magnets, radio frequencies, and a computer. These scans look for signs of a stroke, bleeding, tumours, or fluid in your brain.
  • FDG-PET scan: This is a type of brain scan that helps determine brain function and cognitive decline by the pattern of how a type of glucose is absorbed by brain tissue, and is sometimes required in specific diagnoses. (Source)

Dementia Treatment

The following medications have been approved for the most common form of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease:

  • Donepezil (Aricept®), rivastigmine (Exelon®), and galantamine (Razadyne®) are cholinesterase inhibitors.
  • Memantine (Namenda®) is an NMDA receptor antagonist.
  • Aducanumab (Aduhelm®) is an anti-amyloid antibody.

These drugs are used by healthcare providers to treat patients suffering from other types of dementia. Different chemical processes in your brain are affected by cholinesterase inhibitors and NMDA receptor antagonists. Both drug classes have been shown to help some people with dementia improve or stabilize their memory function. (Source)

Diet For Dementia

dementia diet

A variety of dietary factors have been linked to a lower risk of developing dementia.

  • • Reduced consumption of saturated and trans-unsaturated fats
  • • Increased consumption of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats
  • • Increased consumption of omega-3 fatty acids
  • • Increased consumption of certain antioxidants and vitamins
  • • Increased consumption of vegetables and fruits
  • • Moderate alcohol consumption (with caution – too much alcohol poses a serious health risk) (Source)