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Senile Dementia : Defintion, Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Monday, July 2nd 2012. | Brain and Nerves

Senile Dementia definition

Dementia is a general term covering a wide range of diseases. The common feature of 55 subtypes of dementia is the loss of cognitive and intellectual abilities, namely a deterioration of memory, a cognitive decline, language disorders and disturbances of executive functions, there is however not of impaired consciousness.

These disturbances significantly interfere with the operation of the subject which is no longer able to manage tasks of daily life. Dementia is not a normal part of aging that affects each individual in varying degrees. It is, instead, a real disease that primarily affects the elderly.

Senile Dementia Causes

Among the subjects with dementia, 9 out of 10 have either Alzheimer’s or vascular dementia. This chapter is primarily concerned with vascular dementia (following arterial occlusion), Alzheimer’s disease is the subject of another chapter.

The arteriosclerosis is characterized by an accumulation of calcium and fat in the vessel walls. In the brain, it is manifested by a narrowing of cerebral vessels. During the occlusion of many small blood vessels or in case of stroke (or more), the normal functioning of the brain is disrupted.

Other causes:

  • Alcoholism
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Metabolic disorders, thyroid disorders, vitamin B12 deficiency
  • AIDS / HIV infection

Among first degree relatives, the risk of developing dementia is slightly larger (multiplied by a factor of 2 to 4) than in the general population. However, it is rare that more members are affected by dementia in the same family.

A form of dementia, however, can occur in young adults, between 30 to 50 years. This form of dementia – a subtype of Alzheimer’s disease – is caused by an alteration of genetic material in a chromosome and may, but are not systematic, be passed on to you. In this form of dementia, several members of one family can be achieved.


Senile Dementia Disorders (symptoms)

The sudden onset of memory impairment is a warning not to neglect and require medical evaluation.

  • Significant memory impairment
  • Cognitive disorders, ex. inconsistent responses to questions
  • Orientation problems
  • Slow and difficult to understand language
  • Disturbances of the capacity for judgment
  • Personality changes, depression with loss of life force.

With disease progression, it becomes increasingly difficult for the subjects concerned to manage the life of every day. Activities such as shopping, cooking, dressing can be made independently. Hallucinations may occur and people do not recognize their surroundings nor the subjects familiar to them.

Examinations (Diagnosis)

  • History taking into account the patient’s symptoms, it is essential also to examine other family members
  • Physical and neurological examination, psychiatric examination may
  • Brain scan to rule out a stroke or a brain tumor
  • Psychometric tests to assess the intellectual performance

Senile Dementia Treatment Options

First, it is to recognize and treat any underlying condition. To date, there is no cure for dementia. However, with appropriate and targeted treatment, it is possible to slow the progression of the disease.

General measures

A balanced diet, abundant drinks and a structured living environment are useful and allow the patient to better manage his life journalière.La persistent stimulation of intellectual ability is very important. However, in this regard, it should avoid any excess.

The use of mental and physical exercise and use of manual and artistic skills enables individuals with dementia to maintain their independence longer by using their own resources.

Therapeutic Strategies

1. Treatment of the underlying disease and risk factors

  • Treatment of cardiovascular risk factors including high blood pressure, with medication.
  • Eventually surgery (stenting, unblocking an artery).

2. Prevention of cerebral arteriosclerosis and

  • Antiplatelet
  • Eventually, blood thinning anticoagulant when emboli of cardiac origin (with detachment of blood clots) are suspected.

3. Non-drug measures (eg social support, therapy cognitive, patient organizations)

  • Exercises, exercises related to everyday life
  • Psychotherapy, couples therapy
  • Occupational Therapy (drawing, cooking, music, inserting a “healthy home” etc..).
  • Physical exercise, social life, games

4. Accompanying medical and psychiatric drugs

  • Ginkgo biloba extract
  • Acetylsalicylic acid is recommended in the absence of risk of bleeding.
  • The acetylcholinesterase inhibitors have proven effective in both Alzheimer’s disease than in vascular dementia.

The acetylcholinesterase inhibitors such as galantamine, donepezil and rivastigmine inhibit the metabolism of acetylcholine in the brain already. The result is a preservation or an improved exchange of information between brain cells. Therefore, administration of these drugs has a positive effect on cognitive function (memory, intellect, sense of reality) and the general condition of patients. Drugs of this class are not capable of curing the disease, however, they can slow its progression.

Possible Complications

A balanced diet, abundant drinks, a well-structured living environment to help patients better manage daily life. Intellectual stimulation has a beneficial effect persisted for sure. However, it should avoid any excess.

Over time, activities of daily living such as dressing, preparing meals or shopping, become increasingly difficult or can not be realized. Often, end-stage patients no longer speak, are bedridden and totally dependent on others for help. In the context of vascular dementia, brain injury can occur at any moment, causing a serious impairment of general condition.

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