DEMENTIA. Chipping away, a memory at a time.
By Abanobi Nkachukwu
Derived from the Latin root demens, which means “being out of one’s mind”, the term “dementia” has been used since the 13th century and it’s mention in the medical community was reported in the 18th century (Boller & Iwata, 2019).
Although Alzehiemers disease is a common cause of dementia, examples of other types of dementia include:
- Vascular dementia,
- Lewy body dementia
- Parkinson’s disease dementia.
Also, mental health conditions like depression and undiagnosed psychiatric disorders (e.g. mania & psychosis) can be initially mistaken for dementia. These conditions, known as Pseudodementia, affect memory and thinking, creating a clinical picture similar to dementia (Brodaty & Connors, 2020).
Prevention can be targeted at 3 key areas:
- Cognitive training,
- Blood pressure management in people with hypertension
- Promoting increased physical activity.
Other key points to note:
- Dementia is a resultant-effect of certain diseases or conditions.
- Global incidence doubles every 5 years after the age of 65 (Bullain et al., 2013; Jorm & Jolley, 1998).
- Pseudo-dementia may increase the risk of irreversible dementia.
- Studies have shown longer survival of women after a diagnosis of dementia compared to men (Bullain et al., 2013).
- Midlife hypertension is a known risk factor for dementia (Corrada et al., 2010; Hall et al., 2005). At older ages, the highest risk of dementia and cognitive impairment appears to be in people with normal or low blood pressure (Corrada et al., 2010).
- Women with higher levels of education are slightly lower at risk of developing dementia, than men (Corrada et al., 2010).
Are there any other key points about dementia you think we should know about ? let us know in the comment section below.