What Causes Dementia? Answered in Raleigh, NC

Most people are under the mistaken impression that exhibiting the symptoms of dementia means you have Alzheimer’s disease. But numerous conditions can also cause the symptoms, and some of them are even reversible. These treatable conditions include nutritional issues and dehydration; adverse reactions to certain medications, or interactions between certain drugs; metabolic problems such as hypothyroidism; head injuries; and depression. These are all potentially serious and need to be treated appropriately by a medical professional, and if successfully treated the dementia-like symptoms usually improve.
Brain disease, though, causes the vast majority of dementia cases, and its repercussions are far more serious. The damage from these diseases results in the destruction of brain cells integral to language, reasoning, memory, and emotion, and produces the symptoms of dementia (please see above). Most dementia cases come from four different conditions, each with its own unique issues:
Alzheimer’s disease (AD). This is the most common type, accounting for up to 2/3rds of all cases, and the precise cause is unknown. Clumps and tangles of proteins develop among brain cells, interfering with their functioning and eventually destroying them. This usually begins in the memory and reasoning centers of the brain and then eventually progresses to include the entire cerebral cortex (the “thinking” part of the brain). At present, this type of dementia is irreversible.
Lewy body dementia (LBD). Lewy bodies are round protein structures that develop among brain cells, displacing them and disrupting their functioning. The precise cause of why they develop is unknown.5 Depending upon whom you ask, LBD is increasingly considered the second leading cause of dementia, from 20% to 35% of all cases, but it is still considered a very new, relatively unknown classification.
Vascular dementia, also known as multi infarct dementia. Brain damage from narrowed or blocked arteries causes this condition, usually as a result of stroke. Although the damage is irreversible, proper treatment of the underlying disease which caused the stroke (such as high blood pressure) can halt the further progression of vascular dementia. The symptoms of this dementia will vary according to which parts of the brain were affected by the stroke. Vascular dementia was once considered the second leading cause of dementia, but has now been overtaken by LBD.
Frontotemporal dementia. In this form of dementia the brain’s frontal lobes gradually degenerate, affecting a person’s judgment and social behavior and appearing to change his personality. While the disease is only a distant fourth in prevalence of overall dementia cases, it is the second leading cause of dementia in people who are younger than the age of 65.
There are several other brain disorders that cause dementia, though with much less frequency than those listed above. These include Huntington’s disease (a genetic disorder characterized by abnormal jerky body movements), Parkinson’s disease (characterized by limb stiffness and stooped posture, tremor, speech impairment, and a shuffling gait), and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (a transmissible disease of which the human form of mad cow disease is the latest example). In addition, some infections (such as meningitis, syphilis, and even AIDS) have been known to cause dementia.
This is an excerpt from the full article posted by “A Place For Mom.”  To read it in it’s entirety, go to:  Dementia.

Most people are under the mistaken impression that exhibiting the symptoms of dementia means you have Alzheimer’s disease. But numerous conditions can also cause the symptoms, and some of them are even reversible. These treatable conditions include nutritional issues and dehydration; adverse reactions to certain medications, or interactions between certain drugs; metabolic problems such as hypothyroidism; head injuries; and depression. These are all potentially serious and need to be treated appropriately by a medical professional, and if successfully treated the dementia-like symptoms usually improve.
Brain disease, though, causes the vast majority of dementia cases, and its repercussions are far more serious. The damage from these diseases results in the destruction of brain cells integral to language, reasoning, memory, and emotion, and produces the symptoms of dementia (please see above). Most dementia cases come from four different conditions, each with its own unique issues:
Alzheimer’s disease (AD). This is the most common type, accounting for up to 2/3rds of all cases, and the precise cause is unknown. Clumps and tangles of proteins develop among brain cells, interfering with their functioning and eventually destroying them. This usually begins in the memory and reasoning centers of the brain and then eventually progresses to include the entire cerebral cortex (the “thinking” part of the brain). At present, this type of dementia is irreversible.
Lewy body dementia (LBD). Lewy bodies are round protein structures that develop among brain cells, displacing them and disrupting their functioning. The precise cause of why they develop is unknown.5 Depending upon whom you ask, LBD is increasingly considered the second leading cause of dementia, from 20% to 35% of all cases, but it is still considered a very new, relatively unknown classification.
Vascular dementia, also known as multi infarct dementia. Brain damage from narrowed or blocked arteries causes this condition, usually as a result of stroke. Although the damage is irreversible, proper treatment of the underlying disease which caused the stroke (such as high blood pressure) can halt the further progression of vascular dementia. The symptoms of this dementia will vary according to which parts of the brain were affected by the stroke. Vascular dementia was once considered the second leading cause of dementia, but has now been overtaken by LBD.
Frontotemporal dementia. In this form of dementia the brain’s frontal lobes gradually degenerate, affecting a person’s judgment and social behavior and appearing to change his personality. While the disease is only a distant fourth in prevalence of overall dementia cases, it is the second leading cause of dementia in people who are younger than the age of 65.
There are several other brain disorders that cause dementia, though with much less frequency than those listed above. These include Huntington’s disease (a genetic disorder characterized by abnormal jerky body movements), Parkinson’s disease (characterized by limb stiffness and stooped posture, tremor, speech impairment, and a shuffling gait), and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (a transmissible disease of which the human form of mad cow disease is the latest example). In addition, some infections (such as meningitis, syphilis, and even AIDS) have been known to cause dementia.
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Filed under care giving, dementia, elder care raleigh nc, Geriatric Care Management, long term care planning, NC, Raleigh

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