Archive for December 17th, 2009
Posted on December 17, 2009 - by Nurse Virginia
What is- Dementia, Reversible Dementia, Irreversible Dementia, Vascular Dementia, and Alzheimer’s Disease
What is Dementia?
When brain cells are no longer communicating with each other. The cells then die, and the brain can’t replace those cells, so brain function is lost. The loss of these cells can create a decrease in the ability to make decisions, understand the environment, and be able to reason, be socially appropriate, lose language skills and remember.
Dementia is not the disease
Dementia is a symptom of the disease that is affecting the person’s brain. The elderly person has dementia because they have Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Pick’s disease, Lewy Body disease, Huntington’s disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease or one of many other dementia causing diseases. When the disease attacks the brain and destroys the brain cells the person starts to lose those abilities that indicate they now suffer from dementia.
What are Reversible Dementias?
Because dementia is a symptom, if the cause of the loss of the function of brain cells is corrected the dementia can be reversed. A brain tumor can cause dementia, when removed the dementia is reversed. Metabolic disorders, hypothyroidism untreated can cause some dementia. Head injuries, infection and intoxication can cause problems with memory, language, thinking, reasoning, personality changes and result in abnormal behaviors.
See: Alzheimer’s disease, Dementia and Hypothyroidism in the Elderly
Blogged on – October 19, 2009
What are Irreversible dementias?
The diseases that cause dementia are progressive diseases. The symptoms of dementia go through stages from mild to severe dementia. The person may start with some word finding problem and eventually progress to the loss of all of their words. As those brain cells die because of the disease the person may eventually be completely incapacitated and require total care.
What is Vascular dementia?
A stop in blood flow to the cells of the brain causes a lack of nutrition to those cells and the cells die. This can happen over a period of time with small silent strokes where the person loses their memory and ability to think and reason. The person may experience one large episode or stroke and lead the physician to monitor the blood flow and provide blood thinners which ensure the cells will receive their nutrition.
Most common disease causing dementia -Alzheimer’s disease
The most common cause of dementia affecting more than 5 million people in the United States alone is Alzheimer’s disease. The disease causes plaques and tangles in the brain making the cells unable to communicate and die.
See: When you get the Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease
Blogged on – August 19, 2009
Virginia Garberding, R.N.
Director of Education, The Wealshire, Lincolnshire, Illinois
Author: Please Get To Know Me – Aging with Dignity and Relevance