Dementia describes a chronic or persistent blend of symptoms that lead to the eventual decline in mental ability. Dementia’s symptoms are caused by brain disease and/or related injuries that can potentially lead to a decline in mental health that is extreme enough to interfere drastically with daily routines. At least two severe impairments of either; memory, communication, focus, perception and judgement are enough to be considered for the development of dementia. According to Alzheimer’s Australia1 - approximately over 353,800 Australian civilians have dementia, which is widely expected to increase to 400,000 in the next five years. Alzheimer’s Australia1 also believes that if a cure is not developed, the number of Australian’s living with dementia will increase to an approximate 900,000 by 2050.
The most common known types of dementia are;
• Alzheimer’s disease – The most common form of dementia, and is a disease that attacks the neurons and nerve cells of the brain, consequently causing memory loss (short-term and progressing to long-term), cognitive processes, communication, and behavioural changes.
• Parkinson’s disease – Affecting the central nervous system, Parkinson’s affects basic movement, leading to tremors. Typically characterised by shaking hands.
• Vascular dementia – Issues regarding the blood vessels can lead to an inadequate blood supply to the brain. Without an adequate blood flow, brain cells will begin to die, causing mild to severe trauma. Because of its frequent symptom of memory loss, vascular dementia seems very similar to Alzheimer’s.
• Huntington’s disease – Is a fatally rare condition that causes the gradual deterioration of the nerve cells in the victim’s brain, typically affecting persons fro...
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...entia patients. In the later stages of dementia, depression is commonly caused by the reduced function of the chemical transmitter that occurs in the brain. Some antidepressants can increase the already present confusion of dementia patients. Instead of these, antidepressants such as mianserin and mirtazapine are prescribed due to their lack of side effects.
• Hypnotics are typically taken to reduce the effect of persistent restlessness that dementia can cause as an individual will attempt to rest.
These medications may alleviate the symptoms of dementia, but do not completely cure the disease. As well as this, these drugs all have some sort of side-effect to the taker, which can lead to worsening their condition in another area. Without a medical breakthrough in the foreseeable future, dementia will continue to effect the lives of more members in the community.
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