Describe the types of dementia and common signs and symptoms

1158 Words May 31st, 2014 5 Pages
Unit 40 - P1
Describe the types of dementia and common signs and symptoms

The term ‘dementia’ describes a set of symptoms which can include loss of memory, mood changes and problems with communication and reasoning. These symptoms occur when the brain is damaged by certain conditions and diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. 
Age is the greatest risk factor for dementia. Dementia affects one in 14 people over the age of 65 and one in six over the age of 80. However, dementia is not restricted to older people: in the UK, there are over 17,000 people under the age of 65 with dementia, although this figure is likely to be an underestimate.

Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease
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It is likely that a combination of factors including age, genetic inheritance, environmental factors, lifestyle and overall general health, are responsible. In some people, the disease may develop silently for many years before symptoms appear.

Vascular Dementia
Vascular dementia is the second most common form of dementia after Alzheimer’s disease. It is caused by problems in the supply of blood to the brain. Brain cells need a good supply of blood in order to be healthy and function properly. Blood is delivered through a network of blood vessels called the vascular system. If the vascular system within the brain becomes damaged and blood cannot reach the brain cells, the cells will eventually die. This can lead to the onset of vascular dementia. 
Factors that can increase a person’s risk of developing vascular dementia include:
A medical history of stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes (particularly type II), heart problems or sleep apnoea (where breathing stops for a few seconds or minutes during sleep).
A lack of physical activity, drinking more that recommended levels of alcohol, smoking, eating a fatty diet or leaving conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes untreated.
A family history of stroke or cardiovascular disease.
An Indian, Bangladeshi, Pakistani or Sri Lankan ethnic background as differences in vascular risk factors (such as heart disease) in these communities may contribute to the increased

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