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The disease is usually caused by the brain being damaged by Alzheimer’s or a series of small strokes, but this is not exhaustive

What is Dementia?

Dementia is the term for a series of symptoms that affect the brain’s cognitive function; from loss of memory and language skills to thoughts and problem solving. These symptoms often begin gradually and continue until the person is not longer able to live their normal life. The disease is usually caused by the brain being damaged by Alzheimer’s or a series of small strokes, but this is not exhaustive. It is common for patients with dementia to experience changes in mood or general temperament and perhaps become agitated and even aggressive which can be upsetting to those close to them.

Not only can regular physical activity and a healthy diet reduce the risk of cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer's, it can also be instrumental to ensuring a good quality of life for those with dementia and could even slow the degeneration of the brain, therefore it is imperative that early signs are recognised and the appropriate treatment given.

What are the signs of dementia?

There are different signs of dementia, depending on whether it is caused by Alzheimer's, vascular, frontotemporal or dementia with Lewy bodies (types referred to below). Alzheimer’s is the most common of dementia for people under 65, below are some of the common signs of the disease:

  • Problems with memory, frequently forgetting memories, names, recent experiences.
  • Forgetfulness
  • Trouble with speech and forgetting language
  • Becoming uncomfortable and confused in unfamiliar circumstances
  • Misplacing things
  • Difficulty with money and numbers
  • Changes in behaviour and personality
  • Withdrawal from social occasions and anxiety

Symptoms and stages of more advanced dementia

When dementia becomes advanced, a person may experience the following symptoms, all of which can be extremely distressing for both the person affected and their loved ones. At this stage of the disease the need for a higher level of care is needed.

  • Increased forgetfulness. This symptom affects many people as they age but is a sign that dementia may have worsened.
  • Difficulty taking care of physical appearance, bathing and combing hair.
  • Changes in personality, becoming agitated, suspicious and angry.
  • Loss of language skills and inability to control bladder.

What are the causes of dementia?

The main cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, a condition where an abnormal protein surrounds the brain and another protein begins to attack and kills brain cells. This then results in the forgetfulness and early onset dementia signs such as loss of memory and difficulty with numbers.

Another cause of the condition is Vascular dementia - a condition where lack of oxygen to the brain (often a result of a stroke or series of mini strokes) cause brain cells to be damaged or perished.

Dementia with Lewy bodies is a condition where the brain develops abnormal structures (called Lewy bodies) which disrupt the brain and cause the death of brain cells. This type of dementia often results in similar symptoms to Parkinson's disease, such as difficulty judging distances and having trouble keeping alert.

Frontotemporal dementia can develop when the front and side parts of the brain are damaged. Abnormal proteins grow within the brain cells and cause them to die. The early signs of Frontotemporal dementia differ depending on the areas of the brain affected, but can include changes in personality and behaviour, with some people having trouble with their speech.  

What types of dementia are there?

There are various strains of the disease, the most common are listed below:

  • Alzheimer’s
  • Vascular dementia
  • Frontotemporal dementia
  • Dementia with Lewy bodies
  • Huntington's disease (includes symptoms of dementia)
To find out how BREVIN can help with it's approach to treating mental illness, dealing with the individual on a one to one level in the luxury of their home surroundings, please contact us for more information.

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Talk to us on+44 (0)203 941 2000

Please contact us on 0203 941 2000 to speak to a member of our enquiry team:

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  • We treat adults over the age of 18
  • We are regulated by the CQC
  • Our treatment services are available in London and the surrounding areas
  • We can work alongside your existing clinical team
  • We do not need a referral
  • We can work with your existing GP or appoint one for you
  • We do not work with patients whose level of severity is mild or moderate without a significant level of dysfunction who are likely to improve with treatment under a psychiatrist or therapy alone;
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