When we age, there are a lot of different changes that our bodies go through, a lot of which we can slow down and a lot of which we simply don't have any control over. Some of the changes are subtle and normal while others are brought on by disease and a variety of different disorders. Some of those things can affect the way that your brain processes information which leads to dementia.
Dementia can be defined as when there is a decline in the over all function of the brain. There will be marked changes in a person's memory and even their behavior can be signs that dementia might be setting in.
When a person has dementia it is hard for them to even perform simple routine tasks that they are used to performing on a daily basis. A person with signs of dementia may end up asking the same question over and over again. They also might find themselves lost even in a place that should be familiar to them. They lose the ability to follow directions and sometimes they appear to be disoriented and may even begin to neglect their own safety, their nutrition as well as their personal hygiene.
You should understand that dementia really is not part of the normal process of aging and even some types of dementia can actually be treatable. The types of treatable dementia are usually caused from high fevers, bad nutrition, deficiency in vitamins, severe cases of dehydration and even some head injuries. If dementia seems to follow any of these a doctor should be consulted immediately so the person can be treated.
One of the leading causes or diseases that will cause dementia is Alzheimer's disease. At this time, there is no known cure for this disease and almost half of the people that are over the age of 85 suffer from this disease and up to 10 percent of people over the age of 65 have been diagnosed with it. It also seems that in the United States that women seem to be at higher risk for this disease than men.
One of the very first signs of Alzheimer's is forgetfulness. As Alzheimer's begins is painful progress a person's language, their ability to reason and understand are affected and in the end stages they are no longer able to take care of themselves on their own. Once the disease begins a person usually can only expect to live about 8 years, although there have been cases where they have managed to live for more than 20 years with it.
What causes this disease is unknown but it is known that it does involve plague and tangles that begin to form in the brain's gray matter and this begins to disrupt the ability to transmit all information within the brain itself. Because of this the nerve cells begin to die which then causes loss of function. This damage seems to be even worse in women.
Being able to diagnose the disease accurately is still a problem to this day and a definite diagnosis still cannot be made until the person is dead and their brain can be examined. Doctors can only make educated guesses when diagnosing the disease, generally though, they are correct 90% of the time.
At this point in time there still is no real treatment for Alzheimer's although they have discovered that some people who take certain drugs for heart disease may lower their chances of getting the disease or slow down it's progress.
As Alzheimer's continues to be a mystery to the medical community, one thing is certain is that it definitely does take away a person's chances of enjoying aging as life progresses.