Let’s Talk About Dementia

Memory loss has a number of causes, one of which is dementia.  Dementia is a progressive condition that causes deteriorating mental function which interferes with activities of daily living, such as:

  • Memory
  • Thinking
  • Language
  • Orientation
  • Judgement
  • Social behaviour

Who gets Dementia and what are the Symptoms?

The likelihood of getting dementia increases with age.  Having said that, more than half of people will never develop dementia even if they reach the age of 95.  The symptoms of all types of dementia are similar.  They can be divided into three main areas:

  • Loss of mental ability
  • Changes in mood, behaviour and personality
  • Problems carrying out day-to-day activities

How does Dementia Progress?

Typically, symptoms of dementia tend to develop slowly, often over several years.  In the early stages of the disease, many people with mild dementia cope with just a small amount of support and care.  As the disease progresses, more care is usually needed.

In the later stages of dementia, speech may be lost and severe physical problems may develop, including problems with mobility, incontinence and general frailty.

How is Dementia diagnosed?

Dementia is difficult to diagnose in some people.  The first step if you are concerned that you may be developing dementia is to see your doctor.  Or, if you are worried that someone close to you may have dementia, you should encourage them to see their doctor.

Can Dementia be prevented?

Having risk factors for cardiovascular disease can increase your risk of developing all types of dementia.  These risk factors include:

  • smoking
  • raised cholesterol levels
  • drinking too much alcohol
  • not doing enough physical activity
  • being overweight
  • having diabetes or high blood pressure

Therefore, it would seem likely that doing something to modify these risk factors may reduce your risk of developing dementia.  Keeping your brain active may also help to reduce your risk of developing dementia.  Consider reading books or doing puzzles, playing a musical instrument, taking up a new hobby, etc.

At Premier Service Medical Aid Society, we value your health!