DementiaDementia is one of the dreaded diseases of old age, because it is accompanied by the decay of personality. In Germany, 1.5 million people suffer from this progressive memory disorder. The disease of old age poses an exhausting challenge for both relatives and caregivers.
The term Dementia derives from the Latin word dementia, which translated means absence of the mind. Dementia is fundamentally characterized by decreasing memory capacity. Generally, old-age disease begins at an older age. Two-thirds of dementia sufferers are women.
Forms of dementia
Declining memory is a hallmark of dementia.
About 80 to 90% of dementias are caused by diseases of the brain. With these so-called primary dementias or. brain-organic dementias, nerve cells are gradually lost. The connections between the individual cells atrophy. These types of dementia belong to the neurodegenerative diseases. The most common form is Alzheimer's disease. In addition, vascular dementia, Lewy body disease, Parkinson's disease and frontotemporal dementia are the most common forms of dementia.
A secondary dementia is due to another disease. It sometimes occurs in conjunction with:
– Chronic traumatic encephalopathy – Creutzfeld-Jakob disease – Depression – Metabolic diseases, such as thyroid disorders – Infections of the brain – Vitamin deficiencies – Craniocerebral injuries
Symptoms of poisoning due to drug abuse can also lead to dementia symptoms.
Alzheimer's dementia is the most widespread. The second most common form is vascular dementia, which is caused by circulatory disorders in the brain. These two dementias can also occur in combination and manifest as a mixed form. The rarer forms of dementia include, for example, Parkinson's dementia and dementia caused by medication or metabolic disorders.
Dementias grouped under other forms of dementia include Lewy body dementia, Parkinson's dementia, frontotemporal dementia, drug-induced dementia, metabolic dementia and dementia resulting from traumatic brain injury.
The older you get, the more likely you are to develop Alzheimer's disease.
Alzheimer's dementia, named after the German psychiatrist and neuropathologist Alois Alzheimer, is the most common, accounting for about 60% of all cases. Characteristic of Alzheimer's is the loss of nerve cells in the brain. The plaque-like deposition of proteins there. As a result, the transmission of messenger substances (neurotransmitters) is blocked. The information processing in the brain accordingly impaired. In imaging techniques, such as CT, the death of brain cells becomes visible in the form of a shrunken brain.
Arteriosclerosis can lead to dementia symptoms.
This form of dementia is the second most common, accounting for about 15. Circulatory disturbances in the brain cause Alzheimer-like symptoms. Calcium deposits in the arteries (arteriosclerosis) or a previous stroke (cerebral infarction) can be the cause.
Dementia associated with Parkinson's disease (PD)
Stay mentally active in old age! Solve tricky puzzles or play board games with family and friends.
Parkinson's disease is a disease of the brain that manifests itself through slowed mobility and disturbed movement patterns. In Germany, around 300.000 people suffer from Parkinson's disease. Often older people are affected, as the disease often develops between the age of 55. and the 79. The onset of dementia occurs at the age of.
Lewy body dementia
Lewy body dementia closely resembles Alzheimer's disease, but it occurs significantly less frequently. Sometimes there are mixed forms of both dementias.
In Lewy body dementia, protein residues are deposited in the nerve cells of the brain. These often resolve at an early stage Sensory delusions from. The hallucinations are sometimes very detailed. Falls may occur. Also mild Parkinson's such as involuntary trembling of the hands are observed.
In addition, the mental performance and attention in this clinical picture strong fluctuations.
In Pick's disease – also known as frontotemporal dementia – in the course of which the brain cells in the temporal and frontal lobe area atrophy. The frontal-temporal lobe controls emotions and social behavior. Therefore it comes to changes in personality and interpersonal behavior. Persons with this clinical picture become aggressive, tactless, and sometimes apathetic. In the course of the disease, speech disorders develop, which manifest themselves in word-finding disorders, but also in a lack of need to communicate, up to complete silence. In addition, there are slight impairments of the memory. This disease often appears earlier than Alzheimer's – usually between the age of 50. and 60. The onset of the disease can be as early as the age of 18, sometimes even at a young age.
Causes of the dementia syndrome
Dementia can occur as a result of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease or be caused by alcohol abuse (Korsakow syndrome).
As a rule, it is a primary disease. The independent dementia disease (primary dementia) originates in the brain. In dementia patients, nerve cells gradually die and the connections between the cells are lost. These neurodegenerative changes can have different causes. However, dementia can also occur as a result of another condition or medication. Then we speak of secondary dementia.
Causes at a glance
– Formation of plaques (Alzheimer's dementia) – Circulatory disorders in the brain (vascular dementia) – Prevented communication of nerve cells (Lewy body dementia) – Dying nerve cells (frontotemporal dementia) – Various diseases, such as depression, alcohol addiction, thyroid disorders as well as vitamin deficiencies (secondary dementia) – Medications (secondary dementia)
Risk factors for dementia
Various factors can increase the risk of developing dementia. They include:
– older age – excessive alcohol consumption – low mental, physical and social activity – genetic predisposition
– diseases, such as diabetes mellitus, cardiac arrhythmias, depression, craniocerebral injuries
Symptoms of dementia
The memory disorder first affects the short-term memory and also manifests itself in Decreasing judgment and learning ability. everyday life becomes more and more difficult. sequences are no longer recallable. Due to the decreasing memory function orientation deteriorates And recognizing familiar faces.
– Uncertainty – word-finding disorders – aggression – disinhibition – despair – depressive phases – restlessness – frequent repetition of movements
Therapy: Treatment of dementia
Gymnastic exercises in old age prevent various diseases.
In coordination with physicians and therapists a positive influence on the age illness is possible – a healing remains however impossible. Behavior-. Psychotherapy with a. Fundamentally, ideal communication is based on appreciation and understanding.
Drug treatment for dementia
Helping agitated or aggressive people with dementia Neuroleptics (antipsychotics). Antidepressants are effective in depressive phases. In the context of vascular dementia with poor circulation, potential risk factors are targeted, including:
– High blood prere – Diabetes – Cardiac arrhythmia – Obesity
Increasing memory performance: Prescription-free drugs from your pharmacy
Preventive or. preparations with Ginkgo biloba can be taken as an adjunct to therapy. Ginkgo leaves are an important component of traditional Chinese medicine. Decay in dementia. can slow down Alzheimer's disease.
In addition to basic physical examinations and imaging procedures (MRI, CT), the diagnosis of the disease of old age is often made using the MMSE test (Mini Mental State Examination Test). The 30-minute SIDAM dementia test lasts twice as long. In addition, rapid tests for the assessment of dementia are available, as the TFDD, Test for early detection of dementia, or the DemTect, Dementia Detections Test.
Status as of: 25.06.2020