Sunday, May 5, 2013


Yes a person, mostly elderly suffering from gross memory loss could be suffering from dementia.
What is dementia? Medically, it is loss of cognitive functions in clear consciousness. Cognitive functions are attention concentration, memory recent remote and immediate, abstraction, judgment and mathematical ability.

Symptoms of dementia

How can a person judge that a patient is having dementia? The regular daily activities of the patient will give an idea of this problem. The patient is usually elderly above 65 years of age with gross loss of memory. It would be such that the patient will not even remember the names of children, forget about the meals, forget paths in house, forgot how to brush their teeth.
The patient might feel agitated due to loss of daily functions and can turn aggressive.
Additional symptoms associated with dementia are-
     1.    Depression
     2.    Psychosis
     3.    OCD
     4.    Bipolardisorder
Causes of dementia- dementia is known to occur due to deficient in neurotransmitter acetylcholine.
Types of dementia
Alzheimer’s dementia
Vascular dementia
Lewy body dementia
Fronto-temporal dementia
Subcortical dementia
There may be reversible causes of dementia-
     1.    Tumors
     2.    Infections
     3.    Hypothyroidism
     4.    Normal pressure hydrocephalus

Treatment of dementia

Reversible causes of dementia can be treated by treating the underlying cause.
Other causes of dementia like Alzheimer’s vascular dementia can be prevented from progressing or at most reverted little but full cure is impossible.
Drugs used in treatment of dementia
    1.    Tacrine
    2.    Donepezil
    3.    Rivastigmine
    4.    Galantamine
    5.    Mementine
Other associated symptoms of dementia should be treated respectively
Non medicinal treatment includes
Re-training the elderly in small tasks, like brushing their teeth, in broken steps. Not frequently changing the environment around them so that they remember their things.
Providing nursing care for patients who cannot take care of themselves is a must.
Wishing you a healthy and long life
Dr Hitesh Sharma
MBBS, MD (Psychiatry)

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