Dementia is a term that describes a specific range of progressive neurological disorders that result in a set of symptoms including deterioration in memory, thinking, behaviour and the ability to perform everyday activities.
Currently, we know of 200 subtypes of dementia but the five most common are Alzheimer’s disease (which contributes to 60-70% of cases), Vascular Dementia, Lewy Body Dementia Frontotemporal Dementia and Mixed Dementia.
What causes Dementia?
Dementia is primarily caused by damage to nerve cells in the brain which in turn interferes with the brain cell’s ability to communicate.
When brain cells are unable to communicate, the thoughts, feelings and behaviour of the individual can be affected.
We know that the brain is separated into different regions which are responsible for various functions and when these areas are damaged, these normal functions can no longer be carried out.
The type of dementia a person has is often characterised by the type of brain cells damage in specific areas of the brain.
Alzheimer’s sufferers for example are shown to have increased levels of specific proteins in and around the brain cells which makes it harder for them to communicate and be healthy.
Researchers have also seen that in Alzheimer’s patients, the hippocampus which is the primary region for learning and memory is often the first to be damaged.
As such, Alzheimer’s patients will often display signs of memory loss earlier than other types of dementia.
Rates of Dementia
Globally it is estimated that around 50 million people have dementia with a further 10 million being added to this total each year.
By 2030 it is suggested that 82 million people around the world will be suffering from dementia and by 2050 it will be at a staggering 152 million.
According to The Alzheimer’s Society, it is reported that there are now more than 920,000 people in the UK living with dementia. This number is expected to rise to over a million within the next three years.
The majority of sufferers are above the age of 65 and account for 880,000 people with dementia in the UK but there are also approximately over 40,000 people that are suffering from young onset dementia and are below this age range.
The rates of diagnosis are improving each year but many people with dementia are still to be diagnosed and as age increases, so does the risk of developing dementia.
Dementia Treatment and Care
Unfortunately, there is currently no treatment that can cure any of the forms of dementia or alter its inevitable progression.
That being said, there is support available throughout the UK and globally that can help people, carers and their families through what can be a troubling and upsetting time.
The key to successfully managing dementia is early diagnosis so that the patients physical and mental health, as well as their cognition and over wellbeing can be optimised.
It is also important that throughout this time any resulting physical, behavioural and psychological symptoms are detected and treated.
By providing information and long-term support to all involved, dementia sufferers can be cared for in the best way possible.
Eventually, families may find the support required for their loved one is beyond their capabilities but cannot bear the thought of moving them into a care home.
Thankfully, there are alternative dementia care solutions offered by our wonderful and specialist team at Abafields Home Care Agency.
We proudly offer bespoke dementia care services that help those suffering from dementia to be supported living in their own homes whilst retaining a sense of independence and freedom.
Our home care service is ideal for families looking to maintain a sense of normalcy for their family member with dementia in a way that is beneficial to both them and the individual.