Health and Social Care Level 3, Cmh/301

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Catherine SainsburyUnit 4223-316 Outcome 1 Understand the neurology of dementia 1.1 Causes of dementia The term dementia is used to describe the degeneration of the mental and cognitive functions in the brain as a result of various neurological diseases. There are over 100 known causes of dementia, the most common causes are Alzheimer’s disease, which accounts for over 50% of all dementias and vascular dementia, which accounts for approximately 20%. Dementia with Lewi bodies accounts for 4% of all diagnosed dementias but according to new findings accounts for approximately 10% of all dementias. This is because it is often misdiagnosed as other conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease- Alzheimer’s disease is caused by the build-up of proteins in the brain which form into “plagues and tangles”, these in turn will cause a loss of connection between nerve cells and cause cell death and loss of brain tissue. Early symptoms of Alzheimer’s can be lapses in memory, problems with language (forgetting words or their meanings) and poor visuospatial skill’s (gaging distance, ability to see in 3D). People can also suffer from depression or anxiety, they could become withdrawn and lose interest in daily activities or hobbies or have poor initiation. As the disease progresses sufferers can develop more pronounced memory problems and lose a sense of time and place, they may forget where they are or have difficulties recognising their own family. Vascular dementia- Vascular dementia is caused by the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain being interrupted causing the death of brains cells, this is called an infarct. Vascular dementia could be caused by a single event such as a stroke, which is known as a single infarct dementia or it could be caused by a series of small events (mini-strokes) over time, known as multiple infarct

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