Understand the Process and Experience of Dementia

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UNDERSTAND THE PROCESS AND EXPERIENCE OF DEMENTIA Task A 1. For each of the following forms of dementia, describe: • How is the brain affected • The symptoms an individual might experience. Alzheimer's disease is a degenerative brain disease. Most patients start exhibiting symptoms after they reach the age of 60. Alzheimer's disease affects the brain through exponentially greater cell death and tissue loss, resulting in a decreased brain size. As a result, behavior, memory and thinking are affected. Vascular dementia is caused by blockages and breaches in the brain's blood supply that damage the brain and can be caused by any condition which results in an interruption to the blood flow to the brain, and as well as strokes, this could include diseased arteries, heart attacks, high blood pressure, raised cholesterol, diabetes, furred arteries and irregular heart rhythms. Any condition causing damage to the circulation of blood to the brain carries a risk to mental functioning. People experiencing vascular dementia will, like those with Alzheimer’s disease, have problems with learning, remembering, recognition, planning and problem solving. However, there is a major difference in the two diseases. Alzheimer’s disease tends to affect the whole of the brain and to progress gradually and steadily. Vascular dementia tends to affect only certain areas of the brain, and this means someone may retain more of their abilities – and also more awareness of their condition. Dementia syndrome or ‘mixed dementia’are terms for a condition in which abnormalities characteristic of more than one type of dementia occur simultaneously in the brain. In the most common form of mixed dementia, the abnormal protein deposits associated with Alzheimer’s disease coexist with blood vessel problems linked to vascular dementia. Mixed dementia symptoms may vary,

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