Understand the Process of Dementia

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PT1/3/QQ/030 – Understand the process and experience of dementia Dementia is a term used to cover a number of disorders of the brain; Vascular, Dementia with Lewy bodies, Fronto-temporal dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. There are other causes of dementia which I will also describe. The most prevalent type of dementia is Alzheimer’s; this causes a loss of brain cells, shrinkage in brain tissue, neurofibrillary tangles which are insoluble twisted protein fibres that build up in nerve cells and amyloid plaques, which are insoluble protein deposits that build up around nerve cells. Both cause the brain cells to die off at a faster rate than normal ageing. Alzheimer’s tends to affect the whole of the brain. Vascular dementia is the second most common form of dementia and happens when the brain is deprived of oxygen. It usually happens after a stroke which occurs when an artery of the brain is blocked by a clot or if an artery bursts, causing disruption to the blood supply. Some people will experience a series of ‘mini strokes’ and might be unaware that these have even happened. However, each time this does happen a small area of the brain is damaged. Dementia caused by mini strokes is known as Multi-infarct dementia. Vascular dementia affects only certain areas of the brain meaning that the person is able to retain more of their cognitive abilities. Vascular dementia causes problems with wandering; the person may become more restless and fidgety. Fronto temporal dementia is a progressive degeneration of the frontal lobes of the brain. FTD also includes a condition called Pick’s disease which like FTD is caused by damage to parts of the brain that are responsible for behaviour, emotions and language. Dementia with Lewy bodies is very similar symptom-wise with Alzheimer’s disease in that it causes problems with memory, reasoning and language. Also, the

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