Unit DEM 301 Understanding the neurology of dementia: 1.1 A common misconception is that Dementia is a normal part of the ageing process. Dementia is a broad-spectrum term for a range of progressive diseases that generally affect memory, emotional and sometimes physical ability. Dementia is ultimately caused by damage to the brain cells, this damage then causes miscommunications within the brain. When the brain cells do not then work together as usually this can have an effect on an individual’s thinking, abilities and behaviour. Dependent on the type of damage to the cells and the particular regions that are affected this can indicate through investigations (i.e brain scans….)
Dementia is a collection of symptoms including memory loss, personality change, and impaired intellectual functions resulting from disease or trauma to the brain. These changes are not part of normal aging and are severe enough to impact daily living, independence, and relationships. There will likely be noticeable decline in communication, learning, remembering, and problem solving. These changes may occur quickly or very slowly over time. Common signs and symptoms of dementia include: * Memory loss * Impaired judgment
This leads to the decline of a person’s mental health and sometimes physical abilities. The gradual changes and damage to the cells of the brain are caused by a build-up of abnormal proteins in the brain. There are irreversible changes that occur in and individual’s brain lead to: * Death or the loss of the nerve cells * Lots of cognitive deficits, including memory lose * Decline in language understanding * Unable to recognise family and friends * The decline in the overall mental function The abnormal proteins are different in each type of neurodegenerative dementia. In most cases dementia is not inherited from family members directly. Although there a small amount of cases of Alzheimer’s and frontotemporal dementia can be inherited from a previous generation.
DEM-301 Understand the Process and Experience of Dementia 1.1 Describe a range of causes of dementia syndrome. Fixed cognitive impairments are due to a single incident. Traumatic brain injury may cause generalised damage to the white matter of the brain or localised damages. A brief reduction in the supply of blood and oxygen to the brain may lead to this type of dementia. A stroke or brain infection can also be the cause of dementia.
Vascular dementia is caused when there is a reduction in the blood flow to the brain. Over time, this can damage the parts of the brain which play a large part of a person memory, speech and attention. A stroke can play a part in this type of dementia when it narrows the blood vessels to the brain. Dementia with Lewy Bodies is caused by lumps of protein which builds up inside nerve cells inside the brain, the proteins damage the nerve cells and how they work, these nerves are responsible for thinking, memory and movement of a person. Dementia with Lewy Bodies can be closely related to Parkinsons Disease and there is a theory that Dementia with Lewy Bodies interferes with two neurotransmitters called dopamine and acetylcholine which assist in the brains functions.
The cells eventually die and this means that information cannot be recalled or assimilated. As Alzheimer’s disease progressively affects different areas of the brain, certain functions or abilities are lost. Vascular dementia Vascular dementia is the broad term for dementia associated with problems of circulation of blood to the brain. It is the second most common form of dementia. There are a number of different types of vascular dementia.
As well as these cognitive symptoms, a person with dementia will often have changes in their mood. For example, they may become frustrated or irritable, withdrawn, anxious, easily upset or unusually sad. Dementia is progressive which means the symptoms gradually get worse over time. How quickly dementia progresses varies greatly from person to person. As dementia progresses, the person may develop behavior problems which may seem out of character.
It is a syndrome (a group of related symptoms) associated with on going decline of the brain and its abilities which include: • Memory loss • Thinking speed • Mental agility • Language • Understanding judgement • Increasing difficulties with tasks and activities that require concentration and planning • Depression • Changes in personality and mood • Periods of mental confusion • Difficulty finding the right words There are many different forms of dementia and they can all affect the way a person communicates. Therefore, in time, an individual with dementia may have to find different ways of communicating and expressing themselves and their feelings as well as people around them adapting the way they communicate with individuals with dementia. This can become very frustrating for the individual and for others around them such as family, friends and care staff who have direct contact with the individual. Your non-verbal communication will become important, your body language, facial expressions, gestures, eye contact and tone of voice will have to be taken into account when you are communicating with an individual with dementia. You must be aware that there will be changes in the way you communicate with an individual with dementia and in some cases
Alzheimers is the most common form of dementia, responsible for around two thirds of cases. This is a disease which causes the chemistry and structure of the brain to change, leading to the death of brain cells in certain parts of the brain. It is a progressive disease. One of our service
Being a degenerative disease Alzheimers attacks the brain through exponentially greater cell death and tissue loss which results in decreased brain size and brain activity. Because of this behavior, memory and the normal thinking processes are affected.