29 November 2010

Dementia and Its Parts - 1

This is a lot more complex than I thought. I have written about Alzheimer's and diabetes, but much of the reading has been fairly straight forward. Then I noticed in researching this that alzheimer's and dementia were being used almost interchangeably which did not make total sense. This was to to be about Metformin and TNF blockers and their effects on Alzheimer's, but that will need to wait for some groundwork. And this is important as about 50 percent of people with Type 2 diabetes are at risk for Alzheimer's.

I am relying on resources and knowledge of my wife from her books and work to clarify the relationship. I know it is enlightening for me and hopefully will help you in your understanding. So this may be in several parts and may not all relate to diabetes, but if I understand things, I am hoping that I will be able to show some of the relationships.

Dementia is not a disease itself, but a group of symptoms. Dementia encompasses many disorders. First dementia is divided into two groups – those that are reversible and those that are irreversible. Reversible can be considered temporary. The following are potentially reversible – intoxication, affective mood disorders, infections, nutritional disorders, metabolic disorders, vascular disorders, head injuries, and brain tumors.

The other causes of dementia are irreversible or permanent. This is the group that I am focusing on. Included are Alzheimer's Disease (AD), Multi-Infarct Dementia (MID), Parkinson's Disease (PD), Huntington's Disease, Creutzfeldt – Jakob Disease (CJD), and Picks Disease. It is Alzheimer's Disease that I will be concentrating on because of the link to diabetes.

AD is the most common cause of dementia disorders affecting possibly 4.5 million Americans. It progresses gradually and results in total disability and death. The rate of progression varies among individuals and is most common in people over the age of 65. It affects more women than men.

AD is a brain disease and not normal aging. Symptoms of AD may vary from a pattern of gradual decline to fast deterioration. From the first recognized symptoms, the life span can range from three to 20 or more years.

The symptoms include gradual memory loss, decline in ability to perform routine tasks, disorientation to time and place, impaired judgment, personality change, difficulty in learning, and loss of language and communication skills. These symptoms lead to wandering, sundowning, hallucinations, delusions, disorientation, and poor judgment.

Understand that many people use the overall term of dementia when talking about any of the disorders and diseases. This makes it easier for them to accept what is happening and they are not referring to the disease itself as in Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and others.

For more information on Alzheimer's, check out their web site here.

This is the end of part one of three parts.

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