Dementia is a chronic, gradually progressing disease accompanied by impairment of cognitive functions necessary for almost all cognitive activities. According to statistics, this disease affects about 10% of the world's population at a mature age.
People over the age of 65 are most susceptible to dementia, but it can develop at any age. The older a person gets, the higher the risk of organic brain damage.
Depending on the age of the patient, there are two forms of dementia:
• Presenile — diagnosed at the age of 40-60 years;
• Senile — characteristic of people after 65 years of age.
Nosological types of dementia:
1. Alzheimer's disease. The most common form, with a gradual, steady progression. It accounts for about 60% of all clinical cases. It is usually caused by a combination of genetic, lifestyle, and environmental factors.
2. Vascular. It is caused by impaired blood circulation in the blood vessels of the brain.
3. Dementia with Levi's corpuscles. Symptomatically similar to Parkinson's disease, accompanied by impaired ability to think.
4. Frontal and temporal. Occurs due to hereditary and sporadic pathologies.
5. Multisystem degeneration. Developed due to the degeneration of nerve cells in certain areas of the brain.
6. HIV-associated. It develops against the background of brain lesions of the immunodeficiency virus.
Symptoms and signs
In dementia, all cognitive functions are gradually impaired. The first symptom may be memory impairment, which later develops into senile dementia.
Depending on the clinical picture and its severity, there are three stages of the disease:
1. Mild dementia. Accompanied by slight memory impairment, difficulty remembering new words, forgetfulness. This stage takes 2-4 years. During this period, the patient retains independence.
2. Intermediate, or moderate. The longest is from 2 to 10 years. At this stage, the patient experiences problems with short-term memory loses thought in conversation and has difficulty making decisions. Excessive suspiciousness, sleep disorders, delusional episodes appear.
3. Severe dementia. The average duration is 1-3 years. Profound memory disorders are characteristic. The patient often does not recognize loved ones, becomes indifferent, loses the ability to be independent, and requires constant care.
Other signs of dementia:
• loss of professional skills, and then the skills of daily activity, self-care;
• loss of interest in activities that I used to enjoy;
• tendency to depression, psychosis;
• reticence, unwillingness to communicate;
• impairment of orientation in space and time;
• behavioral disorders — aggression, emotional lability, irritability;
At the late stage, there is a disintegration of personality and mental functions.
It is worth making an appointment with a neurologist if the slightest signs of the disease appear. Timely therapy will slow the progression of the pathology and preserve the patient's cognitive abilities.