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Dementia causes and effects patients to suffer in various forms depending on the type or stage an individual is in. These medical experts still don’t understand all of dementia’s causes and effects. This article will provide you with the possible dementia causes and effects, risk factors involved as well as the different forms of the disease.

Dementia Causes: Plaques and Tangles

For you to better understand what dementia is, we have to science up a bit. There are primarily two causes of dementia, or perhaps two occurrences in the brain that causes development of dementia particularly Alzheimer’s Disease over time. These are abnormal build – up of amyloid plaques, and fibrous tangles.

Amyloid Plaques

The reason why many patients with Alzheimer’s lose their memory over time is because of these amyloid plaques that are usually located in the brain’s hippocampus where memory is located.

Neurofibrillary Tangles

If this happens, it can stop the neuron transport system from functioning. This fiber – like protein keeps the microtubules in the brain stable.

The microtubules are responsible for sending information, nutrients, and molecules between nerve cells.

Types of Dementia

In addition to Alzheimer’s Disease, there are other types of dementia that are pretty common among aging people.

Lewy Body Dementia

This is another common form of progressive dementia. Lewy bodies are the abnormal structures in the brain, and these are located in the cortex or the brain’s outer layer.

The cortex of the brain is the one in charge for thinking, producing, understanding language, and perception.

Vascular Dementia

The brain requires constant flow of oxygen from the bloodstream because lack of it can prevent brain cells from properly functioning.

Long interruption of oxygen flow in the brain will cause the death of brain cells.

There are various types of Vascular Dementia though they only slightly vary.

Sometimes stroke can increase the likelihood of a person developing vascular dementia but not all patients do.

Frontal Lobe Dementia

These lobes are located behind the eyes and just above the ears which controls emotion, personality, language, and judgment.

This can lead atrophy and shrinkage particularly in the fronto – temporal areas of the brain.

Reversible Conditions

Various causes of dementia and dementia – like symptoms can be both treated and reversed IF it is caught early or at the onset.

Preventive treatments could be given to the patient. The following are the reversible conditions:

Nutritional deficiencies

Deficiencies of Vitamin B1 is usually caused by alcohol addiction which can impair mental abilities especially memories of recent occurrences.

Severe deficiencies in Vitamin B6 and B12 can cause pellagra which is a multi – system illness that may include dementia.

Poisoning

Being exposed to large amounts of lead, poisonous substances, and heavy metals may also lead to dementia.

The symptoms may or may not be effectively treated because it usually depends on how the brain is seriously damaged.

People who are recreational drug users and alcoholics usually display symptoms of dementia once they stop this bad habit; this is called as substance – induced persisting dementia.

Other Dementia Causes that Can Affect Metabolism and Endocrine Abnormalities

  • Thyroid issues can lead to depression as well as apathy including dementia – like symptoms.
  • Hypoglycemia may cause confusion and changes in personality. This condition happens when the bloodstream lacks sugar.
  • Too little or too much calcium can change mentality
  • Too little or too much sodium can also change mentality
  • If an individual cannot absorb Vitamin B12, it usually creates a condition called pernicious anemia that can also have dementia – like symptoms like mood swings, and depression.

Effects of Drugs

Prescribed medications are usually too much for the body to handle. It can lead to side – effects particularly delirium that is similar to having diagnosed with dementia.

Such dementia – like symptoms can happen as a reaction to intake of one drug or as a result of drug interactions.

Use of illegal drugs can also lead to delirium.

Heart and Lung Issues

The brain requires lots of oxygen through the blood in order for it to properly function.

Chronic conditions like cardiovascular disease and lung problems that hinders the brain from receiving enough amounts of oxygen can eventually contribute to the death of the brain cells which can also lead to delirium and have cause dementia – like symptoms.

Infections

Various infections may also cause neurological symptoms while the body is trying to kill an infection.

Meningitis and encephalitis can cause memory loss, confusion, and impairment in judgment because these infections affect the brain.

  • Syphilis and Lyme disease can both damage thinking and memory as well as the overall nervous system which can then cause dementia.
  • Other dementia causes includes those who are in advanced stages of AIDS, and those who are diagnosed with leukemia because the patient will compromise their immune systems, and could even develop Progressive Multi – Focal Leukoencephalopathy or PML. This is an infection that can lead to destruction of a sheath that covers brain cells. It can cause mental problems such as confusion and having a hard time in speaking or thinking.

Other Causes of Dementia

Subdural Hematomas

Subdural Hematomas can also mimic dementia and affect mental functioning because a bleeding occurs in between the surface of the brain and the dura which is the brain’s outer covering.

Anoxia

This happens when the brain lacks oxygen which can be due to various problems, and recovery depends on the length of oxygen deprivation.

Lack of oxygen in the brain may be caused by the following:

  • Heart attack and surgery
  • Severe asthma
  • Smoking or carbon monoxide inhalation
  • Strangulation
  • Anesthesia overdose

Brain Tumors

Brain tumors can definitely damage one’s brain tissues and also create pressure inside one’s skull.

Obviously, this will limit a person’s brain from normally functioning. Any interruption or damage to the functions of the brain can cause dementia.

Stroke

Stroke usually occurs when certain areas of the brain cannot function due to blood flow blockage.

This can usually double the risk of a person developing dementia particularly vascular dementia. Risk factors include age, family history, and sex.

Traumatic Brain injuries

Traumatic brain injuries can also contribute in developing dementia especially if your skull suffered some form of major impact. 

Such traumatic brain injuries can cause proteins like tau and beta – amyloid to function abnormally and tangle up nerve cells.

The most common traumatic brain injuries are caused by hitting one’s head or falling down at home or perhaps during accidents like a car collision. A person is 5 times more prone to develop dementia if one suffers a traumatic brain injury.

People who suffered multiple brain injuries are very likely to develop dementia.

They can also experience another type of dementia called chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

There are 3 types of traumatic brain injuries, these are the following:

  • Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: This usually doesn’t cause a person to lose consciousness though it can still happen but only for less than 30 minutes.
  • Symptoms include dizziness, disorientation, and headaches as well as inability to properly speak for day to even months. The risk of such brain injury that can cause dementia is low.
  • Moderate Traumatic Brain Injury: This can cause a person to lose consciousness for more than half an hour.
  • Some symptoms of mild brain injury can also be seen with moderate brain injury though it can last for a couple of months depending on the severity.
  • The risk of such brain injury that can cause dementia is high.
  • Severe Traumatic Brain Injury: This can cause a person to lose consciousness for 1 day or more. The risk of such brain injury that can cause dementia can be debilitating.

These are the possible dementia causes and effects that can affect any patient diagnosed with such disease. Be aware of it, and if you think you’re already experiencing some sort of early symptoms, make sure to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

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