Dementia is a serious neurodegenerative disease that particularly affects older people and profoundly affects their lives, changing them from the ground up. It also interferes with the functioning of family members, as people with dementia are not easy to live with. They require supervision and round-the-clock care. In recent years, there has been controversy over whether the development of dementia is due to genetic factors or is more related to the lifestyle that the individual leads.
Age plays a role
Up to 50 million people suffer from dementia in the general population. It is an age-related disease. It affects one in 20 people over the age of 65 and up to 30% of people over 80 have dementia. There are several types, the most common being Alzheimer’s disease. According to experts, people with a genetic predisposition are up to three times more likely to develop the disease than other people. Researchers from the University of Exeter in England conducted an experiment in which they observed a sample of around 200 000 people. They were aged 60 and over and had no symptoms of dementia at the time.
After eight years, 1.8% of those who had a genetic predisposition to dementia and led an unhealthy lifestyle actually developed the disease. In people with low risk and healthy lifestyles, it was only 0.6% who developed dementia. In the group where they tested people with a high probability of developing dementia and good habits, the percentage who got dementia was 2%, in the group with unhealthy habits it was 2%.
A healthy lifestyle is important
A healthy lifestyle can make a big difference, and thanks to it, the occurrence of the disease can be reversed despite genetics. Dementia can be fought with a healthy and balanced diet rich in vitamins, minerals, fibre and omega-3 fatty acids, exercise, getting enough sleep and eliminating alcohol and smoking. One of the ways to prevent the disease is exercising the brain. It is true that even a healthy lifestyle cannot completely avoid the disease, but it does reduce the risk to some extent. Factors such as lower education (indeed related to brain training), type of occupation (the mental demands of the job have an impact), social situation, gender (women are more often affected than men) and chronic diseases (high blood pressure or diabetes) also influence the onset of dementia.
Dementia and memory problems
Dementia is characterized as a disorder of memory and cognitive function. It affects learning, orientation, abstract thinking, visual-spatial perception and decision-making. It limits a person in normal functioning and in carrying out basic activities. The main and most well-known symptomps of dementia is memory problems and its gradual loss. There is a loss of nerve cells and connections due to degenerative changes in the tissues of the brain. Symptoms of dementia can worsen rapidly, and it is often a progressive disease. But it is individual from person to person, in some people the initial stage of the disease lasts longer, in others the disease progresses very quickly.
Dementia starts subtly, so it happens that family members do not take the first symptoms seriously and attribute them to ageing. In the early stages, the disease is accompanied by symptomps – patients don’t remember what they put where, can’t navigate places they know well, forget to take their medication, get their names wrong, are unable to perform everyday activities like cooking. They don’t remember what happened in a short period of time, but they still remember the events of a few years ago. Later, disorientation in space sets in. Sick people are unaware of where they are, often running away from home. At an advanced stage, there is even a personality change. Patients may become aggressive because they are confused about their condition.
Dementia is insidious
Sometimes it may be difficult to understand a person with dementia, but they are not responsible for the symptoms of their illness and cannot control them. Dementia is an insidious disease. It is incurable, but can be slowed down with medication. It can be difficult for a family to come to terms with the fact that their loved one will never be the same again. It is important to be supportive and provide quality care that will be a relief for the family and ensure the satisfaction of the patient and the family. Our company has enough empathetic and reliable staff who are experienced in this diagnosis and can provide adequate care.