A degenerative disease that affects cognition and behavior, dementia can become progressively worse, while some causes of dementia can be reversed. The MayoClinic.com points out that progressive dementias include frontotemporal dementia, vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia and Alzheimer's disease. With frontotemporal dementia, patients have a degeneration of the frontal and temporal lobes. Vascular dementia results when patients have damage to the arteries that deliver blood to the brain, such as from a stroke. Patients with Lewy body dementia have abnormal proteins in the brain, called Lewy bodies. Alzheimer's disease patients also have abnormalities in their brain—plaque and tangle formations.
With the reversible causes of dementia, patients can stop the worsening of symptoms or reverse the damage when the underlying cause is treated. For example, chronic alcohol abuse, brain tumors, normal pressure hydrocephalus and low vitamin B12 levels may cause dementia. Dementia can result from metabolic causes, such as low levels of calcium, blood sugar or sodium. MedlinePlus notes that certain medications may cause dementia, which include some cholesterol-lowering medications and cimetadine.
The symptoms of dementia can be debilitating. By the last stage of the disease, patients have severe memory, difficulty understanding language, and problems caring for themselves. The MayoClinic.com explains that people can make certain lifestyle changes that may prevent or delay dementia. These methods include eating a healthy diet and lowering cholesterol, blood pressure and homocysteine levels.
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