Marton Cricket Club, have chosen to support Dementia UK for their 2024 charity.
Dementia is a term that describes a group of symptoms affecting memory, thinking, language, and behaviour. It is caused by different diseases that damage the brain, such as Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies, and frontotemporal dementia. Dementia is not a normal part of ageing, and it can affect anyone, regardless of their age, gender, or background. Dementia is progressive, which means the symptoms get worse over time and interfere with daily life and activities. There is no cure for dementia, but there are treatments and support available to help people with dementia and their families.
The symptoms of dementia may vary depending on the type and stage of the disease, but some common ones include:
- Memory loss, especially of recent events, names, or places
- Difficulty in communication, finding the right words, or understanding what others say
- Reduced ability to organise, plan, reason, or solve problems
- Difficulty handling complex tasks or unfamiliar situations
- Confusion and disorientation, such as getting lost or wandering
- Difficulty with coordination and motor functions, such as walking, balance, or swallowing
- Loss of or reduced visual perception, such as depth perception, colour vision, or face recognition
- Changes in personality and behaviour, such as mood swings, agitation, apathy, depression, or anxiety
- Hallucinations, delusions, or paranoia, such as seeing or hearing things that are not there, or believing things that are not true
- Loss of interest or enjoyment in hobbies, social activities, or relationships
The causes of dementia are not fully understood, but they involve damage to the nerve cells in the brain. This damage can be due to various factors, such as:
- Ageing, which leads to the natural wear and tear of the brain cells and the accumulation of toxic proteins
- Genetics, which can increase the risk of developing certain types of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease or frontotemporal dementia
- Vascular problems, which affect the blood supply to the brain and can cause strokes or mini-strokes
- Infections, which can cause inflammation or damage to the brain tissue, such as HIV, syphilis, or Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
- Traumatic brain injury, which can result from accidents, falls, or sports injuries
- Other conditions, which can affect the metabolism, hormones, or immune system of the body, such as diabetes, thyroid problems, or autoimmune diseases
The diagnosis of dementia is based on a combination of medical history, physical examination, cognitive and neuropsychological tests, and brain imaging. There is no single test that can confirm dementia, but these methods can help rule out other possible causes of the symptoms and identify the type and severity of the dementia. Early diagnosis is important, as it can help the person with dementia and their family to access the appropriate care and support, and to plan for the future.
The treatment of dementia depends on the type and cause of the disease, as well as the symptoms and needs of the person with dementia. There is no cure for dementia, but some treatments can help to slow down the progression of the disease, manage the symptoms, and improve the quality of life. Some of the treatments include:
- Medication, which can help to improve memory, thinking, mood, or behaviour, or to treat underlying conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or infections
- Therapy, which can help to maintain or enhance the cognitive, physical, and emotional abilities of the person with dementia, such as occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech therapy, or music therapy
- Support, which can help to provide information, advice, guidance, and practical assistance to the person with dementia and their family, such as dementia nurses, social workers, counsellors, or support groups
- Care, which can help to ensure the safety, comfort, and dignity of the person with dementia, such as home care, day care, respite care, or residential care
Dementia is a challenging condition that affects millions of people around the world. However, with the right treatment and support, people with dementia can still live well and enjoy their lives. If you have any concerns about your memory or thinking, or if you know someone who does, you should talk to your GP as soon as possible. You can also find more information and resources on the websites of Dementia UK and Alzheimer’s Society.