With Alzheimer’s continuing to be on the rise, there is more talk than ever regarding dementia. With all of the media attention, it’s no wonder that so many adults worry that every lapse in memory or moment of befuddlement could be an early sign of dementia. While it’s true the number of individuals with irreversible dementia is high, a certain amount of memory slips just come with aging. It is important to know the signs that differentiate normal aging from abnormal memory loss. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, dementia research continues to build momentum each year bringing scientists closer to finding better treatments and more precise preventative measures.
Common Causes of Reversible Dementia
Dementia can stem from a variety of causes, some of which may be treatable or even completely reversible. Approximately 5% of cases are either reversible or technically not classified as dementia but present dementia-like symptoms. These conditions are typically due to medical or psychiatric health issues. Head trauma, high fever, depression and vitamin deficiencies are a few factors that could contribute to sudden memory loss or other dementia related symptoms. It is important to promptly see a doctor if you feel you may be experiencing signs of abnormal memory loss. Whether your dementia or dementia-like symptoms are reversible or irreversible, it is never a good idea to postpone receiving a diagnosis and appropriate care.
Causes of reversible dementia or dementia-like symptoms:
- Brain Tumor
- Heart Disease
- Drug Overdose/Alcohol Abuse
- High Fever
- Vitamin and Mineral Deficiency
- Head Trauma
- Lung Problems
- Metabolic Disorders
- Various Infections
- Environmental Toxins
- Sleep Deprivation
- Extreme Stress
There are over 70 different diseases and conditions that cause irreversible dementia, the number one being Alzheimer’s disease. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, it currently accounts for somewhere between 60 and 80 percent of all dementia cases. It is still unclear what causes Alzheimer’s disease, however, experts recommend keeping your body as healthy as possible to reduce your risk.
The second most common type of irreversible dementia is called Vascular dementia. Vascular dementia, also called vascular cognitive impairment (VCI), is usually caused by a series of minor strokes. These stokes interrupt blood flow to the brain eventually killing cells which cause cognitive impairment. Once these cells are deprived or killed there is no way to reverse the damage. Though damage has occurred, proper care from a medical professional may reduced the chances of incurring more strokes that lead to further cell damage. Other diseases and conditions that can lead to irreversible dementia may include the following:
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Lewy Body Dementia (LBD)
- Fronto-temporal Dementia (Pick’s disease, for example)
- Huntington’s Disease
- Down’s Syndrome
- Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease
- Other Infectious Diseases
Neglected, unidentified and untreated health issues may worsen with time making dementia more difficult to treat as time goes by. Don’t wait, if you have concerns regarding your health or the health of a loved one, voice your concerns to a medical professional as soon as possible.