The doctor is in: Dementia decoded

A quiz a day can help prevent dementia

dementia, health
The risk increases with age, and is most common in people over 65 years.

Dr PN Renjen

Who is at risk for dementia?

Dementia is a group of symptoms that affect memory, behaviour, communication, and interfere with a person’s ability to perform daily activities. It is a progressive condition, meaning it gets worse over time, and can eventually affect a person’s ability to function independently.

Some risk factors for dementia are:

Age: The risk increases with age, and is most common in people over 65 years.

Family history: If you have a family history of dementia, you may be at a higher risk of developing the condition.

Genetics: Some forms of dementia are caused by genetic mutations that are passed down through families.

Lifestyle factors: Lifestyle factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption, poor diet, lack of physical exercise can increase the risk.

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Medical conditions: Chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease can increase the risk.

Head injuries: A history of head injuries, particularly those that involve loss of consciousness. It’s important to note that having one or more of these risk factors does not necessarily mean that you will develop dementia, but it may increase your likelihood of doing so.

Does it affect only the old?

Dementia is most common in older adults, but it can also affect younger people. While the risk of developing it increases with age, there are some forms of dementia that can occur in younger people, such as early-onset Alzheimer’s or dementia caused by genetic mutations.

Is it genetic or can it afflict anyone?

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Dementia can affect anyone, regardless of their genetics. The most common form of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, is not solely caused by genetics. While genetics can play a role in the development of some forms of dementia, having a family history of the condition does not necessarily mean that you will develop dementia yourself.

What are the treatments available?

While there is no cure for dementia, there are several treatments and interventions that can help manage symptoms and improve the quality of life for people with dementia. Some of the treatments and interventions available are medications, cognitive stimulation, which is engaging in activities that stimulate the brain, such as puzzles, games, and social interactions, can help slow the progression of dementia and improve cognitive function. Try regular physical exercise to improve mood, reduce stress. Occupational therapy can improve their ability to perform daily activities. Behavioural interventions, such as environmental modifications, structured routines help manage symptoms such as aggression, agitation, and wandering.

Is it curable or manageable?

Currently, there is no cure, but the condition can be managed through a combination of treatments and interventions.

Dr PN Renjen is a senior consultant, Neurosciences, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi

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First published on: 26-02-2023 at 01:00 IST
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