What is Senile Dementia?
This is a mental condition where your brain cells begin to degenerate. It is not to be confused with senility in aged people because this is a part of life and is a gradual deterioration of the brain cells. It is not a specific medical condition but more like a group of symptoms that caused by the changes in your brain functions. Approximately ten percent of people over the age of sixty-five have some type of dementia symptoms. In the United States approximately fifteen percent of one thousand people have some type of dementia.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association in the United States there are approximately five point three million people with Alzheimer’s disease along with related senile dementia. Worldwide there are approximately twenty-seven million people. Annually it costs approximately three hundred fifteen point four billion dollars for the care of people with senile dementia. A person can have more than one type of senile dementia.
Senile Dementia Symptoms
The symptoms of senile dementia are broken down into three categories. The earlier the symptoms for senile dementia are recognized the faster treatment can be started. Recognizing the symptoms is crucial for the cure and treatment.
Senile Dementia Early Symptoms
- Loss of memory
- Having insomnia
- Being disoriented and/or having poor balance
- Physical coordination is poor
- Confusion that is slight especially over directions, time, and place
- Withdrawal sociably
- Loss of initiative
- Forgetfulness such as recent events. As the disease progresses the distant memory will start to fade.
- Having difficulty in accepting new things, reasoning, and calculation
Senile Dementia Middle Stage Symptoms
- Learning ability is poor
- Poorer cognitive abilities and judgment
- Unstable emotionally, losing their temper easily, becoming agitated
- Confusion increases
- Family member’s sleep times is disrupted because they are confusing day and night.
- They need assistance to live day to day
- They become aggressive
Senile Dementia Severe Stage Symptoms
- Loosing weight gradually.
- Loss of all cognitive ability.
- Having the inability to walk and may become confined to bed.
- Neglecting personal hygiene.
- Involuntary defecation or urination.
- Not being able to recognize members of the family which can be sporadic or ongoing.
- Wanders away with out telling anyone.
- Unable to dress, bathe, eat, or take care of themselves.
- Can become violent.
- Hallucinating visual and auditory.
- Changes in their personality such as becoming fearful or suspicious.
- Having problems with communications.
Senile Dementia Causes
Senile dementia is always caused by an underlying condition or disease. Their brain tissue is degenerating causing their functioning ability to diminish. . The most common cause is having Alzheimer’s disease. There are more than fifty conditions that can cause senile dementia.
Other causes can include:
Vascular dementia – this is the second leading cause of senile dementia and counts for approximately one third of all cases of senile dementia. This is when fatty deposits and other debris accumulate in your brain and cause the arteries to harden, blocking the blood flow. The brain cells are not getting enough oxygen so they die.
Frontotemporal Lobe Dementias – this accounts for approximated ten percent of all cases of senile dementia. The damage is to the temporal and frontal lobes of your brain. Pick’s disease is one type of this dementia.
- Huntington disease
- Hardening of the arteries
- Multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Bacterial or viral encephalitis
- Brain tumors
- Chronic steroid abuse
- Side effects to certain medications
- Having a deficiency of vitamin B12, niacin, thiamine, etc but if the cause is this, it can be reversed by restoring your deficient vitamin level to normal.
Senile Dementia Treatment
The main way to find out what treatment is needed is to find out what is causing senile dementia. There are some conditions that are the cause of senile dementia that can be cured. Some of these causes include chronic drug abuse, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, head injuries, tumors that are removable, malnutrition, hypoglycemia, and hypothyroidism. Some of the treatments for these causes can be as simple as eating a diet that is healthy. The first step in determining the right treatment would be to have a complete physical. There are some who treatment will not help because they have had permanent changes in their brain.
The standard treatment for irreversible senile dementia, because it is not curable, is just managing the symptoms. At this time there are three medications that have been approved for treating these symptoms.
- Aricept (donepezil)
- Excelon (rivastigmine) – there has been some success with patients using the Excelon patch.
- Reminyl (galantamine)
Using any of these medications may help to temporarily stabilize or improve the symptoms of senile dementia but there are some patients who cannot take these medications because they cannot tolerate the side effects.