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Dementia (dementia) is the general name for symptoms that affect memory, thinking and social skills so severely that they interfere with daily life. Dementia is not a disease name. More than one disease can cause dementia. Although dementia is usually related to memory loss, memory loss can have different causes. Just because you have memory loss does not mean you have dementia. While Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia that develops in the elderly, there are numerous other causes of dementia. Depending on the cause, some dementia symptoms can be prevented.

Symptoms of Dementia
While the symptoms of dementia vary depending on the cause, common symptoms include:

cognitive changes
Loss of memory
Difficulty communicating or finding words
Lack of visual and wayfinding skills
Difficulty reasoning and problem solving
Difficulty handling complex tasks
Difficulty in motor functions and coordination
Confusion and inability to focus
psychological changes
personality change
Anxiety (Anxiety Disorder)
Inappropriate Behaviors
When to See a Doctor in Dementia?
You should contact your doctor if you have memory problems or other signs of dementia. Some curable medical conditions can cause dementia. That's why it's important to understand the underlying causes.

Causes of Dementia
Damage or reduction of nerve cells and connections causes dementia. Depending on the area of ​​the brain damaged, dementia can affect people in different ways and cause different symptoms.

Other Diseases Related to Dementia

Huntington's disease, due to a genetic mutation, causes wear of certain nerve cells and spinal cord. Symptoms, including severe weakening of thinking skills, mostly appear at the age of 30-40.

Traumatic Brain Injury happens due to repeated head trauma. Boxers, soccer players and soldiers can experience it. Depending on the part of the brain that is damaged, it can cause symptoms of dementia, such as depression, memory loss, and slurred speech. TBI can also cause Parkinson's. Symptoms may appear years after the trauma.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is a rare brain disease. This disease may be the result of the accumulation of infectious proteins called prions. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease often has no cause, but it can be genetic. It can also be transmitted from a brain or nervous system tissue that has this disease. A corneal transplant is an example of this. Symptoms of this deadly disease usually begin to appear after the age of 60.

People with Parkinson's disease will show signs of dementia as the disease progresses.

Preventable Dementia
Some causes and symptoms of dementia can be prevented with treatment. Some of those:

Infectious and Immune Diseases

Dementia symptoms can occur as a result of high fever and the body's fight against infection. MS (Multiple sclerosis) and immune diseases that target other nerve cells can cause dementia.

Metabolic and endochronic Abnormalities

People with thyroid problems, low blood sugar, too little or too much sodium and calcium, and B12 absorption problems may experience dementia-like symptoms or personality changes.

Nutritional Deficiencies

Insufficient water (dehydration)
Thiamine (Vitamin B-1) deficiency (appears common in chronic alcoholics)
Vitamin B-6 and B-12 deficiency
Copper and Vitamin E deficiency
Medication Side Effects: Medication side effects, a reaction to a medication, and the interaction of many drugs can cause dementia symptoms.

Subdural Hematoma: Medication side effects, reaction to a drug, and interaction of many drugs can cause dementia symptoms.

Intoxication: Heavy metals such as lead, poisons such as pesticides, recreational drugs, and drinking too much alcohol can cause dementia symptoms.

Brain Tumors: Brain tumors can rarely cause dementia.

Oxygen Deficiency: Also called anoxia, organ tissues do not receive enough oxygen. Anoxia can be seen in conditions such as severe sleep apnea, asthma, heart attack, carbon monoxide poisoning.

Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus: This condition, which may occur as a result of the enlargement of the ventricles in the brain; It can cause walking problems, urinary problems, and memory loss.

Risk factors
Many risk factors can have an impact on dementia. In addition to modifiable risk factors, there are non-modifiable risk factors in dementia.

Unchangeable Risk Factors
Age: The risk begins to increase as you get older, especially after age 65. However, dementia is not a normal consequence of aging and can occur in young people.

Family History: A family history with dementia puts you at risk. However, many people with a family history of dementia may not have dementia, or people with no family history of dementia may also have dementia. There are tests available that detect your specific genetic mutations.

Down Syndrome: Many people with Down syndrome develop early Alzheimer's disease in middle age.

Variable Factors

Diet and Exercise: Studies show that lack of exercise increases the risk of dementia. Although one diet in particular is not known to reduce the risk of dementia, people with an unhealthy diet are more likely to develop dementia than people who follow a Mediterranean diet.

Excessive Alcohol Consumption: Excessive alcohol consumption increases your risk of dementia.

Cardiovascular Risk Factors: Cardiovascular risk factors such as hypertension, high cholesterol, increased fat in the arteries and obesity increase your risk of dementia.

Depression: Depression can be seen with the development of dementia in older ages.

Diabetes: Diabetes can increase the risk of dementia, especially when left uncontrolled.

Smoking and Tobacco Use: Smoking can increase the risk of dementia and vascular diseases.

Vitamin and Nutritional Deficiencies: Vitamins D, B-6, B-12 and folic acid deficiency can increase the risk of dementia.

Diagnosing Dementia
Before dementia can be diagnosed, your doctor must identify deficiencies in function and skills. Recently, biomarkers are available for the accurate diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease. Your doctor should review your medical history and symptoms and perform a physical exam; talk to your loved ones about symptoms. There is no specific test to diagnose dementia. That's why doctors do many different tests to detect the problem. Tests performed include:

Cognitive and Neuropsychological Tests: Your thinking functions are evaluated. There are some tests that measure skills such as memory, focus, reasoning, judgment, language skills, and attention.

Neurological Evaluation: Your memory, language, visual perception, attention, problem solving, movement, senses, balance, reflexes are evaluated.

Pet Scan: This scan detects brain activity and whether the amyloid protein that causes Alzheimer's disease has accumulated in the brain.

Laboratory Tests: Physical conditions that affect brain function, such as malfunctioning thyroid glands and vitamin B-12 deficiency, can be detected with a simple blood test. The spinal fluid test can be used to detect infection, inflammation and degenerative diseases.

Psychiatric Evaluation: Mental health professionals can detect the effect of your depression or mental health condition on your symptoms.