Dementia1, itself is not a specific disease but it is a group of symptoms that affect a patient’s memory, thinking and social abilities very badly. People suffering with dementia have to struggle in their daily life usually because they can’t remember things. Onset of this dementia is usually observed in older people. People 65 or older are usually at risk of suffering from dementia. Age is the leading cause of dementia followed by family history (certain gene mutations inherited from parents to children) and Down’s syndrome.

About 5% to 8% of adults over 65 years of age suffer from some form of dementia. This percentage doubles every 5 years after 65. As many as half of people in their 80s have some form of dementia2.

Of those at least 65 years of age, there is an estimated 5.0 million adults with dementia in 2014 and projected to be nearly 14 million by 2060.1

Dementia can be caused by several different diseases. One of the most common symptoms of dementia is memory loss. Memory loss is one of many symptoms of dementia but a memory loss alone cannot be described as dementia. It is a very common misconception.

Causes of dementia are basically degenerative neurological diseases. Some of the most common neurological degenerative diseases are Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease and some types of multiple sclerosis. Other factors include, vascular disorders, traumatic brain injuries caused by accidents, falls or concussions, infections of the central nervous system such as, meningitis, HIV or Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Prolonged and excessive use of alcohol or drugs can also cause dementia.

One of the most common diseases causing dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. It is the most common type of dementia in older people. It’s a progressive disease which means that with time it only gets worse.

Dementia has different symptoms and they depend on what caused them in the first place. People with dementia usually have memory loss, difficulty communicating or remembering words, visual and spatial impairments, difficulty in problem solving, confusion and disorientation, personality changes, depression, anxiety, paranoia, agitation and last but not the least sometimes hallucinations.

Dementia has different types. For instance, there are dementias that can be reversible but there are also dementias which are progressive and not reversible at all. Following are some of the causes of a progressive and irreversible dementia:

Alzheimer’s disease1,3:

It is the most common cause of dementia in older adults. This disease has always perplexed the experts. Not a lot is known about what causes Alzheimer’s. There is one gene, however that is known to increase the risk of Alzheimer’s. It is labelled as apolipoprotein E4 (APOE) gene. It can be inherited from a parent to a child.

Vascular dementia1:

This is the second most common type of dementia. The main reason of vascular dementia is the damaged vessels that supply blood to the brain. The symptoms of vascular dementia include, difficulties with problem solving, problem with thinking, difficulty focusing and memory loss.

Lewy body dementia1:

Lewy bodies are abnormal balloon like clumps of protein. This abnormal protein have been found in patients suffering from Lewy body dementia, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Lewy body dementia include symptoms such as, hallucinations, acting out dreams while sleeping, problems with focus and attention among some other symptoms.

Fronto-temporal dementia1:

It is not a disease instead a group of diseases. The degeneration of nerve cells and their connections in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain is the main reason behind having fronto-temporal dementia. Frontal and temporal lobes of the brain are generally associated with personality, behavior and language. As one can imagine, these functions are affected in people suffering from frontotemporal dementia.

There is also a dementia known as mixed dementia. Mixed dementia, as the name suggests is a combination of several causes, such as Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia and Lewy body dementia. Mixed dementia affects people who are 80 or older.

If you have inherited certain mutated genes you might develop dementia in a later age but that is not always the case. The diseases and anomalies mentioned above are generally the cause of dementia. If you have a progressive dementia there is little to nothing that can be done to prevent or slow the progression of the disease.

There are some risk factors that you can change by adopting certain healthy behaviors in life such as, improving your diet and including whole grains, nuts and seeds can help reduce the risk of dementia. Exercising regularly is also associated with higher motor functions in the brain eventually leading to a decreased risk of memory loss. Low levels of vitamin D, B6, B12 and folate also may increase the risk of dementia.

To sum it all up, staying active both physically and mentally, stop smoking, getting a good amount of vitamins, treating health conditions, maintaining a healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle and getting good sleep can help prevent dementia.

Kandakacare provides the clients with the best support possible. Our highly professional staff makes sure that our elderly are taken good care of. Kandakacare knows and always treats its clients like a family.


1. CDC. What is dementia.

2. WebMD.

3. CDC. Alzheimer’s disease.

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